The Cat who Sat Downat the Reference Desk<br />With apologies to <br />Lilian Jackson Braun<br />David Newyear<br />Adult ...
How did we end up with a talking cat on our website?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
June 19, 2009<br />Governor Strickland proposes a cut to state funding for public libraries.<br />“Proposed budget cuts an...
MPL’s Response<br /><ul><li> June – August 2009: Self checks installed at the Main Library, self checks at the branches so...
  July 2009: Initial tests with SitePal.
  September 2009: MPL Board of Trustees directs library administration to “seek and implement technology to make up for th...
Emma makes her debut<br /><ul><li>November 19, 2009: Emma appears on the MPL website. Patrons select from a    list of twe...
January 2010: SitePal artificial intelligence is enabled.</li></ul>     In February, Emma answers nearly 10,000 questions....
“Oh My Gosh! A talking cat!” <br /><ul><li> Patrons have embraced her.
 “Will you marry me?”
  Teens especially like her.
  People from all over the world </li></ul>       ask her questions.<br /><ul><li>  Use has increased dramatically!
  Her correct response rate for</li></ul>       library questions has increased from<br />       12% to an average of 90%....
How does Emma fit into our reference department?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
What questions are we answering?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
What questions are other libraries answering?<br /><ul><li> Statistics from virtual reference interactions (SMS text messa...
  There were relatively few hardcore research questions.  </li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
Don’t you love us anymore?<br />In the course of strategic planning, MPL’s community focus group ranked reference services...
Are reference services in decline?<br /><ul><li>Zabel noted that reference transactions began to decline in 1998 and have ...
 Banks and Pracht found an increased emphasis on developing Web-based reference services, a focus on the Internet, and a d...
Some librarians are afraid of this technology and worried about…</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
The BIG QUESTION<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
Will Emma and her offspring replace us?<br /><ul><li> Maybe, but not anytime soon
Many stories about computers turning on their creators – M5, HAL, etc.
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The Cat Who Sat Down At The Reference Desk

  1. 1. The Cat who Sat Downat the Reference Desk<br />With apologies to <br />Lilian Jackson Braun<br />David Newyear<br />Adult Information Services Manager<br />Mentor Public Library<br />
  2. 2. How did we end up with a talking cat on our website?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  3. 3. June 19, 2009<br />Governor Strickland proposes a cut to state funding for public libraries.<br />“Proposed budget cuts announced by Gov. Ted Strickland potentially could strip 50 percent of the state's funding for public libraries in the next two years.<br />Nearly 70 percent of the state's more than 250 public libraries rely solely on state funding. A reduction of this magnitude could mean many will close branches or reduce hours and services.”1<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  4. 4. MPL’s Response<br /><ul><li> June – August 2009: Self checks installed at the Main Library, self checks at the branches soon follow.
  5. 5. July 2009: Initial tests with SitePal.
  6. 6. September 2009: MPL Board of Trustees directs library administration to “seek and implement technology to make up for the budget shortfall.”</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  7. 7. Emma makes her debut<br /><ul><li>November 19, 2009: Emma appears on the MPL website. Patrons select from a list of twelve FAQs.
  8. 8. January 2010: SitePal artificial intelligence is enabled.</li></ul> In February, Emma answers nearly 10,000 questions.<br /><ul><li>March – May 2010: Emma’s “brain” migrates from</li></ul> SitePal to Pandorabots. <br /> Emma is rebuilt using SuperBot 2.0 files.<br /><ul><li>July 2010: MPL and ASCPL form a partnership.</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  9. 9. “Oh My Gosh! A talking cat!” <br /><ul><li> Patrons have embraced her.
  10. 10. “Will you marry me?”
  11. 11. Teens especially like her.
  12. 12. People from all over the world </li></ul> ask her questions.<br /><ul><li> Use has increased dramatically!
  13. 13. Her correct response rate for</li></ul> library questions has increased from<br /> 12% to an average of 90%.<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  14. 14. How does Emma fit into our reference department?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  15. 15. What questions are we answering?<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  16. 16. What questions are other libraries answering?<br /><ul><li> Statistics from virtual reference interactions (SMS text messaging and IM/chat sessions) indicate that requests for immediate information about library hours (including “Are you open?”) and for specific books or other materials/resources (study room availability) predominate.2
  17. 17. There were relatively few hardcore research questions. </li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  18. 18. Don’t you love us anymore?<br />In the course of strategic planning, MPL’s community focus group ranked reference services next to last in their desired service responses.<br />Create Young Readers: Early Literacy <br />Understand How to Find, Evaluate, and Use Information: Information Fluency<br />Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning<br />Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing, and Listening for Pleasure<br />Connect to the Online World: Public Internet Access<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  19. 19. Are reference services in decline?<br /><ul><li>Zabel noted that reference transactions began to decline in 1998 and have decreased every subsequent year.3
  20. 20. Banks and Pracht found an increased emphasis on developing Web-based reference services, a focus on the Internet, and a decreased number of questions asked at physical reference desks.4
  21. 21. Some librarians are afraid of this technology and worried about…</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  22. 22. The BIG QUESTION<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  23. 23. Will Emma and her offspring replace us?<br /><ul><li> Maybe, but not anytime soon
  24. 24. Many stories about computers turning on their creators – M5, HAL, etc.
