Information Desk Service Guidelines: Scope of Services

Provides the mission and guidelines for information desk service.

Electronic Reference (email & chat)

Electronic reference in the form of the Ask a Librarian email and text/chat service are primarily intended for the Marquette University community. Questions from persons not affiliated with Marquette may be answered as time permits. Often, in-depth questions are best served in a face to face setting, and so, reference questions received electronically may be referred to the medium of service most appropriate to the question. This maybe be a referral to telephone or in-person reference or a Research Consultation.

Telephone Reference

Information or reference assistance given by telephone will generally be quite brief. Users in need of more extensive assistance may be advised to visit the library or referred to a subject specialist.

Technology is particularly difficult to trouble shoot via phone, and for this reason questions regarding hardware or non-database software may also be directed to an in-person format.


There will be instances in which licensing agreements or other contractual restrictions preclude offering the same level of service to users not currently affiliated with Marquette. In such instances, appropriate reference service might consist of a referral to a library able and willing to provide the desired service.

Legal, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Tax Advice

The Libraries cannot provide legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or tax filing advice in response to reference queries. Specific information may be read from manuals, but in most circumstances users will be referred to sources of information from which to draw conclusions.

Commercial Products and/or Services

The Libraries will not provide recommendations on commercial products and/or services in response to queries but will refer users to sources of information on these topics.

Personal Arrangements

The Libraries will not provide driving directions, make personal reservations, or in other ways provide the service of making personal arrangements for patrons or serving as a directory assistance at large.

Technology Training

The Libraries do not provide in-depth training or trouble shooting in either software or equipment beyond the scope of the research tools presented in Information Literacy instruction.


The Information Desk personnel do not provide tours or orientations to the Libraries on demand. Tours/orientations can be scheduled in advance by contacting the Information Desk


The Libraries assume no liability for any misinformation and/or interpretations drawn from sources cited in response to queries.