Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference
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Pros & Cons of IM/SMS for Virtual Reference. Kris Johnson, Coordinator AskColorado Virtual Reference Collaborative Colorado State Library Albuquerque, New Mexico - March 15, 2007. For Your Consideration -. Using IM or SMS for Virtual Reference. General Presentation Outline.

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Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Pros & Cons of IM/SMS for Virtual Reference

Kris Johnson, Coordinator

AskColorado Virtual Reference Collaborative Colorado State Library

Albuquerque, New Mexico - March 15, 2007


For your consideration

For Your Consideration -

Using IM or SMS for Virtual Reference


General presentation outline

General Presentation Outline

  • Virtual reference defined

  • Changing nature of library public services

  • How libraries can use new communication technologies to stay in the forefront

  • About IM and SMS…and Call Center software

    • Virtual Reference Choices: Pros and Cons

  • Questions - Discussion


Virtual reference

Virtual Reference?

Real-time reference

Live reference

Digital reference

Online reference

IM reference

Call Center Software

Chat reference

SMS reference

eReference

24/7 reference

Virtual reference


Virtual reference definition

Virtual Reference Definition

From RUSA:

“Reference service initiated electronically, often in real-time, where patrons employ computers or other internet technology to communicate with reference staff.”


Chat reference definition

Chat Reference Definition

From liswiki.org:

“A form of virtual reference (or digital reference) in which the librarian and user exchange typed messages via an internet connection. Distinguished from other types of Virtual reference because it is a synchronous communication method, rather than something like email, which is asynchronous. ”


Collaborative virtual reference definition

Collaborative Virtual Reference Definition

From RUSA:

  • Some libraries may choose to provide virtual reference services collaboratively with other libraries:

    • to extend their hours of operation

    • to distribute staffing of the service across multiple libraries

    • to extend the expertise available

    • to realize cost saving associated with economies of scale.

  • Such collaboration may include working with virtual reference vendors, and/or participation in large regional or national collaborations.


Im definition

IM Definition

From Wikipedia:

“Instant messaging or IM is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet.”


Sms definition

SMS Definition

From liswiki.org:

“A form of virtual reference (or digital reference) in which users can send questions on their cell phones via SMS (also known as text messaging). ”

SMS = Short Message Service


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

"This site is awesome and I recommend it to many people. I know the internet has a wealth of information on it but so often it is hard to find. Your site takes so much of the frustration out of research. Thank you! Thank you!”*

*AskColorado patron

AskColorado received 50,000+ queries in 2006


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Google receives ~91 million searches…

per day.

"The ultimate goal is to have a computer that has the kind of semantic knowledge that a reference librarian has," says Google's director of technology Craig Silverstein. But truly smart search engines are probably decades away.”*

*Newsweek (3/29/2004): p.58


What has happened to the library brand

What Has Happened to theLibrary Brand?

  • Recent reports suggest libraries could benefit from new, innovative methods of outreach to the public.

    • The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap Between Internet-Savvy Students and their Schools, 2002, Pew Internet & American Life Project

    • White Paper on The Information Habits of College Students, 2002, OCLC

    • Environmental Scan, 2003, OCLC

    • Perception of Libraries and Information Resources, 2005, OCLC Membership Report


Imagine what would happen to google

Imagine What WouldHappen to Google…

  • If it was only online 10 am – 7:45 pm (PST).

  • If it closed on Mondays and all major holidays.

  • If it required you to login with a proxy server password and login, 12 digit barcode, or SIN: student identification number.

  • If it made you type your searches using strange sounding search logic called Boolean operators and truncation.

  • If it required you to use proper spelling!


Changing nature of library public services

Changing Nature ofLibrary Public Services

  • “The place libraries hold today is no longer as distinct as it once was.”

    • OCLC Environmental Scan, 2003


Changing nature of library public services1

Changing Nature ofLibrary Public Services

  • “College students have confidence in their abilities to locate information for their study assignments. The first-choice web resources for most of their assignments are search engines (such as Google or Alta Vista).”

    • OCLC White Paper on The Information Habits of College Students, 2002


Changing nature of library public services2

Changing Nature ofLibrary Public Services

  • “Much like a school-issued textbook or a traditional library, students think of the Internet as the place to find primary and secondary source material for their reports, presentations, and projects.”

