September 29, 2005

Plugged in and iPod'ed Up

From Beatrice at edifice ref comes this gem of a post, looking at the start of a new semester at Providence College Phillips Memorial Library :

"Just coming up for a bit of air after 3 solid weeks of back-to-school activities. This is my first full “fall” semester and it has been a doozy. I haven’t done a tally, but I have to believe the early indicators that our new IM service is a big hit. We launched on the first day of classes, sent campus-wide emails the following week, and we’re now receiving several IMs a day. Lot of reserves queries, messages for full-text assistance, longish reference questions and research appointment requests. I have also personally witnessed my share of “hi library” pulse checking IMs.

The new kids are sooooooo plugged in. They come to the library in search of usb ports to download the papers stored on their Ipods. They are sprawled all over the library with their own laptops, wander through the reference collection, and more importantly, ask lots of questions about our services.

The staff here also seems to be keen on IM, which is great. I won’t say we’re fighting over them, but everyone is eager to answer them. We are also dealing with privacy issues (storage, chat cleansing, etc.) and different levels of comfort using IM. I created two FAQ’s—one for patrons and one for us. It’s a process, and all of the anecdotal feedback I am receiving will be very useful for my November talk to public librarians about launching an IM service."

Hey Beatrice..can we see those FAQ's?

For everyone: This speaks to me. What more proof do we need that our young users are plugged in, turned on to the wired ways of collaboration and communication and comfortable using IM to ask questions at the library. Are we comfortable? Can we handle this "conversation?"

If you haven't subbed to edifice ref, do so now!

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September 19, 2005

Putting a Face on with IM

Christina has a great post about IM, some recent research and setting expectations here:

Good stuff:

And I was thinking that besides the fact that we’re afraid we’ll scare the customer away… we still need to properly negotiate the question if we’re going to successfully use this service with people we don’t know. The point is that we’re in an unequal power relationship: we have the info the customer needs (customers aren’t known to appreciate the fact that we need to keep ref stats to justify our existence). What’s preventing the IM reference staff from asking more questions? Is it wanting to be cool? Not enough time (or perception that if they’re not quick enough the customer will run away)? As the customer vanishes into the ether, do we know with IM that we’ve successfully answered their question? (yes there are studies by Kaske, Hernon, and others on VR… but how about IM where stats aren’t uniformly kept, and questions are answered from the desk—not by a dedicated staffer.) Maybe we need to be more careful in setting expectations from IM reference (as some libraries have done)

Posted by Michael at 03:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Alexandrian Launches IM Reference

What a nice post that illustrates so much of what we must do to insure an effcetive rollout of such a service:

"I updated our website, updated our blog, and began talking up the service with a few teens, who immediately indicated that it was really cool, and they would totally use it."

A PowerPoint is included as well.

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August 10, 2005

An IM Conversation about IM and the fact that our work here is not yet done

Here's the text of a chat I had a couple of days ago. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. This person was IMing from Europe.

Cool Librarian in Europe: Hi want just to tell you I appreciate TTW a lot from here in ______
MS: greetings from the USA!
CLIE: I particularly follow the IM for VR issue, we're very very far from this in here. i am fascinated by it
MS: IM & jybe could be very powerful
CLIE: I try to promote IM when I teach students hox to use e-resources, but it's not easy
MS: wow i would think they would be into IM
CLIE: I work for an academic library, and the students are very attached to paper, and often reluctant to use technology
MS:oh yes i understand that but IM could serve a purpose for sure
CLIE:The problem is that there is no policy for that, it's not considered as a service - and my new director doesn't even know what it is
CLIE:much work to do
MS: give the director some articles (shamelessy offering "IM Me" Schmidt & Stephens 2005)
CLIE: Not to mention blogs, RSS, and the like...
CLIE:and that's the case of many library directors
CLIE: I deal with those who have heard about blogs or rss or wikis think it's a gadget. But no matter, we're a small group of librarians trying to make things move forwards, with our blog but we do it in parallel of our libraries. We try to make a difference
MS: Rock on!

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August 05, 2005

IM at Alexandrian (A New Twist on an Old Favorite)

Alexandrian PL IMMarin County PL IMSJCPL IM

Above: Three examples of some HOT PL IM Pages..there are many others... take a look and be inspired!

