How do librarians and document managers feel when they find themselves in the shoes of library users accessing an on-line reference service? What do they think of the service offered? This article presents the results of a qualitative study looking both at user practices and the terms in which librarians discuss their own practice. The authors have drawn on the expectations and experiences of librarianship professionals, both positive and negative, to draw up the profile of the service as seen from the user’s perspective. The study also raises interesting issues of how librarians think about their own working practices and the wider professional community they belong to.