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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Hot New Communication Tools for Reference

Marydee Ojala @ 12:01 pm

We’re into the second presentation, called Hot New Communication Tools for Reference. Scott Pfitzinger, Butler University, gave an overview of blogs and wikis. Interesting that so many people were familiar with blogs, even were bloggers themselves, but not so familiar with wikis. Scott said he did a session last May with Michael Stephens, St. Joseph County Public Library, and Michael said he hadn’t seen libraries setting up wikis. So Scott went back to his library and started a reference wiki. Way to go!

Now Michael is discussing instant messaging (IM) and Jybe. What about Google Talk? It’s hot, but not quite there yet. He’s done a straw poll of people’s use of IM. It seems to be growing. More people IM than the last time he did this poll, which was about a year ago (I think that was an IOLUG meeting).

It’s important, says Michael, to have conversations both internally and with library users. Also understand the technology. It’s good for your “away” message not to say “I’m in a mind-numbing meeting.” Just say “I’m in a meeting.” Put your IM name on your business cards. Have meetings on IM so people don’t have to travel.

Video IMing. Puts a face on librarian.

On to Jybe. Web plug in co-browsing. Join Your Browser with Everyone. Replaces huge, bloated virtual reference software. You download it once and invite people to join. Can we ask library patrons to download software? Michael thinks yes. Now he’s talking about Skype. Now he’s on to the new version of Jybe which doesn’t work on a Mac. Jybe is a plugin so it doesn’t capture the conversation. Works well with databases to show off campus students how to search. Can co-browse the databases. What happens with licensing? Michael doesn’t know. Not providing persistent access so maybe it’s OK.

It’s about extending conversations internally and externally. Remain relevant to those “born with a chip.” The tools let you stay within your budget.

Michael’s going to upload this presentation to Tame the Web in a few hours.

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