Hooray for Alexandrian PL -- going live with IM reference on August 15. They've created an IM reference page similar to some other libraries -- and one I believe SJCPL orginated (Thanks Maire!) What rocks my world is the progression here. More information about the service and how the library handles questions.

Just a couple of things to note before you get started...

Any screen names that send IMs containing obscene language or that are harassing will be blocked.
We are unable to answer lengthy research questions via IM - for example, a complicated genealogical research question. We are also unable to provide advice on questions of a medical, tax, or legal nature.
IM Reference is part of our regular reference service, which includes in-person and telephone reference services. Sometimes we might be answering all kinds of questions at the same time, so please be patient.

Well Done APL!

Posted by Michael at 07:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Excellent IM Training Materials via Sherri!

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June 30, 2005

Video Chat from the Cottage

iChat AV rules! Keeping in touch with Maire at SJCPL is yet another benefit of IM!

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June 22, 2005


"So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me - SOS" ABBA

Nice IM tale: Some managers were meeting at my library, including my colleague and friend Julie who uses her laptop for note taking and looking up documents as needed for meetings (hint hint to librarians who have laptops but never move them from their desks!). Julie also had her IM app open. From three floors above came an IM from the person working her desk in Sights and Sounds: "SOS." It seems there was a little equipment crisis for a meeting room. Julie was able to solve it from the meeting. No fuss. No running about.

Posted by Michael at 05:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

Hollywood IMs

Via Wired and so in sync with "Entourage" on HBO:,1284,67789,00.html

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June 11, 2005

Great Survey Stats for IM, VR and Podcasting

Via Sherri, who totally gets it!

Chad F. Boeninger reports on a survey of students! Take a look...there's good data and loads of food for thought. Working with Purdue has me thinking about serving students in the acedemic setting. All the Millennial stuff...all the gamer stuff apllies here as well.

Posted by Michael at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

May 09, 2005

Library Using Jybe for VR

Brian from Jybe reports:

I wanted to point you the University of Northern Illinois and this link - They are using JYBE for VR at their library via IE - went live this week. Basically, if you want help, you install JYBE and then click the link to join a session - that link will automatically connect them with a librarian.

Wowza.. take a look...

Posted by Michael at 07:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2005

More IM Training Materials

This INCREDIBLE handout was created by SJCPL's own Kathryn Slott - who ROCKS! This one is for FIRE, a MAC OS X IM app, but you could adapt it for almost any IM client.

Note the incredible attention to the Reference Interview!

Posted by Michael at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IM Survey Results

Sherri reports on her survey. It's fascinating!


3) Have you ever used the UNLV Libraries Chat Reference Service?

And now for the interesting stuff . . . a mere 11.3% (c=21) of respondents reported that they have used the UNLV Libraries chat reference service in the past. That leaves a whopping 88.7% (c=165) of IMers who responded out in the (virtual) cold.

Talk about ROI! That is not a very good one at all. Some folks, likje me, might even say "CUT THE CORD!" with such low numbers. Is it promotion? Bad software? General disinterest?

Library administrators take note: this is not an effective use of resources!

4) If the service were offered, would you use Instant Messaging to ask a librarian for research help?

Next, the topsey turvy effect: 87.5% (c=161) responded that if offered, they *would* use instant messaging to get help from the library, while 12.5% (c=23) indicated that they would not. Almost exactly the same percentage who indicated that they haven't used the existing chat reference service said they would use IM.

Wowza. This speaks volumes. Meet your students where they are!

Read her post. It's HOT stuff!

I'm going forward with the IM effort, and expect to roll out by the end of the month. Next up: implementation, staff training, and creation of website documentation to alert users of the change in service.

Sherri - What a great post. Keep us informed!

Posted by Michael at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 30, 2005

Beatrice's IM Reading List

I also read an opinion piece on page 30 of the April issue of American Libraries. In "Eeewww! My Patron Tried to Pick Me Up", Susan Braxton, a science reference librarian at Illinois State's Milner Library, recounts a session of recreational chatting (the what-are-you-wearing variety) initiated by a patron. Braxton also discusses how to prepare for this inevitable type of conversation as you dabble in IM.

Posted by Michael at 04:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Jybe Ho

Nice post about Jybe from Stephen, who alerted me that my Trackback is not working. :-(

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April 25, 2005

SMS Reference at SLU

I apoligize if this made the rounds back in March -- maybe because I was at CIL I totally missed it! But this is intriguing. I wonder what their numbers are? How the librarians feel about it? And what the student perception of the library might be because of this innovative service?