    • Pew Internet & American Life Project The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap Between Internet-Savvy Students and their Schools, 2002


Changing nature of library public services3

Changing Nature ofLibrary Public Services

  • “It is time to rejuvenate the ‘Library’ brand.”

    • OCLC Perception of Libraries and Information Resources, 2005


How to rejuvenate the library brand

How to Rejuvenatethe Library Brand

  • Libraries can use new communication technologies to stay in the forefront.

    • Blogs

    • Wikis

    • RSS Feeds

    • Synchronous and asynchronous Virtual Reference communications


How vr can aid rejuvenation

How VR Can Aid Rejuvenation

  • People are starting to expect real-time online service everywhere; e.g. retail, government services

    • Can help attract new users

    • Change expectations of current users

    • Puts us where our users are: online

    • Makes us more findable in the online environment


How vr can aid rejuvenation1

How VR Can Aid Rejuvenation

  • Get our knowledge, helpfulness, and information expertise out there where the users are

    • Lead newer users towards thinking of libraries as the “go to” resource for their information needs

    • Lead older or lost users towards remembering that libraries are the “go to” resource for their information needs


Instant messaging im

Instant Messaging (IM)

  • Uses popular IM programs:

    • AOL’s AIM

    • MSN Windows Live Messenger

    • Yahoo Messenger

  • Free

    • to library

    • to patron


Why use im

Why Use IM?

  • Used by many libraries as a low-cost method of offering chat-based reference - most are free

  • Instantaneous, synchronous (simultaneous) communication - very fast!

  • Easy – for librarian and patron

  • Generally not platform dependent (works on Macs and PCs)

  • Potential for high visibility/impact with minimal effort


Why use im1

Why Use IM?

  • Your Patrons (or future patrons!) may already be using it

    • 75% of online teens IM

    • 42% of online adults IM

    • 50% of IMing teens (32% of all teens) IM every single day

      * Pew Internet and American Life Project. Teens and Technology. 07/27/2005.


Im considerations

IM: Considerations

  • Patron and librarian have to download a program

  • Commercial chat terms of service may include privacy concerns

    • read, then inform your users

  • No co-browsing

  • No 24/7 availability

  • Can’t do queuing or multiple patrons

    • unless you maintain more than one IM account


Libraries using im

Libraries Using IM

  • A good list is available at:

    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

University of New Mexico is Using IM:


Im aggregator software

IM Aggregator Software

  • Allows you to monitor multiple IM accounts through one interface

    • Trillian

    • Gaim

  • Free


Embedded chat

Embedded Chat

  • Completely web-based chat — no installations (downloads)

  • Sign-in with multiple accounts at once

  • Works even if IM is blocked at your site

  • Connection embedded directly into your website


Libraries using embedded chat

Libraries Using Embedded Chat

  • MeeboMe for Embedded Chat:

    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki

  • Chatango for Embedded Chat:

    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki

  • Plugoo for Embedded Chat:

    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki


Web based im with meebo

Web-based IM with Meebo

  • Completely web-based—no installations (downloads)

  • Sign in with multiple accounts at once

  • Even if IM is blocked, this still works


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Livermore (CA) Public Library is Using IM & Meebo:


Livermore ca public library s meebo embedded chat

Livermore (CA) Public Library’s Meebo Embedded Chat:


Short messaging system sms

Short Messaging System (SMS)

  • Reference via cell phone text-messaging (patron-side) and an e-mail account (librarian-side)

    • Need a special, third party software called “Reference by SMS” from Altarama (Australian based company)

      Text messagee-mailtext message


Why use sms

Why Use SMS?

  • Again, your patrons (or future patrons!) may already be using it

    • 45% of Americans (any age) have cell phones

    • 27% of them use SMS (text messaging)

      Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Rise of Cell Phone Text Messaging. March 14, 2005.


Sms considerations

SMS: Considerations

  • Patron needs a cell phone

  • Currently uses servers based in Australia (Altarama) and not all cell phones can handle international SMS

  • Limited message length

  • Not synchronous


Libraries using sms

Libraries Using SMS

  • Very few:

    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki currently lists five (5)


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Southeastern Louisiana University is Using SMS:


Call center software

Call Center Software

a.k.a. Live Chat Support Software; Live Support Software

  • Used mostly by businesses

  • Allows web site visitors to instantaneously communicate and interact with customer service personnel


Why use call center software

Why Use Call Center Software?

