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The Librarian is IM: Instant Messaging vs. Virtual Reference Software Ontario Library Association Conference Session 618 (February 1, 2007) Summarized.

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Presentation on theme: "The Librarian is IM: Instant Messaging vs. Virtual Reference Software Ontario Library Association Conference Session 618 (February 1, 2007) Summarized."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Librarian is IM: Instant Messaging vs. Virtual Reference Software Ontario Library Association Conference Session 618 (February 1, 2007) Summarized by Olga Nicholl

2 The Librarian is IM… The Librarian is IM session was held by Elena Prigoda (Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto) and Jenn Horwath (Mohawk College). offered pros and cons of using free versus fee based instant messaging services compared Virtual Reference (VR) and Instant Messaging (IM) also compared VR and IM, with relation to usage statistics, staff satisfaction, administration, features, and the general success of each service

3 Mohawk College Instant Messaging

4 Mohawk College Virtual Reference

5 U of T Gerstein Science Instant Messaging

6 Instant Messaging & Virtual Reference Mohawk College - 40 total staff (6 Librarians) - introduced reference in Virtual Reference (VR) in Instant Messaging (IM) in Tutor.com is used to support VR - Trillian supports Messenger services (i.e. MSN, Yahoo, AOL) used for IM University of Toronto (Gerstein) - over 1 million patrons ,000 reference questions by phone, in person, online - Instant Messaging (IM) in IM hours are the same as info desk hours - staff work on a weekly rotation - GAIM supports Messenger services (i.e. MSN, Yahoo, Google, AIM)

7 Instant Messaging Instant Messaging Stats - marketing / advertising done through signage and student newspaper - began with approximately 250 questions per semester (Mohawk College) Staff Satisfaction - ranked software as good, but lack of co- browsing (viewing what the student sees) - noticed ¼ of patrons lose connection

8 Instant Messaging vsVirtual Reference Usage Stats - Virtual Reference has had more use than Instant Messaging, but IM rapidly growing - students view Instant Messaging as social network not school work related Cost - Virtual Reference software $7,200 US - Instant Messaging = Free

9 Instant Messaging Pros - students already use the software - staff familiarity with software - friend / buddy lists - quick and free - able to see when patron is typing Cons - very basic stats - not scripted

10 Virtual Reference Pros - co-browsing capabilities - scripted messages (i.e. presently searching) - information about the patron available - database of answers & transcripts - usage statistics - ease of sharing with consortia - transcripts can be sent to patron Cons - co-browsing with Tutor.com requires student to download a program


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