Take a look at their info page for the service:

Posted by Michael at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2005

UK Study: Messages Lower IQ

CNN piece about a study out of the UK that finds folks are too distracted by email, messaging, etc. Bit that resonated the most with me:

"Companies should encourage a more balanced and appropriate way of working."

Heck yeah! I need to ponder the implications here of the IQ stuff, but here's another vote for balance in our library and information lives. Handle only the information you are comfortable with and know when to unplug.

With that, dear readers, I am UNPLUGGING for the weekend.

Posted by Michael at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IM Survey Responses at schwagbag

I am loving this!

A respondent says:

"Kudos to linking to the Instant Messaging deifition in the Wikipedia from the Library's website. It's nice to know that UNLV's librarians are up-to-date on things such as the Wikipedia. The idea of Instant Messaging for help sounds wonderful. If it isn't a nuisance and is setup that a librarian at the help desk runs AIM in the background as she/he helps in-person patrons and then additionally helps online patrons, this could become a successful way to reach and help students."

Read all about it...

Posted by Michael at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2005

April 19, 2005

Quotable Quotes: IM

For a generation raised with the Internet, instantaneous access to both information and the social networks for which that information is relevant is the norm. Earlier generations see instant messenging (or even cell phones) as a distraction, wondering how anyone can get work done with them. For the current generation, the opposite seems to be true: it's hard to imagine getting any work done without those tools.

Meet the Gamers
By Kurt Squire & Constance Steinkuehler -- Library Journal 4/15/2005

Posted by Michael at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comment About the Reference Interview & IM

Christina writes about the IM Training Module:

Good stuff-- however, I don't see where you reinforce good reference interview behaviors. I've seen staff who are very good at conducting f2f reference completely forget everything when they start VR, and I would expect the same from IM. Even in the transcripts I've seen from libraries doing IM reference I haven't seen probing and follow up questions as much as I would like. You can still be informal and "cool" and make sure you have the right question.
How do you know that you're above the 55%?

Very true! The Reference Interview is incredibly important no matter what medium you do your reference work in. I taught a series of workshops in 2003 called "The Reference Interview in the 21st Century" and the Handout version of the PPT slides are here.

I need to look at this -- it's been a few months. Maybe we need another component for this Module on Reference interviewing. (striking isn't it, how this training has GROWN since this discussion began...)

Posted by Michael at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

IM Security at Technobiblio

One of my favorite blogs is Technobiblio. Here's a great IM-related post from Chris:

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April 17, 2005

IM Interactions

I had a sit down last week with a librarian working closely on an IM Reference project. I asked what kind of IM interactions they get at their library. She had this list, which may be similar to what other libraries have encountered as they begin projects like this.

* Kids seeing if someone is actually "there"

* A few questions of the "Are you hot?" variety

* A lot of informational questions about the library: hours, etc

* Some gosh darn spiffy* reference questions

I think it's important for training to understand we may get a few questions like the first couple. It does not mean that all IM is all about "What are you wearing?" but that we can handle those as well:

Response: "A sensible shirt and trousers, but the more important question is , can I help you with a question about the library today?"

TTW's IM Category

Sherri's VR Woes


Posted by Michael at 08:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sherri's IM Survey

Via an email from Stephen Abram: (Thanks!)

Now it's still very early, and the survey has only been up for 2 days (20 responses so far), but I'm noticing a peculiar trend in the responses: 90% of respondents currently use IM, and 90% have never used the UNLV Chat Reference service. The next question asks "if the service were offered, would you use Instant Messaging to ask a librarian for research help?" Again, 90% responded 'yes.'

This is good stuff to ponder. Sherri does mention the VR service has not been promoted too much, which happens a lot. But her point speaks volumes: maybe IM is better because it supports " the 'embedded' service concept: provide help for people where and when they use it most." Yup... I'd be looking very closely at the ROI of that VR service...

"IM is looking better and better all the time."

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April 15, 2005

Updated IM Training Materials

IMAOLScreenName.ppt: A Handout for getting ScreenNames

Posted by Michael at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005

Training IM: A Ready To Go Module

Training IM

Last week I did some IM Training for some new and seasoned staff who will be working at SJCPL Service areas that use IM (Reference and AV) to answer questions. It was a good exercise and now I see more clearly how to set up this type of training. I wanted them to get screenames first, then chat with each other and then tackle some exercises. I did all the things a good trainer should do: checked my equipment, tested the computers and preppeed the room and handouts.

