Ask a Librarian Chat Reference Policies

Level of Service

Chat Reference sessions often take 15-20 minutes. A chat reference staff member may refer you to other resources or contacts if s/he is unable to find an adequate answer to your question after 20 minutes. More complex question may need to be discussed in person at the Library, but we will try to provide you with initial suggestions to get you started.

The chat reference service is primarily intended for the students, faculty, staff and affiliates of York University. We regret that we can provide only a limited level of service for those unaffiliated with York University.

Privacy Statement

York University Libraries collect only the minimum amount of information from users necessary to provide effective service. Here is the information we request when you log in:

  • Name– We require a name so we can differentiate you from other users. If you are not comfortable providing your real name, you can enter a nickname or made-up name.
  • Email address (optional) – If you provide an email address, a transcript of the session will be sent to your address at the end of the session.
  • Phone number(optional) – If we accidentally disconnect, this will allow us to follow up with you.
  • Status (optional) – We ask your status in relation to the University (undergraduate, graduate student, etc.). This information can provide useful context in answering your question.
  • Location – Knowing where you are accessing resources also helps us answer your question and determines the kinds of materials we can recommend to you.

The Libraries temporarily keep a copy of the transcripts of each session. These transcripts may be used to evaluate and improve the service. Also, this allows us to refer to recent transcripts when answering your question which helps us provide better service.

Personal data and transcripts will be kept strictly confidential and will only be accessible to authorized staff. We will not disclose any personal data we collect from you to any party in a manner that would identify you, except where required by law or in order to fulfill your service request. After 60 days, transcripts will be stripped of all personal identifiers.