Chat Transcripts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Chats from the AskAway Consortia




Objective – During the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of post-secondary institutions in British Columbia remained closed for a prolonged period, and volume on the provincial consortia chat service, AskAway, increased significantly. This study was designed to evaluate the content of AskAway transcripts for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years to determine if the content of questions varied during the pandemic.

Methods – The following programs were used to evaluate the dataset of more than 70,000 transcripts: R, Python (pandas), Voyant Tools and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC).

Results – Our findings indicate that the content of questions remained largely unchanged despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the related increase in volume of questions on the AskAway chat service.

Conclusion – These findings suggest that the academic libraries covered by this study were well-poised to provide continued support of patrons through the AskAway chat service, despite an unprecedented closure of physical libraries, a significant increase in chat volume, and a time of global uncertainty.


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How to Cite

Sobol, B., Goncalves, A., Vis-Dunbar, M., Lacey, S., Moist, S., Jantzi, L., … James, K. (2023). Chat Transcripts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Chats from the AskAway Consortia. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 18(2), 73–92.



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