What I didn't count on was having issue with logging in to iChat (we were on Macs, thank you very much) with a new screename. I tested it on a random training room computer and it worked for me. In the class - it didn't. No one could log in.

How I will do it differently: Next time, I want all 20 macs pre-configured with iChat and Fire (a multi client chat app for OS X) and each to have a pre-configured screen name: SJCPLTrain1, SJCPLTrain2, SJCPLTrain3, etc.

That way, we don't spend the time signing up and logging in. I want to save that for other training times, maybe as Advanced IM. Along with the IM Reference initiative here, we have a thriving community of IMing staff who communicate and work better because of this software. It does my heart good, I said to my Assistant Director this afternoon, to meet with our Staff Development Librarian and hear her plans to mount an IM directory on the intranet and encourage staff to IM her.

Anyway, here are my training documents. Maybe some of you can use them.

PPT file used as a handout for IM Training. CUSTOMIZE to your library and your IM Client

Trainer's Outline & Objectives

Sample questions. Give to half of your students

Sample questions. Give to other half of your students

UPDATE: IMAOLScreenName.ppt: A Handout for getting ScreeNames

Posted by Michael at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another IMing Library (A Shifted Library! Right, Jenny?)

From colleague and workshop participant Stephen Boggs, who is director of New Carlisle Public Library in New Carlisle, IN (at the far west reaches of my county), we get a report of what he's doing at his library since the "Reinventing Libraries Workshop" This rocks my world.

So far I have set-up three additional IM accounts for the library. Information about or screen names is posted on our main web page @

The accounts were fairly easy to establish, though I have switched to a program called PSI to handle all three accounts instead of managing three different IM programs at once. I'm hoping that kids/adults will see that we are trying to be as approchable as possible, especially since it simply takes just a few clicks to ask a question. I am also going to try to have the staff sign up for IM accounts for quickie questions and general communication instead of using the intercom or waiting for an e-mail reply. It's easy to do, but people don't care to "have their cheese moved," so I need to remember to be patient and supportive when introducing things like this to the staff.

I have also started a blog. It is located at The cool thing about it is that I can just use my normal e-mail to post to it. Some ask why do both a blog and a website? Simple. They are two different things. The blog is strictly a list and nothing more, whereas the website is much more structured. I must admit that as I was browsing some library related blogs I was quite put off by what the ALA President had to say about bloggers in general.

Rock On Stephen! I hope the internal IM initiative goes well. Two key words for introducing staff to new technologies: patient and supportive. Some staff will take to it like ducks to the pond, some staff will fight anything that's new, and some staff fall in between. I'm pondering buy-in a lot these days... it's important for success in libraries for sure!

Posted by Michael at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Multiple Online Personalities at Lansing PL

Kelli Staley writes about the IM experience at Lansing PL, and shares some cool stuff about how it all works:

How does our staff like this setup?
They like the the separate names. The Teen Dept. librarian said she gets a lot of young adult reader's advisory inquiries which our Reference desk would be unable to answer. Her IM traffic seems to pick up after she booktalks at the high school. Students will remember parts of what she said, and then inquire about the title.

It also helps to get an idea of the age of the patron right off the bat. Adult Reference said they do get some inquiries that are obviously a middle school or perhaps high school student but most of the reference materials they use for class projects are housed in the adult collection anyway, and IMs are usually a follow-up to a class visit to the library.

I reserved a name for adult readers advisory (our 4th public desk), but as of yet I haven't been able to get them excited enough to try it!

I love that Booktalks increase IM questions. That type of promotion will build up the service.

I'm sad though that the Adult Reader's Advisory folks aren't excited about IM. What might get them into having IM at their desk? Stats might bore them. A mandate from admin would turn them off. Hmm..could some anecdotal evidence -- stories if you will -- get them to buy in? (This isn't new -- I'm channeling Durrance and Abram here folks!)

We recently had an IM:

[17:46] Patron: Hello
[17:46] Patron: Is anyone here?
[17:47] AskSJCPL: Hi. May we help you?
[17:47] Patron: Are you a robot?
[17:48] AskSJCPL: We are live librarians.

