Karen Sobel, lorrieevans & Nina McHale<br />Auraria Library <br /> Denver, Colorado<br />Apples and Oranges: A Comparison ...
Proprietary Chat vs. IM <br />Definitions:<br />Proprietary chat software products/services:<br />Tutor.com, LivePerson, Q...
What We’ll Cover<br />Karen: user/provider perspectives and concerns<br />Student users<br />Staff providers<br />Lorrie: ...
Two User Populations<br />Students using the chat services<br />Library faculty and staff operating the services<br />		…e...
Students at Auraria<br />Auraria Library serves a student body of 40,000, comprised of three populations:<br />Community C...
Faculty and Staff Concerns<br />“But I’ve never used IM or other chat…”<br />“What if I can’t keep up with the students? W...
Staffing Questions<br />Should we provide chat/IM service the entire time the desk is staffed?<br />Is it appropriate to h...
AskColorado at Auraria Library<br />AskColorado began in 2003 as a regional and consortial program offering chat reference...
Auraria Library Participation in AskColorado<br />
AskColorado Use Statistics<br />
History of IM Chat at Auraria Library<br />2006/2007: started experimenting with chat boxes in class pages (Meebo)<br />Ve...
Interface Comparison<br />
Access/Integration into Library Web Space<br />
Policies and Behavior<br />
Psychological Aspects<br />
Display: AskColorado Login Screen<br />
AskColorado Chat Interface<br />
AskAuraria! Patron View: Chat On<br />
AskAuraria! Patron View: Chat Off<br />
AskAuraria! Librarian View: Pidgin Client<br />
Implementation: AskColorado<br />Tutor.com software needs to be installed with extensive configurations on staff workstati...
Implementation Process: AskAuraria!<br />Create account, queues, and operators on libraryh3lp server (libraryh3lp.com)<br ...
Technical Support<br />
The Benefits of Both<br />Including chat box on the Library’s home page provides immediate access to Auraria Library staff...
Questions? AskAuraria!<br />Karen Sobel: <br />Reference & Instruction Librarian<br />karen.sobel@ucdenver.edu<br />Lorrie...
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Apples and Oranges: A Comparison of Proprietary Chat Reference Software Versus Free Instant Messaging Services

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Concurrent session from the first (2008) Reference Renaissance conference in Denver. With Lorrie Evans and Karen Sobel.

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Apples and Oranges: A Comparison of Proprietary Chat Reference Software Versus Free Instant Messaging Services