  • Used by many libraries as a middle-ground method of offering chat-based reference

    • between Collaborative VR and free IM

  • Cost $$

    • But generally not as much as VR software

  • Fast and offers some advanced features over basic IM

  • Can embed in your webpage

    • Patron doesn’t have to download anything


Call center software considerations

Call Center Software: Considerations

  • Call center software companies are not “library” focused

  • No true co-browsing

  • No 24/7 availability

  • Can’t do queuing

  • Can’t do multiple patrons

    • unless you pay for multiple “seats”


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Eastern New Mexico University is Using Call Center Software


Pros cons of im sms for virtual reference

Dennison Memorial Health Sciences Library (Denver, CO) is Using Call Center Software


Library vendor based virtual reference vr software features

Library Vendor Based Virtual Reference (VR) Software Features

  • Fee-based software application that offers a suite of reference services and features:

    • Synchronous communication

    • Instant messaging (IM)

    • Co-browsing of web pages (or modified co-browsing)

    • Document sharing

    • Queuing and notification of incoming calls

    • Call transferring

    • Customization of pre-scripted messages

    • Storage of chat transcripts – and e-mail features

    • Statistical reporting

    • Exit surveys


Three major vr software companies

Three Major VR Software Companies

  • QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference:

    • www.questionpoint.org

  • Tutor.com:

    • www.tutor.com

  • Docutek VRLPlus:

    • www.docutek.com/products/vrlplus/index.html


Collaborative vr software considerations

Collaborative VR Software - Considerations

  • Slower - than basic IM

  • Training – advanced complexity requires longer training (than basic IM)

  • Less Compatibility – stiffer computer requirements r.e. operating systems, browser versions, firewalls, and connection speeds

  • Disconnects: advanced complexity leads to more frequent disconnects (than IM)


Collaborative vr software considerations1

Collaborative VR Software - Considerations

  • Stored transcripts kept in-definitely

  • Patron generally not connected to a local librarian

  • Cost: Depending on co-cop, no co-op, library size, etc. cost could be thousands of dollars


Why libraries join vr cooperatives

Why Libraries Join VR Cooperatives

  • Power in numbers

    • Combined financial and human resources distributes costs and staffing

    • Partnering helps to increase usage by offering continuous hours of service

    • Allows libraries to extend their service hours and outreach efforts – 24/7 model


Why libraries join vr cooperative

Why Libraries Join VR Cooperative

  • Many libraries want to provide virtual reference service to patrons, but can't afford to start service on own

    • Gain the benefits of the virtual reference software package

    • Better use of taxpayer dollars to collaborate


Why libraries join vr cooperatives1

Why Libraries Join VR Cooperatives

  • For rural areas:

    • Library may be too small, isolated, or under staffed to offer adequate services

    • Library are often closed when patrons need access or assistance

  • For colleges and universities:

    • Virtual reference can be used to enhance distance education


Why libraries join vr cooperatives2

Why Libraries Join VR Cooperatives

  • Opportunities for librarian rejuvenation

    • Learn new skills

    • Interact with patrons in new, exciting environment

    • Share expertise with larger audience

    • Extend the library to new Internet based society – ‘social networking’


How vr works 24 7

How VR Works 24/7

  • AskColorado uses the Tutor.com Librarians By Request (LBR) service provide the service after-hours and in Spanish

  • Many libraries organize their won 24/7 staffing

  • OCLC QuestionPoint offers 24/7 back-up service


Libraries offering vr services

Libraries Offering VR Services

  • Links to many others from the LIS wiki.com

    • http://liswiki.com/wiki/Chat_reference_libraries


Collaborative vr queues

Collaborative VR – Queues

http://www.askcolorado.org/


Collaborative vr logging in

Collaborative VR – Logging In


Collaborative vr interacting

Collaborative VR - Interacting


Vr implementation considerations

VR Implementation - Considerations

  • Prior to implementing, think about:

    • Who are you going to serve?

    • Do you separately staff for VR service?

    • If not, how do you handle multiple services (VR, in-person, phone) at the same time?

    • Who is your primary responder to VR?

    • What kind of questions do you answer on VR?

    • What kind of security issues are there?

    • What kind of technical issue do you have locally?


Questions discussion

Questions - Discussion

Contact Info:

Kris Johnson - AskColorado Coordinator

Colorado State Library

[email protected] - 303-866-6922


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