No, not that one, but how about this:

[11:27] IM User: Hello I am a student from (a local college) and i have a question for you about one of your books
[11:28] AskSJCPL: sure, go ahead.
[11:28] IM User: I had looked through a book that my friend had taken out from your library titled (cool book by a cool author)
[11:28] IM User: I would like to use one of his ideas for a project but I do not have the bibliographic information
[11:29] IM User: could you by any chance get that for me, I do not have time to come to the library myself
[11:30] AskSJCPL: Okay. What sort of info do you need?
[11:31] AskSJCPL: Author, date of publication, publisher?
[11:32] AskSJCPL: (Bib info given)
[11:32] AskSJCPL: it's 64 pages long
[11:34] AskSJCPL: are you still there?
[11:34] IM User: yes
[11:34] IM User: that is perfect
[11:35] IM User: thanks you very much
[11:35] AskSJCPL: you're welcome, have a nice day!
[11:35] IM User: thanks u too!!

I might make the point that by serving the patron's need at their point of need via the method that was the best for them at the time, the library is providing some darn good service. I'm curious, readers, what other IM stories might we share? Comment here if you'd like.

Kelli also made a nice comment in response to Jenny's comment: "I agree with Jenny...the catalog should be the main source for this info, but we all know that many of our patrons are intimidated by the catalog or lack the searching techniques to find what they want. Just as our patrons learn our catalog interfaces, an upgrade can make them feel as if they're at square one again.
If the IM inquiry about a film, cd or audiobook is what it's going to take to pull them back into the library (especially if they've been gone a while) then we stand a chance at promoting all the other wonderful services & programs they are missing out on! It's all about getting those independent tech saavy patrons back in the door so we can show them it's NOT all on the internet!"

I hear you and I agree!

Posted by Michael at 06:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IM Online Status! (Presence Rules)

Hey - now you can tell if the SJCPL IM Reference service is online or not! We were inspired by Lansing!

Thanks Maire!

Posted by Michael at 06:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

SJCPL IM Reference Expands to Audio Visual


This is in the works for the library's Sights & Sounds department! Direct IM capability to find out if music, movies or audiobooks are available. I'll be training a bit with the staff before they go live.

I was tickled to see we are on the right track when I saw Jenny's post about Lansing Public Library and their multiple screen names. "Kelli wrote, “Our library is on 2 levels, so we have separate screen names for different age groups. AskLPLAdult, AskLPLTeen, AskLPLYouth (we're on Yahoo & AOL).” She went on to note that a few weeks ago, they received IMs from students in Florida and Ohio. Those two requests are from students who couldn’t IM their local library. Can your students IM yours?"

Can your patrons IM your service desks? Can your librarians IM each other across the boundaries of distance (Floors? Miles?)?

Here's the promo bookmark prototype courtesy of SJCPLSkagirlie!

Posted by Michael at 03:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

IM Article at Library Journal

Schmidt & Stephens 2005:

Posted by Michael at 08:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2005

Playing with Jybe

SJCPLskagirlie is playing with Jybe with one of our Nextgen libs.

Neat stuff. Think of the learning opportunities for a librarian, a user and a learner to co-browse a few sites.

Posted by Michael at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

IM solving VR Woes

Good stuff here:

So here are some of the pros and cons (for our particular situation), and my general questions . . .

it's saves several thousands of dollars a year – it's free!
it works – bonus!
no messy setup or clunky interfaces; uses a medium that many/most students are already familiar with
ability to create customized 'queues' per subject or librarian for things like subject pages (simply create an appropriate and different screen name for that purpose), which with VR software can cost around $3000 per librarian
it's 'disposable': one thing that really bothers me about our current system is that all questions and transcripts are kept for three months, and in terms of privacy issues, we have no control over that

much more challenging to keep statistics
lose the ability to refer and track email questions (a component of our VR software) among numerous subject librarians

I think the stats issue could be handled without too much muss and fuss for most libraries. A database could be set up on the IM computer and each questions could be entered and cataegorized: reference, informational, etc. Then you'd have some good stats to pull out.

Posted by Michael at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2005

Another Nail in the VR Coffin?


