56 · Survey Results: Survey Questions and Responses
and Windows Messenger. Chat refers to vendor-based chat services like QuestionPoint,
LiveAssistance, Tutor.com, and LivePerson. The distinctions between chat and IM are blurring.
New products like MeeboMe serve as IM aggregators where communication can take place using a variety of IM
accounts or none at all. As a result, the words Chat and IM are often used interchangeably. With this in mind, the
responses were coded by what respondents said at face value.
Chat and IM
We began using chat in 1998 for inter-office communication. In 2003 we launched QuestionPoint for library
reference chat. We have now moved to AIM and Yahoo! and are looking at implementing Crafty Syntax in Fall
Virtual Reference and IM
There is a virtual reference chat and librarians use IM on a variety of resource pages.
Ask a Librarian: Chat 24/7
Began using library-wide online chat in 2000, Question Point software. Using Meebo and QuestionPoint’s
‘Qwidget’ for patrons to connect with librarians. Some unit libraries have embedded Meebo widgets in
desktops of public computers. Also individual librarians have chosen to embed Meebo widgets into course
Ask Us Now Chat Service
The Libraries used Live Assistance chat service from 2001 through 2006, when we started using Meebo and
commercial IM services exclusively. Live Assistance software supported a centralized, general chat service
that was available to Columbia University affiliates. Over the past few years, individual branch libraries have
started their own subject-related IM services using commercial software, like MSN, AIM or Google Talk. Our
Business Libraries’ chat service has been very successful.
Chat and IM
Used to provide reference services electronically.
Ask A Librarian (Chat and IM)
The service answers questions of library users during library hours.
We Use Chat and IM.
We use chat in our online reference service. Many librarians also have IM accounts that they promote to their
departments. For example, our Science and Engineering Library staff put it on their profiles.
Ask a UC Librarian (3 responses)
Ask a UC Librarian is the 10-campus collaborative chat reference service for the University of California
Libraries. It uses OCLC QuestionPoint. UCR Libraries subject specialist librarians also use IM as a way to
connect with students and faculty in their subject areas. Library staff use a variety of IM technologies (IM,
Skype, GoogleTalk, etc.) for inter-departmental and cross-campus communication.
BML Instant Message/UC-wide Chat
Answer user questions. Each UCSD library has their own IM account. UCSD also participates in a UC-wide
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