  25. 25. Change can be difficult, even when that change is positive
  26. 26. Libraries constantly integrate new technology – remember card catalogs?
  27. 27. Replacing people is not our goal!</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  28. 28. Professional staff should do professional work! <br /> Chatbots can ease the burden of routine questions so libraries and library staff can make better use of their time.<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  29. 29. Such as…<br /><ul><li>Reference/research questions
  30. 30. Collection development
  31. 31. Creating new content: blogs, wikis, etc.
  32. 32. Community relations
  33. 33. Programming</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  34. 34. What can Emma do now?<br /><ul><li>Answer questions about the library and our services
  35. 35. Accept purchase requests and comments
  36. 36. Links to other pages in our website and other websites (BookLetters, BookPage, etc.)
  37. 37. Links to demos
  38. 38. Pass queries through to additional resources such as our catalog, Ohio Web Library, Wolfram|Alpha, WebBridge, etc.
  39. 39. Open “My Account”</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  40. 40. On the Horizon<br />In the works<br />Desktop Icon for library computers<br />Reader’s advisory<br />Improved prompting and direction of questions<br />Balance between immediate answers, linking to resources, and chatting<br />LSTA Grant for AI Library Access points throughout our community<br />Ready to deploy “bot in a box”<br />On the drawing board:<br />Direct link to patron account<br />Multiple resource linking (single query opening multiple resource links)<br />Voice recognition<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  41. 41. And she’s not alone…<br />Akron-Summit County Public Library<br />North Canton Public Library<br />Wadsworth Public Library<br />Westlake Porter Public Library<br />University of Nebraska<br />OVRP – Ohio Virtual Reference Project<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  42. 42. Questions<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  43. 43. References<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  44. 44. References<br />"Governor Ted Strickland's proposed budget cuts endanger future of public libraries." Sun News Wednesday, June 24, 2009: n. pag. Web. 13 Mar 2011. http://blog.cleveland.com/garfieldmaplesun/2009/06/governor_ted_stricklands_propo.html<br />Radford, Marie et al. “Taking the Library with You: VR Going Mobile. “ ALA Virtual Conference. 7 & 8 July 2010. Web. 5 October 2010. http://www.amandaclaypowers.com/2010/06/28/taking-the-library-with-you-vr-going-mobile/ <br />Banks, Julie, and Carl Pracht. "Reference Desk Staffing Trends: A Survey." Reference & User Services Quarterly 48.1 (2008): 54. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.oplin.org<br />Zabel, Diane. "Trends in Reference and Public Services Librarianship and the Role of RUSA Part One." Reference & User Services Quarterly 45.1 (2005): 7. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Mar. 2011 http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.oplin.org<br />Christansen, Anne. “A Trend from Germany: Library Chatbots in Digital Reference.” International Ticer School, Digital Libraries à la Carte Module 2: Technological Developments: Threats and Opportunities for libraries. Tilburg University. 28 August 2007. Web. 12 October 2010 http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/ticer/07carte/publicat/07christensen.pdf<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  45. 45. References<br />Zick, Laura. “The Work of Information Mediators: A Comparison of Librarians and Intelligent Software Agents.” First Monday. 5.5 (2000). Web. 13 October 2010 http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/748/657<br />“Virtual Meeting with Kathleen Improved Sales Productivity by 50%.” SitePal case study #15. Web. May 2008. http://www.sitepal.com/pdf/casestudy/loftusphotography.pdf<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  46. 46. References<br />External Image Credits:<br /><ul><li>http://baker-taylor.com/mascots.htm
  47. 47. http://www.girl.com.au/old-possums-book-of-practical-cats.htm
  48. 48. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Whittington_and_His_Cat
  49. 49. http://www.ironfrog.com/catsmap.html
  50. 50. http://victoriangardengourmet.blogspot.com
  51. 51. http://vintageephemera.blogspot.com
  52. 52. http://eastlakevictorian.blogspot.com
  53. 53. http://postcardive.blogspot.com
  54. 54. http://www.reuther.wayne.edu
  55. 55. http://newdeal.feri.org
  56. 56. http://digital.denverlibrary.org
  57. 57. http://pixaus.com
  58. 58. http://icanhascheezburger.com</li></ul>www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />
  59. 59. Contact Info<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />David Newyear<br />Adult Information Services Manager<br />Mentor Public Library<br />david.newyear@mentorpl.org<br />www.mentorpl.org<br />Visit Emma at<br />www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html<br />

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