The Collaborative Digital Reference Service (CDRS) will provide professional reference service to researchers any time anywhere, through an international, digital network of libraries and related institutions. The service will use new technologies to provide the best answers in the best context, by taking advantage not only of the millions of Internet resources but also of the many more millions of resources that are not online and that are held by libraries. CDRS supports libraries by providing them additional choices for the services they offer their end users. Libraries will assist their users by connecting to the CDRS to send questions that are best answered by the expert staff and collections of CDRS member institutions from around the world. Local, regional, national, and global: the library tradition of value-added service will be the CDRS hallmark.
The service will use a database of member profiles to ensure that questions are distributed to the best member for providing the best answers in a timely fashion. A Request Manager process and database will manage the flow and tracking of questions and answers. Many questions and answers will be available in an archive database, maintaining full confidentiality, and which will also serve as a resource node on the CDRS network.