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Library services

“Ask a librarian” the chat of the digital reference service


Accesso e iscrizione

"Ask a librarian" is the collaborative digital reference service of the University Library System.

The widget, in all Library Portal web pages, enables the communication via chat, from Monday to Thursday from 9.00 to 17.00 and on Friday from 9.00 to 13.00. When the service is offline, the widget provides a form through which it is possible to request information: librarians respond by the next working day.

Librarians provide information via chat on the resources and services offered by libraries, "accompanying" users, if needed, in the browsing of digital resources, providing assistance, guidance and personalized advice to support the academic community in the information needs related to study and research activities. Via chat it is also possible to request for Document Delivery.

International users, incoming students, visiting professors and staff may send an email and ask for instruction and reference chat sessions in English to:

Humanities Library area: sandro.dibartolo(at), marirosa.fortunato(at) 

Engineering Library area: gloria.mangiaracina(at), filippo.santagati(at) and francesco.vozza(at)

Law, Economics and Social sciences Library area: michela.marraffa(at)

Medicine Library area: fabio.sole(at)

Basic and Applied Sciences Library area: rosalia.marchese(at), francesca.tignola(at) and germana.mule(at)


“Reference” is a set of information and advice services, including all the direct and indirect activities carried out by librarians to satisfy the information and knowledge needs of students, PhD students, teachers and administrative staff. Reference librarians provide assistance, guidance and personalized advice to support the academic community in the information needs related to study, research and third mission activities in all University libraries.

In each library the reference librarians:

- provide basic guidance to students in the use of catalogues, discovery tools, bibliographic platforms, databases, etc.

- support students, PhD students and professors in their specialist research with complex information on the sources and resources related toa specific field of research;

- carry out advice activities for the production of precise research products (bibliographies, collection of data useful for laboratory tests, bibliographic reviews, editing, preparation of teaching material, cooperation with teachers and researchers in the processes of publication, research evaluation, etc. .).


"Ask a librarian" is the cooperative digital reference service of the University Library System of the University of Palermo created with Tawk.To, an application identified by the SIA on the basis of the technical and service requirements required by the Sector.

We inform users of the "Ask a librarian" service, pursuant to art. 13 and 14 of EU Regulation 2016/679 concerning the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data (GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation) that the University Library System and the University of Palermo will process any personal data provided in voluntarily during chat transactions and through the form for information requests (name and surname, email address, registration number) and the data automatically collected by the application (IP address, used browser and operating system, web pages visited during the transaction) to provide a prompt and relevant reference service, for research purposes, to improve the provision of library services for teaching, research and the third mission. The data, aggregated and used indicated anonymously for the above purposes, are kept for the time strictly necessary to achieve the purposes for which they were collected. Specific security measures are observed to prevent illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.

Data are processed by authorized subjects designated as persons in charge of processing by the University of Palermo, by the data controller in the person of the Rector and by the external IT company providing the platform through which the service is provided and whose privacy policy is available at

Users can request, if they wish, to be mailed with the transaction log already during the chat transaction.

For more information on the processing of data collected through the Ask a librarian service, you can send an email with the subject "Privacy - Ask a librarian" to the Sector


The data controller is the University of Palermo in the person of the Rector.

The contact details of the owner are:



The Data Protection Officer (DPO) is Professor Ilenia Tinnirello

The contact details of the DPO are:




All data processing activities are based on the principles established by the GDPR. The subjects to whom the personal data refer, in their capacity as interested parties, have the right at any time to obtain confirmation of the existence of the data, to know the content and origin of them, and may also exercise the rights provided for in sections 2 , 3 and 4 of Chapter III of the GDPR, such as: asking the data controller the access, rectification or cancellation of personal data, denying their treatment, make a complaint with the supervisory authority