Text messaging is limited to 160 characters per message, restricting utility to short reference communications. (Article, implementation at Sims Memorial Library at Southeastern Louisiana Univ.)
Does the student on the other side of the chat understand that role? Are they going to be receptive to instruction?
It’s hard to tell when a student is interested in getting instruction. Most current studies show that instruction can be offered through IM reference, can be effective and that students are receptive to it.
Informal Language, avoiding robotic instruction<br />“Hi!” vs. “Hello”<br />“I suggest you try Eric” vs. “Select a periodical index”<br />“Let’s start with a subject search in the catalog..” vs. “Consult our catalog…”<br />
Misspelling and lower case letters<br /><ul><li> Don’t call patron on their own misspelling, or at least do so tactfully.
Lower case typing is faster, which allows for quicker transaction time during chat.</li></li></ul><li>Don’t be overly interrogative<br />“Is this for an undergrad or grad class?” <br />“Do you need a scholarly article, or just any kind of magazine article?”<br /> “What kind of information?”<br />“How will you be using this information?”<br />
Update them regularly<br /><ul><li> Preformatted questions (scripts) for ease and speed while you search.
Exiting the chat</li></li></ul><li>Getting Used to Multiple Dialogues<br /><ul><li> Don’t always have to wait for a response before sending another question or piece of information.</li></ul>Patron: Everytime I try to print my article only the first page prints. Help!!!<br />Librarian: Hi, there! Are you getting the article from a library database or the internet?<br />Patron: The text is also way small. <br />Librarian: Yeesh, that is frustrating. <br />Patron: From the database called JSTOR<br />Librarian: Is it in PDF format?<br />Patron: It is! I’ve tried everything!<br />
“It borders on the fatuous to propose that technology can be empolyed to provide a satisfactory alternative to nuances of the interaction between librarian and user.” (M. Gorman)<br />Instruction<br />
How can I convey complex instruction through a chat/SMS interface? <br />
The transition of reference librarian from question answerer to librarian as teacher/learning facilitator.<br />Desai, Christina and Stephanie J. Graves. Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what’s happening?. 2006.<br />
Confusion between librarians as contentexperts versus process experts.<br />Lankes, David. New Concepts in Digital Reference. 2009<br />
Modeling: Here’s the information you need and here’s how I got it.<br />Resource suggestion<br />Terms suggestion<br />Leading: step-by-step<br />Lessons: library terminology (peer review)<br />
Instructional Techniques<br />Desai, Christina and Stephanie J. Graves. Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what’s happening?<br />
Should the librarian provide instruction when the patron hasn’t asked for it?<br />
Leading: Start by giving them a carrot<br />Provide a brief immediate answer, then introduce instruction with a follow-up.<br />Librarian: Here’s a book on creative learning in early childhood. CREATIVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOL http://bit.ly/9n5ajG <br />Patron: Ok, thanks I’ll take a look.<br />Librarian: To find more, I would recommend browsing the other books on the shelf next to it. <br />Librarian: You can also do a keyword search in our online catalog using “creative learning”<br />Patron: How do I get to the online catalog ?<br />
Short step-by-step instruction<br />Don’t overwhelm them with too much info. Pause to ask them if they have received a page you pushed or have located a box on the page, etc.<br />Librarian: Have you logged into Academic Search Complete?<br />Patron: No, not yet.<br />Patron: k, I’m there.<br />Librarian: Ok, now type in your search terms…<br />Librarian: You might want to try something like <br />Librarian: “juvenile diabetes” and nutrition<br />Librarian: Be sure to include the quotes around juvenile diabetes, it will really help the search.<br />Librarian: Then select the box next to where it says Full Text. Now you’re ready to search!<br />Librarian: How did that work for you?<br />
On the spot screencast<br />http://www.screentoaster.com<br />
Desai, Christina M., and Stephanie J. Graves. "Instruction via Instant Messaging reference: what's happening." electronic Library 24, no. 24 (2006): 174-189. http://proquest.umi.com (accessed June 15, 2010).<br />Fagan, Jody Condit, and Christina M. Desai. "Communication Strategies for Instant Messaging and Chat Reference Services." The Reference Librarian 38, no. 79 (2003): 121-155.<br />Hill, J.B., Cherie Madarash Hill, and Dayne Sherman. "Text Messaging in an Academic Library: Integrating SMS into Digital Reference." The Reference Librarian 47, no. 97 (2007): 17-29.<br />Lankes, David. "Scapes Video." Virtual Dave...Real Blog.. http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/blog/?p=460 (accessed June 15, 2010).<br />Lankes, R. David. New Concepts in Digital Reference (Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval & Services). San Rafael: Morgan And Claypool Publishers, 2009.<br />
Photo Credit <br />Slide 1: Image courtesy of isolethetv on Flickr<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/519756811/<br />