Rob Coers writes:
I am happy to announce to you that the Dutch public libraries now also offer a chat reference service to the audiences. Not via IM, but via an application by a small Dutch company, called Chatfone. Behind the scenes there is a team of about 30 librarians who also work as al@din searchers, the nation-wide QnA service, running on OCLC’s QuestionPoint.
In the last months of 2006, 22 public libraries tested several ways of chat reference. We tried:
2. the big IM’s – MSN, GTalk, Yahoo, monitored with Meebo
3. QuestionPoint Chat
Chatfone has been appreciated most by the librarians. It also offers ways to keep statistics and other services like e-mail transcript and user surveys. The report of this project (in Dutch) can be downloaded from : http://www.robcoers.nl/downloads/im-in-al-din/3.html
Unfortunately we dont have enough staff to be available 24/7 , but during the week people can ask questions monday-friday from 09-17 hrs and tuesday and friday also from 18-20.
Besides these hours, occasionaly logged in librarians can be caught in the wild, on weird hours
When no librarian is available for the servie, the button redirects to the traditional al@din service. Otherwise you see a “Chat met al@din” button.
Well done Dutch Librarians! Thanks for writing Rob.