This is huge and should not be ignored. Read Sarah’s excellent overview of South Eastern Louisiana University’s SMS Reference project.
Two Ultra-HOT bits of many:
He also noted that an ongoing issue is trying to limit your response to 160 characters. You can send the response in multiple messages, but librarians tend to try their hardest to fit it into one. The system auto-abbreviates some words (for-4, too-2).
What an excellent point and a big vote for librarians to really “get” the vernacular of chat. We can’t ignore it much longer if we are to be relevant to future SMS users in all of our libraries. Have a cell phone that can SMS? Find an SMS buddy at your library and practice!
This also speaks to one of our themes from CPL: The more we attempt to be perfect in everything we do (how many librarians do you know that wordsmith a simple proposal until everyone has lost sight of the prooject and/or timeline for the sake of grammar, spelling and the like), the more we fall behind. Do you think anyone sending a question via SMS would care there was a typo or abbreviated text?
R U crazy?
The system keeps track of the time and number of transactions, but not the actual transcripts of messages. [I think this is a good thing?I don?t want any records, and if the system automatically doesn?t keep them, all the better].
Students are asking a wide range of questions, but mostly short simple factual questions. He noted that they never get short simple questions through e-mail, phone, or web-based chat. As such, he believes they?re tapping whole new user needs with this service.
Oh LiB, thank you for this insight and your incredible blog!