  1. 1. Karen Sobel, lorrieevans & Nina McHale<br />Auraria Library <br /> Denver, Colorado<br />Apples and Oranges: A Comparison of Proprietary Chat Reference Software Versus Free Instant Messaging Services <br />
  2. 2. Proprietary Chat vs. IM <br />Definitions:<br />Proprietary chat software products/services:<br />Tutor.com, LivePerson, QuestionPoint, etc.<br />Regional consortia such as AskColorado and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities that typically use this software <br />Free IM products/services:<br />libraryh3lp, meebo, AIM, Yahoo!, etc.<br />Are they mutually exclusive?<br />Should libraries offer both?<br />
  3. 3. What We’ll Cover<br />Karen: user/provider perspectives and concerns<br />Student users<br />Staff providers<br />Lorrie: the public services perspective<br />History of both proprietary and IM services at Auraria<br />Detailed comparison of AskColorado and AskAuraria! (libraryh3lp)<br />Nina: the technical stuff<br />Display, implementation, tech support<br />
  4. 4. Two User Populations<br />Students using the chat services<br />Library faculty and staff operating the services<br /> …each with different needs and concerns<br />
  5. 5. Students at Auraria<br />Auraria Library serves a student body of 40,000, comprised of three populations:<br />Community College of Denver: two-year community college<br />Metropolitan State College of Denver: four-year college<br />University of Colorado Denver: university<br />Many students are from other nations and cultures<br />Mostly commuting population<br />Many low income<br />Split between traditional and non-traditional <br />Average student age: 28<br />
  6. 6. Faculty and Staff Concerns<br />“But I’ve never used IM or other chat…”<br />“What if I can’t keep up with the students? Will they get impatient with me?”<br />“Will we ever get prank chats or time wasters?”<br />“Would our patrons be comfortable with this?”<br />“We already have so much to do…”<br />
  7. 7. Staffing Questions<br />Should we provide chat/IM service the entire time the desk is staffed?<br />Is it appropriate to have paraprofessionals staff a chat/IM service?<br />Should the person on back-up provide chat/IM reference service?<br />What is the “triage” procedure when the desk/phone/chat are all busy?<br />
  8. 8. AskColorado at Auraria Library<br />AskColorado began in 2003 as a regional and consortial program offering chat reference service to Colorado residents.<br />With our large and diverse student population, we felt the need to provide a flexible form of reference service.<br />AskColorado would provide just that, with excellent support from the Colorado State Library<br />Proprietary software used is Tutor.com<br />
  9. 9. Auraria Library Participation in AskColorado<br />
  10. 10. AskColorado Use Statistics<br />
  11. 11. History of IM Chat at Auraria Library<br />2006/2007: started experimenting with chat boxes in class pages (Meebo)<br />Very little activity and participation<br />Spring 2008: Services Task Group recommended investigating possibilities for adding IM chat service<br />Summer 2008: Testing and use of IM from the Library’s home page, branded AskAuraria! (libraryh3lp)<br />Extremely active<br />16 chat sessions in the first 6 hours<br />
  12. 12. Interface Comparison<br />
  13. 13. Access/Integration into Library Web Space<br />
  14. 14. Policies and Behavior<br />
  15. 15. Psychological Aspects<br />
  16. 16. Display: AskColorado Login Screen<br />
  17. 17. AskColorado Chat Interface<br />
  18. 18. AskAuraria! Patron View: Chat On<br />
  19. 19. AskAuraria! Patron View: Chat Off<br />
  20. 20. AskAuraria! Librarian View: Pidgin Client<br />
  21. 21. Implementation: AskColorado<br />Tutor.com software needs to be installed with extensive configurations on staff workstations to support all features<br />Day-long training sessions are offered at library sites throughout the state through the State Library AskColorado coordinator <br />We heart Kris Johnson!<br />Minimum staffing commitment: 2-10 hours/week<br />Cost: $300-$1500 annually<br />Easy to integrate (link) to; no customization <br />
  22. 22. Implementation Process: AskAuraria!<br />Create account, queues, and operators on libraryh3lp server (libraryh3lp.com)<br />Integrate code into Library’s web site<br />Web Librarian set up account, queues, operators, and code on Library home page in one evening<br />Install Pidgin chat client on staff workstations<br />Training approach has been more piecemeal: “Hey, do you guys want to try this?”<br />Four staff members volunteered to monitor the queues initially; seven others have since volunteered to join<br />Internal training is being offered and planned<br />New web page templates will include chat on all pages<br />Free!!!<br />
  23. 23. Technical Support<br />
  24. 24. The Benefits of Both<br />Including chat box on the Library’s home page provides immediate access to Auraria Library staff<br />When a staff member is online, chat box with simple instructions is displayed<br />When no one is monitoring the queue, a list of all other reference options is displayed<br />For the most part, the pros and cons of both kinds of chat service are cancelled out when implementing both<br />
  25. 25. Questions? AskAuraria!<br />Karen Sobel: <br />Reference & Instruction Librarian<br />karen.sobel@ucdenver.edu<br />Lorrie Evans: <br />Head of Library Instruction<br />lorrie.evans@ucdenver.edu<br />Nina McHale:<br />Web Librarian<br />nina.mchale@ucdenver.edu<br />Slides available: http://library.auraria.edu/~nmchale/presentations/refren2008/<br />

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