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The Cat who Sat Downat the Reference Desk With apologies to  Lilian Jackson Braun David Newyear Adult Information Services Manager Mentor Public Library
How did we end up with a talking cat on our website? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
June 19, 2009 Governor Strickland proposes a cut to state funding for public libraries. “Proposed budget cuts announced by Gov. Ted Strickland potentially could strip 50 percent of the state's funding for public libraries in the next two years. Nearly 70 percent of the state's more than 250 public libraries rely solely on state funding. A reduction of this magnitude could mean many will close branches or reduce hours and services.”1 www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
MPL’s Response ,[object Object]
  July 2009: Initial tests with SitePal.
  September 2009: MPL Board of Trustees directs library administration to “seek and implement technology to make up for the budget shortfall.”www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
Emma makes her debut ,[object Object]
January 2010: SitePal artificial intelligence is enabled.     In February, Emma answers nearly 10,000 questions. ,[object Object],     SitePal to Pandorabots.        Emma is rebuilt using SuperBot 2.0 files. ,[object Object],www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
“Oh My Gosh! A talking cat!”  ,[object Object]
 “Will you marry me?”
  Teens especially like her.
  People from all over the world        ask her questions. ,[object Object]
  Her correct response rate for       library questions has increased from        12% to an average of 90%. www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
How does Emma fit into our reference department? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
What questions are we answering? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
What questions are other libraries answering? ,[object Object]
  There were relatively few hardcore research questions.  www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
Don’t you love us anymore? In the course of strategic planning, MPL’s community focus group ranked reference services next to last in their desired service responses. Create Young Readers: Early Literacy  Understand How to Find, Evaluate, and                                                                    Use Information: Information Fluency Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing, and                                                 Listening for Pleasure Connect to the Online World: Public Internet Access www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
Are reference services in decline? ,[object Object]
 Banks and Pracht found an increased emphasis on developing Web-based reference services, a focus on the Internet, and a decreased number of questions asked at physical reference desks.4
Some librarians are afraid of this technology and worried about…www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
The BIG QUESTION www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
Will Emma and her offspring replace us? ,[object Object]
Many stories about computers turning on their creators – M5, HAL, etc.

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The Cat Who Sat Down At The Reference Desk

  • 1. The Cat who Sat Downat the Reference Desk With apologies to Lilian Jackson Braun David Newyear Adult Information Services Manager Mentor Public Library
  • 2. How did we end up with a talking cat on our website? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 3. June 19, 2009 Governor Strickland proposes a cut to state funding for public libraries. “Proposed budget cuts announced by Gov. Ted Strickland potentially could strip 50 percent of the state's funding for public libraries in the next two years. Nearly 70 percent of the state's more than 250 public libraries rely solely on state funding. A reduction of this magnitude could mean many will close branches or reduce hours and services.”1 www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 4.
  • 5. July 2009: Initial tests with SitePal.
  • 6. September 2009: MPL Board of Trustees directs library administration to “seek and implement technology to make up for the budget shortfall.”www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. “Will you marry me?”
  • 11. Teens especially like her.
  • 12.
  • 13. Her correct response rate for library questions has increased from 12% to an average of 90%. www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 14. How does Emma fit into our reference department? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 15. What questions are we answering? www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 16.
  • 17. There were relatively few hardcore research questions. www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 18. Don’t you love us anymore? In the course of strategic planning, MPL’s community focus group ranked reference services next to last in their desired service responses. Create Young Readers: Early Literacy Understand How to Find, Evaluate, and Use Information: Information Fluency Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing, and Listening for Pleasure Connect to the Online World: Public Internet Access www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 19.
  • 20. Banks and Pracht found an increased emphasis on developing Web-based reference services, a focus on the Internet, and a decreased number of questions asked at physical reference desks.4
  • 21. Some librarians are afraid of this technology and worried about…www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 22. The BIG QUESTION www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 23.
  • 24. Many stories about computers turning on their creators – M5, HAL, etc.
  • 25. Change can be difficult, even when that change is positive
  • 26. Libraries constantly integrate new technology – remember card catalogs?
  • 27. Replacing people is not our goal!www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 28. Professional staff should do professional work! Chatbots can ease the burden of routine questions so libraries and library staff can make better use of their time. www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 29.
  • 31. Creating new content: blogs, wikis, etc.
  • 34.
  • 36. Links to other pages in our website and other websites (BookLetters, BookPage, etc.)
  • 38. Pass queries through to additional resources such as our catalog, Ohio Web Library, Wolfram|Alpha, WebBridge, etc.
  • 40. On the Horizon In the works Desktop Icon for library computers Reader’s advisory Improved prompting and direction of questions Balance between immediate answers, linking to resources, and chatting LSTA Grant for AI Library Access points throughout our community Ready to deploy “bot in a box” On the drawing board: Direct link to patron account Multiple resource linking (single query opening multiple resource links) Voice recognition www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 41. And she’s not alone… Akron-Summit County Public Library North Canton Public Library Wadsworth Public Library Westlake Porter Public Library University of Nebraska OVRP – Ohio Virtual Reference Project www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 44. References "Governor Ted Strickland's proposed budget cuts endanger future of public libraries." Sun News Wednesday, June 24, 2009: n. pag. Web. 13 Mar 2011. http://blog.cleveland.com/garfieldmaplesun/2009/06/governor_ted_stricklands_propo.html Radford, Marie et al. “Taking the Library with You: VR Going Mobile. “ ALA Virtual Conference. 7 & 8 July 2010. Web. 5 October 2010. http://www.amandaclaypowers.com/2010/06/28/taking-the-library-with-you-vr-going-mobile/ Banks, Julie, and Carl Pracht. "Reference Desk Staffing Trends: A Survey." Reference & User Services Quarterly 48.1 (2008): 54. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.oplin.org Zabel, Diane. "Trends in Reference and Public Services Librarianship and the Role of RUSA Part One." Reference & User Services Quarterly 45.1 (2005): 7. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Mar. 2011 http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.oplin.org Christansen, Anne. “A Trend from Germany: Library Chatbots in Digital Reference.” International Ticer School, Digital Libraries à la Carte Module 2: Technological Developments: Threats and Opportunities for libraries. Tilburg University. 28 August 2007. Web. 12 October 2010 http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/ticer/07carte/publicat/07christensen.pdf www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 45. References Zick, Laura. “The Work of Information Mediators: A Comparison of Librarians and Intelligent Software Agents.” First Monday. 5.5 (2000). Web. 13 October 2010 http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/748/657 “Virtual Meeting with Kathleen Improved Sales Productivity by 50%.” SitePal case study #15. Web. May 2008. http://www.sitepal.com/pdf/casestudy/loftusphotography.pdf www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html
  • 46.
  • 59. Contact Info www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html David Newyear Adult Information Services Manager Mentor Public Library david.newyear@mentorpl.org www.mentorpl.org Visit Emma at www.mentorpl.org/catbot.html