Scottish historian, author and broadcaster Neil Oliver has launched Ask Scotland, a new online reference service which allows users to pose any question to a Scottish librarian and receive a fully-researched answer within 48 hours.
Ask Scotland invites users to ask a question via an online enquiry form. Queries are then sent on to qualified librarians who research the answer using the wide range of information and resources held within Scotland's libraries. Within 48 hours, an accurate, thoroughly researched response is supplied.
With more than 100 million websites on the internet, search engines can present a challenge for researchers as they return millions of results, many of which are not on target and can be inaccurate. Ask Scotland draws on the experience of librarians who are experts at sorting through information and finding, organising and evaluating what people need from a mass of credible sources.
Ask Scotland also has a live chat function which allows people to connect directly to a librarian and ask a question in real time.
The new service has been developed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), in collaboration with Scotland's public library services, and has been funded by the Scottish Government through the Public Library Quality Improvement Fund (PLQIF).