What Librarians Need2 Know

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Instant Messaging in some Danish public libraries. Presentation at BOBCATSSS conference in Zadar January 2008

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What Librarians Need2 Know

  1. 1. What Librarians Need2Know Instant messaging and chat as reference services in public libraries Hans Jørn Nielsen - hjn@db.dk Marianne Hummelshøj - mhh@db.dk Royal School of Library and InformationScience, Denmark
  2. 2. Overview <ul><ul><li>Project and method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IM in libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation of Need2Know </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need2Know as ask-the-librarian-service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication and quality of answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need2Know and Library 2.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarians’ competences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New relationship between librarian and user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Future perspectives </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Project and method <ul><li>The Digital Librarian : a project of the libraries of Aalborg, Denmark </li></ul><ul><li>A part of this: testing of Instant Messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Our role: to follow the project, not to make a systematic evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Observations, interviews, perspectives from literature studies </li></ul>
  4. 4. IM in libraries <ul><li>From special software chat reference services to free popular IM services (MSN, ICQ, AIM etc) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IM popular among young users (Report 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instant Messaging primarily in university libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support of patrons’ searching in the library catalogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service to remote users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purpose of Need2Know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To find new users in their ”own” virtual environment </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The Need2Know test 1/3 <ul><li>The motivation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A decreasing number of users visit library web-sites, including ask-the-librarian services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The purpose of the Need2Know test: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish a new channel to the users, especially young users who are familiar with IM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Push staff to work with the new technology </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Need2Know test 2/3 <ul><li>The challenge was to attract new users on the MSN platform </li></ul><ul><li>A contract was made with Microsoft – which was extraordinary and innovative in a library context </li></ul><ul><li>Need2Know was exposed 15 million times in the test period (Spring 2006 – Spring 2007) </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Need2Know test 3/3 <ul><li>Questions of interest to the target group (young people at the age of 12-15 years) were provided as banner spots </li></ul><ul><li>About 700 teenagers became freqent users/or signed up by adding the service to their contacts within the test period </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of questions was related to school exercises followed by questions about sports and entertainment, including celebrities </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Need2Know as an ask-the-librarian service <ul><ul><li>A synchronous communication between the user and the librarian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No time for the traditional reference interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No time for evaluation of the suggested web resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate answer was a success factor in the test as it was crucial for the users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The quality of the answers was under pressure </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The ask-the-librarian/reference services on library web sites 1/2 <ul><ul><li>E-mail communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asynchronous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Request form based on the reference interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian has time for evaluation and selection of the appropriate resource </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The quality of the answers is in focus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The situation transfers the traditional reference to the virtual environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian is still the traditional expert </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The ask-the-librarian/reference services on library web sites 2/2 <ul><ul><li>Chat communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No proper reference interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No proper evaluation of resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less focus on the quality of the answers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The situation is similar to IM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chat service is accessed from library web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need2Know is exposed on MSN out of the library context </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Web 2.0 services <ul><li>Common to web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Platforms to produce, share and communicate ressources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual communities, culture of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Types of web 2.0 services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Storage, organization and sharing of individual ressources (Flickr, YouTube, del.icio.us etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Producing, organizing and sharing of common knowledge (wikis, Wikipedia) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogical communication, sharing and debating of information (blogs, IM) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Library 2.0 1/2 <ul><ul><li>“ the application of interactive, collaborative, and multi-media web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections” (Maness, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put the library everywhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ubiquitous web, the ubiquitous library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need2Know did that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian as a “buddy” and a “friend”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about quality? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the librarian export the brand of trustworthiness from the library to the virtual community of “buddies”? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Library 2/2 <ul><li>The librarians have to write, communicate and make services on several web-based platforms (among them IM) </li></ul><ul><li>” Out there” the librarian is in danger of loosing authority </li></ul><ul><li>” Out there” the librarian easily becomes an equal among equals </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To risk the authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To create knowledge sharing among users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But also to combine it with professionel knowledge of information resources </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The librarians’ competencies in an ask-the-librarian IM service <ul><ul><li>The new competencies: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The ability to work under pressure ”multitasking” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Online communication skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 competencies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The traditional competencies: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge about the reference interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge about searching information resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge about evaluation of information resources </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. New relationship between librarian and user <ul><ul><li>The librarian is no longer ”the expert” who provide the unique answer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The user and the librarian find the reliable and appropriate answer in cooperation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian’s role can be regarded either as consultant or as friend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian is challenged to be more open about his/her personality – limits of intimacy </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Future perspectives <ul><ul><ul><li>Development of proactive ask-the-librarian service on platforms using the new social technologies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Improvement of the librarians’ competencies within the new technologies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the changing relationship beween the user and the librarian </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the quality of the answers provided by the librarians as the traditional citeria of quality are challenged </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Hans Jørn Nielsen - hjn@db.dk Marianne Hummelshøj - mhh@db.dk Royal School of Library and InformationScience, Denmark <ul><ul><ul><li>Thank you  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More information in the paper: What Librarians Need2Know Instant messing and chat as reference service in public libraries http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/conferences/bobcatsss2008/nielsen-hans-joern-336/PDF/nielsen.pdf </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul></ul></ul>

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