SPEC Kit 304: Social Software in Libraries · 57
chat service for users at all campuses.
LivePerson has been used for years. In 2007, it was supplemented with Spark, AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, and
AskLive - IM Reference Service
Chat reference for users. Initially, QuestionPoint was used. Meebo implemented in 2007.
QuestionPoint (external use), Various (internal use)
For external communication with users, we use the QuestionPoint service that provides a chat client. They
have just released the Qwidget, a MeeboMe-like widget that we will be embedding in various Web pages.
A few librarians have added the MeeboMe widget into their subject pages, and those will also be moving
to Qwidget. For internal purposes, library staff use various popular IM applications/services to communicate
with one another. We also have IM running at the reference desks, so if a staff person needs clariﬁcation/
information from an “expert” not on the desk, it’s a quick way to get a question answered. Since many
librarians have laptops and roam with them, being in an ofﬁce isn’t always a given.
The Libraries is part of 24/7 Chat Assistance for research offered by AskColorado since 2004. Twitter has also
been used by some staff to communicate with one another.
We answer questions and help patrons via IM or anonymous chat; reference service is available through all
major instant messaging platforms.
Consortium: virtual reference services to college and university students in BC. 67 hours per week; 27
participating academic libraries (plus public libraries). Service was preceded by UBC Library service called
eHelp (2003–2005). Also, individual subject librarians use instant messaging for liaison services.
We currently support both IM and embedded Chat called Live Help. We also use MeeboMe widgets with the
IM. Staff also use IM to communicate with other staff although this is not an enterprise effort and is up to
each staff member to set up. Some staff have also set up IM accounts for users to contact them directly and
have embedded MeeboMe widgets on their subject pages.
Used for Internal Communication and Reference
We use QuestionPoint (OCLC) and Instant messenging for reference services. We are also using IM for internal
communication between staff members.
Between Librarians on Reference Desks, on Call Center Duty, etc.
IM went through different iterations for all reference work, a student test, etc. Currently we are redeveloping
a comprehensive Service Center that will include a chat option for patrons.
Using Meebo to provide the alternative of online chat reference during scheduled hours.