CIL 2008: Virtual Reference Services

Virtual Reference:  Endless Possibilties

University of Waterloo
wanted to chat with minimal headaches

only staff chat from 12-4
that’s rather limited
University of Western Ontario now does it about 12 hours a day

Meebome has “non-life-threatening” issues
it requires flash
unfotunately, the univ of western ontario library machines does not have flash
patron won’t stand still

chats are anonymous with meebo

hab.la looks good.  keeps the chat box on top of the url that you push them
only 5 hab.la widgets will display simultaneously.  so not a viable solution for the OPAC
they are thinking about a pay option.

LibraryH3lp
http://libraryh3lp.blogspot.com
runs on javascript
does multiple monitors
currently lacking a wysiwyg
looking to make a fee-based version

there is no one-size fits all solution.

we need to stay flexible.  make the service important, not the technolog.

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Virtual Reading Rooms

Derik Badman

We get all these journals, who is looking at them?

Browsing electronic journals is not fun.

RSS is good for getting information out.
We need to do a RSS class for notifications.

used Yahoo Pipes to mashup the RSS feeds.
The end result is one RSS feed for multiple RSS feeds from journal.
FeedBurner offers an email list for those who don’t use RSS.

Grazr
allows for one page of RSS feeds without subscribing

Derik found the library literature feed very useful.  Did not look at library literature before.  Now he is able to browse.

has about 20-30 subscribers to his library literature feed.  he’s not even sure it got out there.

Problems:  It’s a lot of work.  takes a lot of time to collect the rss feeds and to mash them up.

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