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I'm Not Here I'm There -- Using a Local Instant Messaging Service in Your Library
 

I'm Not Here I'm There -- Using a Local Instant Messaging Service in Your Library

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Presentation given on 3/17/2010 to the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College in Minnesota.

Presentation given on 3/17/2010 to the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College in Minnesota.

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  • Ths is not prezi, not sexy, not anything.
  • Used to think email was the kiler app.
  • Explai all of these things totally ad nasueum

I'm Not Here I'm There -- Using a Local Instant Messaging Service in Your Library I'm Not Here I'm There -- Using a Local Instant Messaging Service in Your Library Presentation Transcript

  • I'm Not Here I'm There: Using a Local Instant Messenger Server in your Library John Fink Digital Technologies Development Librarian McMaster University http://twitter.com/adr http://claimid.com/adr [email_address]
  • An apology...
  • Who am I?
  • Who are you?
  • Why did I do this?
  • A brief primer on our blended service.
    • I went to library school to do reference.
    • Then suddenly, I didn't have reference anymore
    • So I could...
    • ...hang around the reference desk stalking people
    • ...hide in the machine room, coming out occasionally to get coffee
    • ...despair of ever dealing with the public again.
  • Because if we're taken out of the public sphere, and especially out of reference, we will atrophy . We don't know what patrons are looking for, and we may not be up on the search methods, databases, etc that they're using.
  • When I was on the desk 10-20 hours a week, I felt energized.
  • But it's not just me...
    • Any library – any organization – will have problems with communication commensurate with its size.
    • Email, telephones, newsletters, forums – these are all ok, but nothing really replaces walking by someone's office and going ”Hey, look at this neat thing, you got five minutes?”
    • This is made way worse if you have multiple branches.
    • In other words...
    • ...we need synchronous as well as asynchronous communications methods.
    • When I was a young sysadmin, I felt that – maybe even more than http – email was the one service that had to be up.
    • Now I think that about IM services.
  • Tackling a social problem with a technical solution.
  • But back to reference
    • Libraries are changing blah blah blah
    • ...blah blah blah...
    • ...dedicated reference services by librarians will, by all measure, get less prevalent instead of more prevalent.
    • ...I'm a librarian, and I think this mostly sucks.
  • But why didn't we...
    • ...go with telephone referrals?
    • ...or set office hours?
    • ...or a hosted IM solution (libraryh3lp, etc)
    • ...or a ”consumer grade” IM solution (gtalk, AIM, etc.)
  • DO NOT WANT
  • NOOOOO
    • Now that we've got those two out of the way...
    • ...using standard IM is not ideal because
    • ...we want to foster a sense of community
    • ...we want to make it easy enough for all staff to take part
    • ...we want an in-house solution, for security and convenience.
    • ...we've heard horror stories about libraryh3lp.
  • Also...
    • We need some things that standard IM doesn't do...
    • ...or at least doesn't do easily .
    • ...like have all users join a single group
    • ...so they can see and be seen by everybody else
    • ...and maybe more importantly
    • … so they can all talk together.
    • Any solution had to be...
    • ...standards compliant.
    • ...usable with cross platform clients.
    • ...open source.
    • ...simple to implement.
    • ...simple to use.
    • ...local.
  • Openfire
  • Why Openfire?
    • Java!
    • ... Java?
    • XMPP/Jabber so...
    • ...works with Pidgin/Adium/<insert multiprotocol client here>
    • ...can run on commodity hardware.
    • ..no seriously Java!
  • But also!
    • Openfire can have everyone added to a buddy group automatically...
  • And hey presto!
    • When I say commodity hardware, I mean it.
    • ...original box a five year old Dell
    • ...one gb of RAM
    • ...teeny tiny hard drive.
    • …on its last legs.
  • A plea for the cloud...
  • So how do we use this?
    • ...well, originally, we did it so paraprofessionals at desk could, if they got an unanswerable question, send it around to people
    • ...but we've used it for
    • ...quick polling
    • ...general ”socializing”
    • ...system outages
    • ...probably lots of other stuff I don't see. And that's fine!
  • Some problems...
    • Adding accounts is annoying due to no centralized identity service (e.g. LDAP)
    • XMPP is a standard, but not everyone implements it well (problems exist in Adium that don't in Pidgin, even though both are libpurple based)
    • For it to really work well, you need outside net access.
    • This is not always trivial.
  • And ideally...
    • We'd like buy in at all levels.
    • Right now, due to our (now departed) access services head we've got most blended services paraprofessionals but...
    • ...usage is not compulsory.
    • ...so we us ually see the same 10-15 users.
    • ...and librarian involvement is not exactly where I'd like it.
  • Got time for a demo?
  • Any questions?