This panel will discuss research and opportunities in the area of subject-based virtual reference. With larger numbers of users utilizing the internet for reference, and many libraries offering virtual reference desks, there are many opportunities for success and some potential problems. Today's internet user expects "instant answers," which may not be possible unless they can tap into some subject expertise, or expert system. In this panel, three different avenues of subject-based virtual reference will be discussed. Presentations will focus on the following topics: 1) the potential of multi-library systems and consortia offering virtual reference services staffed by subject specialists in a particular area of expertise; 2) a discussion of progress in automatic question answering systems, and a strategy to take advantage of automatic answering systems and subject specialists to best satisfy users' needs 3) question categorization and automatic routing; and 4) automated question routing based on fielded data.