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Chasing the Sun: a virtual reference service between SAHSLC (SA) and SWICE (UK)

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Aim:  In 2002, a discussion in the United Kingdom (UK) between South‐west Information for Clinical Effectiveness (SWICE) librarians and a member of the South Australian Department of Human Services Libraries’ Consortium (SAHSLC) raised the possibility of developing an after‐hours virtual reference service between the two consortium groups. The aim of the service is to put medical practitioners in contact with a librarian when urgent help is required in finding clinical medical information after hours.

Methods:  A trial project has begun and has been given the name ‘Chasing the Sun’. The service will make use of time‐zone differences between the UK and Australia, so that librarians at work in another country will be able to answer urgent patient‐related queries that cannot wait until normal office hours.

Results:  This paper looks at the development of ‘Chasing the Sun’ from initial concept, funding proposal and trial project stage to implementation. It includes details of the groundwork, software evaluation, trials, outcomes, cost and benefits, future directions and potential problems yet to be experienced or overcome.

Conclusion:  This service is the first of its kind between health libraries in the world and offers potential for future worldwide expansion.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Senior Librarian, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Library, Woodville, SA, 2: Deputy, Library and Educational Information Services, Royal Adelaide Hospital/Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, SA, 3: Reader Services Librarian, ACT Health Library, Woden, ACT, Australia, 4: Library Services Manager, Library, Cheltenham General Hospital, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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