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Virtual Reference Software Update Jody Condit Fagan Digital Services Librarian James Madison University faganjc @ jmu.eduVRD 2004
Show of Hands • Currently use VR software or IM software to provide help to patrons / users at your institution • Like your VR software very very much • Feel “okay” about your VR software • Are shopping for new VR software • first timers • continuing users
Products Marketed to Libraries eLibrarian (Groopz, Digi-Net)Live Assistance (Live Assistance)VRL Plus (Docutek)VR Toolkit (tutor.com) OnDemand (Convey) Timpani (Live Person) 24/7 ReferenceQuestion Point (OnDemand) RAKIM (open source) Instant Messaging ICQ Yahoo IM MSN Messenger Trillian Call Center SoftwareRightNowSiebel
Panoply of features (refer to chart)
“Geo-Location” Gee Whiz Features
Convey’s OnDemand Caller’s screen Librarian/operator
“Campaign Tracking” Example: Email campaign tracking mechanism (Live Person)Use a tracking variable in your links in your email campaign for example: http://www.mycompany.com?cp=winterPromo Gee Whiz Applications
“Live Keyword” Visitors coming from a search engine are highlighted in the software. You see the keywords they used in their search “and instantly understand what they need” Gee Whiz Applications
“Reference by SMS” • a.k.a. “Text messaging” Provides for inbound and outbound text messaging services of local cell carriers. Libraries provide a phone number to which patrons send text messages. • These are converted & sent to an email account. • Plug-in assists to shorten relies. • Visit Altarama at Booth 5 or see demo Monday 11:00-11:45 am Gee Whiz Applications
Wireless / Mobile • Videoconferencing, phones, computers “Using Wireless Mobile Technology for Offering “Here and Now” Service”Monday, Nov. 8: 2:10 – 2:55 pm, Landmark Room 2 Trends & Developments
VOIP / VR for visually impaired • pilot project involving 12 libraries in nine states and the District of Columbia to provide VoIP-enabled virtualreference services for the print-impaired, • testing QuestionPoint Enhanced and iVocalize. • Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, with software, e-content, training, and technical support from OCLC. • “InfoEyes: Addressing VR Accessibility and VOIP functionality.”Monday, Nov. 8: 4:15-5:00pm, Landmark 2
Reference Universe • 5,000 reference book indexes • keyword searchable • It knows which ones YOU have! • And provides links to eBooks! Gee Whiz Applications
Your Virtual Reference Model • Why are you providing VR service? • In-library reference presence • Convenience for remote users • Full reference for distance users • To be more proactive in identifying and engaging customers • To allow staff to be physically flexible • ???
Your Virtual Reference Model (cont’d) • Who are the staff? • students? • reference desk staff • subject specialists • Librarians at other institutions • Where are the staff? • Physically (home, library branches) • Institutionally (part of your org?)
Your Virtual Reference Model (cont’d) • Who are the users? • Equipment • Internet Connection • OS / Software • Firewall/pop-up blockers? • Expectations / skill level • Where are the users? • In the library building(s) • Able to walk to library? • In another time zone
(not so long ago) Telephone numberto Reference Desk Your REFERENCE Model (a long, long, time ago) Edward, Science Specialist person Reference Desk Mary, Business Specialist Angela, Education Specialist
Your REFERENCE Model(post-Internet) Online Subject Guides Chat Edward, Science Specialist system or person Ask Us e-mail service Telephone number Mary, Business Specialist Other innovative service points Face-to-face consultations Angela, Education Specialist
One VR Model • Residential undergraduate campus • Many off-campus, but on-network, users • Some dial-up users • Traditionally-aged college students • Provide help at point of need • In-building users • Remote users • Track user behavior on web site
One VR Model (cont’d) • No Desk • All librarians online most of the time • Users pick librarian / subject expertise from web site directory and initial contact technology. • Librarian picks response technology: email, phone, chat, video, face-to-face.
One VR Model (cont’d) • E-mail, chat, librarians need to be able to chat with one another • Want librarians to be ok at home, or with laptop • Co-browsing not the most important • Or ability to turn off gee whiz features • Web site tracking / great statistics & transcripts • Need a pricing model where I can have all my librarians online (licensed?)
One VR Model (cont’d) • Text-only chat (RAKIM); message board for e-mail (WebBoard); all librarians on the same commercial IM. • eLibrarian (licensed, to save money) for chat, email, and librarian chat • Explore licensing OnDemand for chat, application share; use message board for email • Possibly the next two-tiered VRL Toolkit
What librarians are saying • “co-browsing has become increasingly difficult to use with the prevalence of fire walls on home computers” • “Choosing the right software may not mean choosing the one with the fanciest features” • “I feel that is our responsibility to offer a service that may be used on the widest array of patron-side machines. Unfortunately I feel like we might be headed in the opposite direction.” Responses from three different VR users to a post on DIG_REF listserv
What librarians want to know • When will software record metrics for cost estimates? • How useful – and used -- is co-browsing? • When will co-browsing work during federated searching? • When can I put a VR link on ALL my database pages? • When will we get Voice? How will voice transcripts be stored? Responses from various VR users to a post on DIG_REF listserv
What librarians want to know (cont’d) • Research in Digital ReferenceTuesday, Nov. 5, 9:25-10:10am, Caprice Rooms 1 & 4, 4th floor. • A “town hall” meeting to create research agenda.
