If your customers don't sleep, why should your reference service? Online library reference services available 24/7 are offered in a growing number of institutions. With many models to choose from and more details to be worked out, it is a critical time for librarians to assess their patrons' needs and market their services to address these needs. Collecting and documenting what thousands of virtual reference librarians have learned over the past few years, this comprehensive guide provides a needed overview to help new and aspiring virtual reference library departments - and their directors and administrators, reference librarians, and project managers - to understand the entire process and its ramifications. Here are the basics of designing, implementing, operating, and marketing a virtual reference service from the ground up. In a text supplemented with checklists so no key element is forgotten, this reference offers the real-world answers from leading experts to the most common questions: Where has Web-based library reference come from and where is it going? What is the best digital reference software to address specific needs? Who should staff the virtual reference desktop? How do they get hired and trained? When and how does a library market such a radical new service? Why are evaluations and system enhancements critical to the future of digital reference? With a look into the costs, and a look into the future, supplemented with the most comprehensive bibliography available on the topic, Going Live is a one-stop resource for getting started in digital reference services.