Category Archives: IM, Meebo & Chat Reference

Brenda Hearts Meebo

I do still see some libraries prohibiting the use of instant messaging (IM). One of the reasons libraries have prohibited it is because of the need to install the Instant Messaging client on each public access computer. That, however, is no longer required. There are web-based tools that allow you to use IM without having to install software. My personal favorite is Meebo. It allows users to access their AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ or Jabber accounts, without needing to install any software. And it’s free!

When you access Meebo, you will frequently see interesting notes from the developers. Today, for example, Elaine from Meebo posted about some statistics they have gathered about text customization. 75% of users just use the default black font when are chatting. If people do change the color of the text, what do you think is the most popular choice? Hot pink!


What story is this library telling?

One of my students calls one of the large, urban local libraries doing research for group projects. He encounters this intriguing story:

Librarian: Hello? ________ Public Library, may I help you?
LIS753 Student: Hello, I’m working on a project for my library school class and I have a question.
Librarian: Of course.
LIS753 Student: Does the library have plans to start an IM reference service?
Librarian: Oh God, No!

Wow, not even a “We have heard of libraries doing that but we haven’t looked into yet..” or anything! Shame on you, large, urban Illinois-located Public Library system!

On Using IM Reference

Nicole writes:

I just finished my first conversation with a reference staff member at Drexel via IM! I needed to find a required journal and was thrown off by the interface they provided me with. I went right to my comfort zone – InfoTrac because that’s what we have at work and I know how to use it – but turns out that even though it said my journal was in there – it wasn’t! So I opened up IM and asked the librarian. Now that I think back I guess a complaint would be that he/she didn’t provide a name so I can’t tell you who helped me – for now we’re going to assume it was a “she” – based on statistics.

Anyway, she walked me through each step in the process and when I hit a bump she came up with a way to help me. She also introduced me to ProQuest which is way prettier than InfoTrac! I found both of my journal articles and am ready to sit down and do some reading.

IM Reference is totally handy!! I love it!

Use this post as evidence for the discussions at your library about IM reference. :-)

It won’t be long before IM is the “phone” and Email is a delivery tool

why in the world doesn’t every library with an internet connection offer IM Reference? This includes my own library where I have introduced the concept to my staff on a couple occasions, but where we have still not taken steps to get it going. My sense is that some of them just are not ready to make this leap. Maybe it’s my fault for not pushing my people harder, hoping instead that one day someone will come to me with the same idea I had two years ago. However, if that doesn’t happen soon, I can’t see how we can continue to afford not doing it.

It won’t be long before IM is the “phone” and Email is a delivery tool (and it probably is already that way for a lot of our own patrons). Whether we like it or not we don’t get to choose how we communicate with our clientele- it’s their choice. Or maybe it would be better say that we do get to choose, but that they may not use the tools we hope they will. So, it’s up to us- do we want to be relevant or not?

My Life Online (Sony IM device)

So…are folks at Sony really getting the “This is where we live” Web 2.0 vibe or what?,71559-0.html

Hoping to tap into the growth of wireless networks across college campuses, other public spaces and within homes, Sony is introducing a new pocket-sized gadget for instant messaging and other internet-based communications.

The Sony mylo, slated for availability in September at a retail price of about $350, is a first-of-its-kind product that uses Wi-Fi networks, analysts say. It is not a cellular phone and thus doesn’t carry monthly service fees. And though it could handle web-based e-mail services, it doesn’t support corporate e-mail programs.

Instead, the slim, oblong-shaped gizmo that has a 2.4-inch display and slides open to expose a thumb keyboard is specifically geared toward young, mainstream consumers for messaging and internet-based calls. As long as a Wi-Fi network is accessible, a mylo user could chat away or browse the web.

The mylo — which stands for “my life online,” — will be marketed toward 18- to 24-year olds, the multitasking generation that relies heavily on instant messaging and is already viewing e-mail as passe, Sony said.

So, are we ready to IM with folks using these devices? Can the librarian have presence there?

Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries
Jack M. Maness
MLS, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries

Many might consider IM a Web 1.0 technology, as its inception predates the technology market crash and it often requires the downloading of software, whereas most 2.0 applications are wholly web-based. It is here considered 2.0 as it is consistent with the tenets of Library 2.0: it allows a user presence within the library web-presence; it allows collaboration between patrons and librarians; and it allows a more dynamic experience than the fundamentally static, created-then-consume nature of 1.0 services. It is also considered 2.0 as it is becoming a more web-based application, and the software used by chat reference services is usually much more robust that the simplistic IM applications that are so popular (they often allow co-browsing, file-sharing, screen-capturing, and data sharing and mining of previous transcripts).