7th Annual Virtual Reference Desk Recognizing the Success of Reference November 14-15, 2005 r u there?: Adding Instant Messaging to an Established Virtual ReferenceService Jean Ferguson, Perkins Library, Duke UniversityPam Sessoms, Davis Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC 27,276 enrolled Fall 2005 16, 764 undergrad 8,175 grad 2,337 professional Davis is “main” library. Undergraduate Library has its own IM service 19 staff and handful of grad students share in chat service Fall/Spring IM hours 9 am – 9:45 pm most days Commercial VR hours as above but extended via collaborative service (9pm-midnight Sun-Thurs) Duke 12,085 enrolled Fall 2004 6,092 Undergrads 5,993 Grads Perkins Library is “main” library. Divinity School has its own IM service 22 Librarians and 2 grad students share in chat service Fall/Spring IM hours 11am to midnight most days Commercial VR hours as above The lay of the land… smittyswife: Hi, Are you there?
Outline • Why IM? • IM vs commercial chat software • Statistics • Staffing • Training • Marketing • Back end • The Future wangsta556: hello. i need some help
Why IM? 62% of 18-27 year olds use IM 57% of group above use IM more than email Pew Internet & American Life Project. How Americans use instant messaging. (9.1.2004) www.pewinternet.org totallystupid98: hello. you there?
Commercial VR Pros: You can check to see if the other librarian is signed on Keeps statistics No software download (sometimes) Alerts until patron is picked up One public identity to multiple staff identities is transparent Patrons do not need to register with commercial entity Instant Messaging Pros: Installed user base Familiar to users Encourages repeat use via buddy list Perceived as friendly and informal Commercial VR vs. IM shortlitlthing: i dont really know where to start
Commercial VR Cons: Unstable Not as intuitive to users not already familiar with VR Librarian-side configuration can be difficult Commercial VR vs. IM Instant Messaging • Cons: • Shift change unclear • Stats are kept manually • Administration-side configuration can be difficult • Perceived as non-professional or silly by some librarians • Alerting is not always alertful • Spam/virii • Patrons must register with commercial entity (ex, AOL) honeybunny10101: hi. is this a library?
Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Number of Chats Duke Commercial VR Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Number of Chats UNC
Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Number of Chats Duke Commercial VR Instant Msg Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Number of Chats UNC
Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Number of Chats Duke Commercial VR Instant Msg Spring 03 Sumr 03 Fall 03 Spring 04 Sumr 03 Fall 04 Spring 05 Sumr 05 Total VR & IM Number of Chats UNC
Staffing Models • Similar to staffing a Reference Desk • Reference Desk • Staff Offices montipanther2009: hey
UNC: IM and Chat at the RefDesk • Well, not *at* the desk. • Much easier to staff • No shift change procedure needed • Sound alerts • IM: Mimics repeating bell sound (ta-da, 20 seconds of silence, ta-da) • Alert sound is configurable in Gaim • Will not “ding until picked up” tooforyoo: are u a girl
Duke Staffing Model • Change to suit • Staff desks during busy times • Reference desk during slow times • Staff PCs must be configured • Shift change can be hectic • Shift change easier if only one IM protocol is involved • Sometimes we disconnect each other iluvabiker390: i just wanna talk
Marketing • Web page • e-mail signatures • Icon on desktop points to AIM Express and instructions • Stickers or business cards to handout at classes, desk • Library computer wallpaper, screensavers • Press release • Word of mouth within academic community • Fliers with tear-off buddy name tabs • Around library, campus, town TaRhEeL4LiFe: what about snakes? TaRhEeL4LiFe : do you have books on snakes?
Training • Have all staff sign up for individual IM accounts • Use these around the office • Workshops • Usually IM training is much easier than commercial VR package • Have lists of acronyms to allay any staff anxiety about “chat lingo” Seximexi056: if you want to meet up for coffee sometime give me a call
Just in time training • Chat lingo • Spam & VirusesObsoltwr: http://FullPictures.my-net-space.net/show.php? • Abusive, Repetitive or Silly patrons • Bots • Screen names Amazonwmn445 BlinkandDrink DuctTapeBoy45 • Lowercase, informal language • Being explicit by typing everything that you’re doing • Short sentences or phrases Sweetgurl1109: how do I cite a map from your map library when it was just laying on the table
(11:26:20) patron: hi (11:26:41) DukeRef: Hi, how can I help you? (11:26:44) patron: idk (11:26:48) patron: i just wanna talk (11:26:48) patron: lol
Forthcoming Script • Anonymizes • Assigns random identity to track repeat usage • Calculates simple usage stats • Min, max durations • Mean, average durations • By month, by protocol • Assumes Gaim usage • Will be available for other institutions to customize
10 2005: Total chats: 214 Longest : 01:19:16 Average : 00:08:56 Median : 00:05:47 Total chats (aim): 184 Shortest : 00:00:00 Longest : 01:19:16 Average : 00:08:33 Median : 00:05:40 Total chats (yahoo): 24 Shortest : 00:00:00 Longest : 00:56:13 Average : 00:11:32 Median : 00:06:07 Total chats (msn): 6 Shortest : 00:01:59 Longest : 00:21:13 Average : 00:10:22 Median : 00:09:30
Back End Stuff • Demo of setup and transcript access • Big caveat for using Gaim configured as shown: • All gaim chats done on a PC with the GAIMHOME environment variable will be logged. • We ask that librarians us the native client or Trillian for personal chats • Gaim use is only for library IM service nakedskunk5: hi there!!!!
Future… • Social networking • Facebook • Tent city website and marketing • Add IM interface onto commercial software • Scripts for statistics gathering, reports • Queueing • Marketing • Signs on busses, downtown, outside the library carolinaguy4ever: YOU NAILED IT. Thank you so much!!!
Jean Ferguson Reference Librarian, Coord. of Virtual Reference Duke University Perkins Library Durham, NC 27708 email@example.com IM name: Dukeref Pam Sessoms Electronic Services and Reference Librarian University of North Carolina Davis Library Chapel Hill, NC 27599 firstname.lastname@example.org IM name: Davisrefdesk Questions