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E-Reference (Email, Chat, IM) Policies

Who can use this service?

Our e-reference services are intended primarily for the students, faculty, and staff of Montana State University.

We also serve the citizens of the state of Montana and anyone needing help with Montana-related topics.

Students enrolled in the university's distance education or off-campus programs, as well as researchers with inquiries pertaining to our unique collections, are encouraged to use this service.

What kinds of questions may I ask?

Questions of any kind may be posed through this service, but it is best suited for assistance with shorter, fact-based questions; access questions; and questions pertaining to best resource options or starting points for research.

Reference librarians do not interpret information; provide legal, medical or financial advice; and will not provide answers for class assignments.

Patrons requiring more involved research may be referred to private research options or encouraged to come into the MSU Library for additional assistance.

Non-Montana residents posing questions unrelated to Montana or our collections at MSU-Bozeman will be encouraged to contact their local public or academic library for assistance.

How long will it take to get an answer?

For email reference, we generally respond to questions within 24 hours during the regular work week (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays). Questions received after 5 PM on Fridays and on holidays may take as long as 72 hours to answer.

For phone, chat, and IM reference, available whenever the reference desk is open, we usually respond within minutes. If you do not get a response, leave your email or phone number, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Who will answer my question?

MSU-Bozeman reference librarians answer all email reference questions. We are a team of faculty librarians with graduate degrees in Library and Information Science.