What vendors are saying • eLibrarian: Integration with phone, datafiles, documents, plug-ins to other apps, such as a marketing system • LiveAssistance: people are focusing too much on technology and forgetting the original purpose: reaching out to students and what they are doing
What vendors are saying (24/7) • VR software needs to be accessible on a variety of browsers and OS, including AOL, Netscape, Macs and Web TV (24/7) • VR software should be accessible with adaptive techologies (24/7)
What vendors are saying (VRL Toolkit) • software needs to be easy to setup and use for librarian • Intelligent routing to correct librarian within collaborative group • Integrated reference management tools. Email, chat, phone, desk. • better collaboration within building, library, and reference cooperative.
Dial-up, firewalls & pop-up blockers • Dial-up performance test • “24/7 software works with hardware firewalls and with the latest versions of most software firewalls. Versions older than 2004 may be a problem.” • “For pop-up blockers, usually the software works around them.”
Dial-up, firewalls & pop-ups (cont’d) • VRToolkit: 2005 version plans a two-tiered version with basic and enhanced (requires patron download) to combat disruptive features • Tutor.com Demonstrationof Integrated Reference Solution, Tuesday, Nov. 9: 1:15-2:00pm • Also Booth 4
Interoperability • OCLC and MCLS to combine Question Point, 24/7 Reference Services (9/10/04, OCLC web site) • QuestionPoint: over 1,000 libraries in 20 countries. 24/7: 500+ libraries • “in the Fall of 2005, OCLC will release a product that will contain the best elements of a combined 24/7 and QuestionPoint solution.” – email 11/5 from Susan McGlamery • January 2005, 24/7 will have email integration and knowledge base capabilities of QuestionPoint • OCLC & 24/7 demo Monday, 3:20-4:05pm, Salon H&I • OCLC & 24/7 at Booth 2 Trends & Developments
Interoperability (cont’d) • NISO Standard: Question and Answer Transaction Protocol "NetRef on Trial: Testing the QATP" Monday, Nov. 8th, 3:20 p.m.–4:05 p.m., Landmark Room 2 • NISO standards need to be not only adopted but expanded for live chat portability. Forwarding a request is achievable; forwarding a “live” request unwieldy, but not impossible. (tutor.com) Trends & Developments
Integration with IM • “an automated "bot" that could bridge the gap between IM networks and VR software.” --Luke Rosenberger • Googlematic: an IM Google bothttp://interconnected.org/googlematic/ • Perl modules for bots Trends & Developments
Integration with IM (cont’d) • eLibrarian, LiveAssistance don’t see integration with IM happening • Tutor.com’s new system “is extensible to IM and to any common Internet browser.” Will provide two levels of service: “basic” that is unaffected by “disruptive” technologies; “enhanced” that requires a client side application like AIM or MSN for increased functionality. Trends & Developments
Integration with IM (cont’d) • "Istanbul," capable of instant messaging, telephony integration and PC-based voice and video. (Microsoft) • MS Office Live Communications Server 2005 (LCS). http://www.instantmessagingplanet.com/public/ • Enterprise Edition supports up to 20,000 users per server and server pools of up to 100,000 users. Information stored in an SQL database and identities are authenticated though Active Directory. Only $3,000 ! • users will be able to communicate with suppliers and customers using MSN, AOL and Yahoo! public IM networks. Trends & Developments
References • Coffman, Steve. "We'll take it from here: developments we'd like to see in virtual reference software." Information Technology and Libraries, v. 20, no. 3. http://www.ala.org/ala/lita/litapublications/ital/2003coffman.htm • Lupien, P. Bilingual VirtualReference: It's Better Than Searching the Open Web. Computers in Libraries v. 24 no. 5 (May 2004) p. 6-8, 53-4, 56 • NISO Question/Answer Transaction Protocol. http://www.niso.org/standards/dsftu.html; http://www.loc.gov/standards/net_ref • OCLC. “OCLC and MCLS to combine Question Point, 24/7 Reference Services.” http://www.oclc.org/news/releases/20048.htm • Olivares, O. May: VirtualReference Systems. Computers in Libraries v. 24 no. 5 (May 2004) p. 25-9. • Peters, T. Auditory Options. Library Journal (1976) part Net Connect (Spring 2004) p. 8-9 • Reference Universe. http://www.paratext.com
References (cont’d) • Rosenberger, Luke. LBR. (web blog for VR librarians) http://lbr.library-blogs.net/read/840396.htm • Schmidt, Bonnie, Donald Woolston, and John Wanserski “Live, On-Line, at a Time Convenient for You, It’s?...Your Advisor!” Presentation at the 2004 NACADA conference, Oct. 2004 Cincinatti, OH • Wired Bots (pre-rolled Perl modules for creating IM bots) http://www.wiredbots.com/tutorial.html • Webb, Matt. Googlematic. Program and web page: http://interconnected.org/googlematic/ • Woods, Bob. “Search the Web via IM,” April 19, 2002 (Article describing Googlematic)http://www.instantmessagingplanet.com/public/article.php/10817_1012411