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TTYL IRL :) : Strategies and Tools for Remote Library Teams
Erin White, VCU Libraries and Susan Teague-Rector, NCSU Libraries
1 Abstract Collaboration Toolbox
In the current economic climate, libraries can bene t from o ering Tool Rating How It Works Cost Pros/Cons
employees the option to telecommute. Virginia Commonwealth University
TeamApart Web conferencing tool used to conduct online meetings. Free Excellent tool for video conferencing and sharing
(VCU) Libraries Web team experimented with remote work by allowing Web [http://teamapart.com] O ers document sharing and online whiteboard. documents. Occasional video streaming delays.
librarians to work from home part-time. The team tested several tools and 2-way chat only.
methods to promote virtual communication and collaboration. Google Talk Instant messaging tool. Google recently introduced Free Excellent instant messaging tool. Video and voice
[http://www.google.com/talk] video and voice-plug-in. chat were extremely di cult to use over VPN. 2-way
2 Problem Statement Skype Online calling, chat, screen sharing and conferencing Skype-to-skype calls, video calls, and conference Excellent video and audio chat tool, ability to share
[http://www.skype.com] tool. As of May, supports video chat with calls are free. screens. Prohibited by University computing
more than 2 people. due to peer-to-peer technology.
What tools and strategies do you use to manage a small team Dimdim Web conferencing tool. Whiteboard and le sharing Free for small meetings; $25/month for use with Experienced a number of technical issues with video
[http://www.dimdim.com] available. more participants. streaming.
that is working on multiple projects from multiple locations?
Oovoo Video chat and video calling with one or more persons. 2-way chat is free; Calls with more than 2 people Di cult to set up. No success with video calling and
[http://www.oovoo.com] are 10 cents per minute per participant. chat at the same time. A number of technical issues.
Small team, multiple locations:
• Web Team at a large public university library Other Modes of Communication
• 3.5 FTE: manager, systems administrator,
developer, part-time programmer 3 What Worked 4 Challenges
• Manager relocated and worked
80% o -site • The nature of Web work • Slower resolution of some issues
• Our work can be done from anywhere. • Better, faster to hash out small items in person
• All you need is a computer and a stable internet connection. • Technology/networking woes
Multiple projects: • Familiarity with non-traditional collaboration • Not much institutional support for VPN or o -campus computing in general
• As Web workers, we found moving to online communication was an • Surprisingly di cult to nd videoconferencing software that worked well
• Major web site redesign easy and natural transition.
• Ongoing conversion of legacy applications from ColdFusion to PHP • Artifacts for later use that can help communication 5 Lessons Learned
• Server virtualization projects • Shared workspaces and drawings archived on 3rd party sites
• Daily maintenance of sites and systems • Chat transcripts • Daily online stand-up meetings help each person feel connected
• Smaller ad-hoc projects • Shared documents on Google • If all else fails, pick up the phone
• Ambient availability through chat • Give up on spelling correctly in chat - getting the idea across is what’s important
• Regular in-person meetings • Use emoticons
• Daily 10-minute virtual stand-up meetings to touch base • There’s no such thing as overcommunication
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions