Presentation on theme: "Pros & Cons of IM/SMS for Virtual Reference Kris Johnson, Coordinator AskColorado Virtual Reference Collaborative Colorado State Library Albuquerque, New."— Presentation transcript:
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 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
Real-time reference Digital reference Chat reference Live reference Virtual reference 24/7 reference IM reference eReference Virtual Reference? SMS reference Call Center Software Online reference
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 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 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 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.real-time
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
"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
"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 Google receives ~91 million searches…per day.
What Has Happened to the Library 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… 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 The place libraries hold today is no longer as distinct as it once was. OCLC Environmental Scan, 2003
Changing Nature of Library 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 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 Services It is time to rejuvenate the Library brand. OCLC Perception of Libraries and Information Resources, 2005
How to Rejuvenate the 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 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 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) Uses popular IM programs: AOLs AIMAIM MSN Windows Live MessengerWindows Live Messenger Yahoo MessengerMessenger Free to library to patron
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 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 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 Cant do queuing or multiple patrons unless you maintain more than one IM account
Libraries Using IM A good list is available at: Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
IM Aggregator Software Allows you to monitor multiple IM accounts through one interface Trillian Gaim Free
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 MeeboMe for Embedded Chat: MeeboMe Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki Chatango for Embedded Chat: Chatango Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki Plugoo for Embedded Chat: Plugoo Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Web-based IM with MeeboMeebo Completely web-basedno installations (downloads) Sign in with multiple accounts at once Even if IM is blocked, this still works
Livermore (CA) Public Library is Using IM & MeeboLivermore (CA) Public Library is Using IM & Meebo:
Livermore (CA) Public Librarys Meebo Embedded ChatLivermore (CA) Public Librarys Meebo Embedded Chat:
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)Altarama Text message e-mail text message
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 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 Very few: Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki currently lists five (5) Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Southeastern Louisiana University is Using SMSSoutheastern Louisiana University is Using SMS:
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? 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 doesnt have to download anything
Call Center Software: Considerations Call center software companies are not library focused No true co-browsing No 24/7 availability Cant do queuing Cant do multiple patrons unless you pay for multiple seats
Eastern New Mexico University is Using Call Center Software
Dennison Memorial Health Sciences Library (Denver, CO) is Using Call Center Software
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 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 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 - 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 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 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 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 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 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 Links to many others from the LIS wiki.com http://liswiki.com/wiki/Chat_reference_libraries
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? VR Implementation - Considerations
Contact Info: Kris Johnson - AskColorado Coordinator Colorado State Library firstname.lastname@example.org - 303-866-6922 Questions - Discussion