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550 Final Paper
 

550 Final Paper

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  • For my final paper I decided to research to use of virtual reference services in libraries and their impact on the reference interview. I am interested in a career in reference librarianship, so I decided to learn about the technologies used to communicate with library users in a virtual context.
  • These statistics show that many Americans, especially the younger generation, is using the Internet as a source of communication.
  • Librarians need to learn how to transfer their FtF reference skills to the virtual context to reach people searching for information on the Internet and that are not able or prefer not to visit the librarian at the reference desk for help.
  • Stepping off point from which librarians can learn how to transfer their reference skills to a virtual context.
  • The following are a list of general benefits and drawbacks to incorporating chat widgets into a library’s virtual reference services.

550 Final Paper 550 Final Paper Presentation Transcript

  • Libraries: Reference Services in a Virtual Context Jennifer M. Pettigrew Professor Jose Sanchez LIS 17:610:550:02 December 10, 2009 [email_address]
  • Generations Online in 2009 , Pew Internet & American Life Project (p. 5) Population Internet Use Instant Messaging Ages 12 to 17 93 percent 68 percent Ages 18 and older 74 percent 38 percent
  • How do these statistics impact libraries?
  • What is VRS?
    • As defined by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) (2004), VRS is:
    • [… ] reference service initiated electronically, often in real-time, where patrons employ computers or other Internet technology to communicate with reference staff, without being physically present. (para. 1.1).
  • Common Types of VRS
    • E-mail address reference
    • Web form reference
    • Chat reference
    • Instant Messaging (IM)
    • Text Messaging
    • Embedded Chat Reference (aka: Chat Widgets)
  • What are Chat Widgets?
    • HTML code that is embedded into a Web page
    • Creates a chat window
    • Allows for synchronous communication
    • Similar to IM, but does not require the visitor to create IM accounts, buddy names, or passwords in order to initiate communication
    • Requires JavaScript or Flash installation
  • Types of Chat Widgets
    • AIM Wimzi Widget by AOL
    • Google Talk chatback badge by Google
    • Meebo Me by Meebo
    • Plugoo Widget by Plugoo
    • Minichat/Webchat 2 by Userplane
    • Pingbox by Yahoo! Messenger
  • Meebo Me AIM WIMZI
  • Plugoo Widget Pingbox
  • Benefits Drawbacks Live interaction with user (synchronous communication) Lack of visual and non-verbal cues to aid reference interaction Basic versions are Free! Only one person can log on to an account at one time Interact with multiple users in different chat windows (5 to 100 private interactions) Overwhelming/difficult to manage, esp. for individual librarian new to technology Customize widget (name, size, color) Does not automatically archive transcripts for future analysis or track usage patterns Displays status availability (online/offline) Cannot store messages if offline Users do not need to download IM software, create IM accounts, etc. (ease of use & convenience)
  • Rutgers, “Ask a Librarian”
  • Yale University Libraries, “Asklive”
  • California State University, Fullerton (CSUF)
    • What : implemented Meebo Me in spring of 2008 to supplement QuestionPoint’s chat reference service
    • Goal : increase VRS usage
    • Targeted User Population : commuter students familiar with using traditional IM
    • How :
      • librarians created individual accounts and embedded widgets into their Web pages
      • Used Libstats, an open source reference statistics program, to track statistics
      • Marketing Campaign
      • Staff Training
  • CSUF: Results Meebo Me QuestionPoint Number of Questions 833 531 Most Common Question Type Research Assistance (40.02 percent) N/A Transaction Time 10 minutes of less (83.19 percent) 20+ minutes (66.63 percent)
  • Library Staff Feedback :
    • 90 percent positively responded to Meebo Me
    • Concerns:
      • Difficulty multi-tasking
      • Prefer FtF reference transactions
      • Difficulty transferring users
      • Lost connections
      • Inadequate notification of a new user
    • New Pilot Study : Library31p
  • CSUF: Libraryh31p
  • Conclusions
    • VRS are important additions to library’s reference services because many people use Web-based technologies to find information and communicate.
    • IM & Chat Widgets can attract younger generations to use libraries’ services.
    • VRS pose new challenges as well as opportunities for librarians to broaden their reference skills.
  • Questions or Comments?
  • References About Adium. (Updated 2009). Retrieved December 9, 2009 from Adium Wiki: http://trac.adium.im/wiki/AboutAdium About Google Talk chatback badges. (2009). Google. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://www.google.com/support/talk/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=86171 About MSN Messenger. (2009). MSN-WindowsMessenger.com. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://www.msn- windowsmessenger.com/index.htm About Pidgin. (nd). Pidgin. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://pidgin.im/about/ About Plugoo. (2008). Plugoo. Retrieved December 8, 2009 from, http://www.plugoo.com/faq.php AIM. (2009). AOL LLC. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://dashboard.aim.com/aim AIM WIMZI Widget. (2007). AOL LLC. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://wimzi.aim.com/ AOL Mail. (nd). AOL LLC. Retrieved December 9, 2009 from, http://webmail.aol.com/Welcome.aspx?sitedomain=sns.webmail.aol.com&lang=en&locale=us&authLev=0&siteState=ver%3a4|r t%3aSTANDARD|at%3aSNS|ld%3awebmail.aol.com|uv%3aAOL|lc%3aen- us|mt%3aAOL|snt%3aScreenName|sid%3aa8bd558c-ec21-466c-86af-dec77efa8c90&offerId=mail-first-en-us&seamless=novl Arnold, J. & Kaske, N. (2005). Evaluating the Quality of a Chat Service. Libraries and the Academy, 5 (2), 177-193. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/v005/5.2arnold.html Bell, S.J. & DeVoe, K.M. (2008). Chat Widgets: Placing Your Reference Services at Your User’s Point(s) of Need. The Reference Librarian, 49 (1), 99-101. doi:10.1080/02763870802103936 Breitbach, W., Mallard, M., & Sage, R. (2009). Using Meembo’s embedded IM for academic reference services. Reference Services Review, 37 (1), 83-98. doi: 10.1108/00907320910935011 Cummings, J., Cummings, L., & Frederiksen. (2007). User Preferences in Reference Services: Virtual Reference and Academic Libraries. Libraries and the Academy, 7 (1), 81-96. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/v007/7.1cummings.html
    • References (continued)
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    • References (continued)
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    • References (continued)
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    • References (continued)
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    • Stephens, M. (2006). Instant Messaging. Library Technology Reports , 42 (4), 45-51. Retrieved from https://login.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=23317359&site=ehost-live
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    • References (continued)
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