Even as I post this, David King, Chad and Blake and I are co-browsing the Web! We all downloaded and installed JYBE and joined the same session. Suddenly, we were watching as David took us around the KCPL site! There is a built in chat room at the bottom of the page! We were chatting within the browser! WOWZA! Thanks to the fellow who posed the question to Aaron and I at our CIL IM presentation: "Have you tried Jybe?" And thanks to Chris Jowaisis who told me about it when it launched in January.

Think of the implications for virtual reference without bloated software!


We were able to surf together. I loaded up Indiana's access to EBSCOHOST and we searched together, found an article and downloaded. Everyone got a copy!

Blake said: "I never want to browse alone again."

My mind reels....

Posted by Michael at 03:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

Libraries and Technology

No one should have to deal with a situation like this - folks, it's 2005 -- there are are tools we can use to communicate, to learn, to exchange information, to improve workflow...

Michael - I have information to share - but please do not use my name or identify my organization. My organization absolutely does not allow IM. In fact - I needed it for a training class and had to petition my boss, the head of IT, and others for permission. I got permission to use it for a specific amount of time - the duration of the class. Then it was immediately removed. That's my story.

This was a response to an email request Karen sent out for me to some mailing lists. My tummy hurts.

Posted by Michael at 02:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

February 11, 2005

IM Bookmark

Beatrice comments:

I'm a brand new librarian in a new job and getting giddy just reading this. I love the idea of the IM bookmark as a promotion. May we "borrow" this idea? My library is currently offering e/m and virtual ref, but virtual ref is sporadically active at best. I'm going to be talking to my colleagues today about trying chat reference (probably using Trillian); on any given day that I walk around the library I see students using databases, the web and one or two IM applications all at once. I'm hoping that we'll even reach those working from their dorm rooms.

This makes my heart warm. Beatrice - please borrow away! That's one of the beautiful things about all this library coolness around ... we borrow, change, grab inspiration and downright share all the time. Go for it! That goes for anyone that might be IMing and need some inspiration!

Posted by Michael at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2005

Promoting IM Reference Services at SJCPL

This weekend at Science Alive! we'll be distributing a bookmark promoting out IM Reference service..and then the librarians will be visiting schools, etc to give them out. I am interested to see if the stats jump!

Want to see the full bookmark - download it here (883k)

Posted by Michael at 08:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

SJCPL IM Stats (Updated)

Maire informs me that we have had 75 Instant Message reference transactions here at SJCPL fomr September 2004 to January 2005 -- no too shabby considering we have not publicized the ASK SJCPL Service at all -- no cards, no bookmarks, etc... just this page.

For a detailed examination, click here:

Posted by Michael at 05:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Presence via the OS & iChat


On my Macs, I use iChat to IM. I just realized when I send IM windows to the dock (the program launcher in Mac Os X), they look like the above. That, I believe, is an example of presence: the virtual person... available and engaged.

Thanks Maire for fixing the image!

Posted by Michael at 03:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2005

I just SKYPED with Steven Cohen

It was like we were talking across my desk! How cool.

Folks...I'm home watching it snow..if anyone wants to test Skype, I'll be logged in!


Posted by Michael at 11:34 AM

December 12, 2004

Presence - CJ @ Technobiblio

Thanks CJ!

I'm fascinated by the direction IM, e-mail and blogging is going... social networks, interaction, collaboration... sweetness.

Posted by Michael at 06:58 PM

November 22, 2004

Aaron's Stats from LJ!


LJ, Nov 15, 2004

Let's look at a simple ROI:

400 questions divided by 7 months is an average of 57 questions per month for virtually no huge cost -- just the staff time whatever the cost may be. For this type of outreach and what might be called "good buzz" (ala Jenny), that's priceless!

Posted by Michael at 05:02 PM

November 16, 2004

For David King


Posted by Michael at 05:03 PM

November 09, 2004


After working at a branch yesterday for a Sunday shift I stopped to get gas at the grocery store/gas station/Starbucks complex up north of town. As I was pumping the petrol, my phone signaled I had a text:

"I see you getting gas..."

It was like a movie! I suddenly felt like the whole world was watching me and I hadn't known.

"Who is this?" I replied.

(Here's where every stalker thriller I've ever seen played out in my head..)

Turns out, it was my colleague Maire from SJCPL who does our Web Development. She was getting coffee and thought she'd text me to say hi...

Posted by Michael at 08:39 AM

November 01, 2004

IM Article at Red Herring

I can't remember where I got this!! But I file it here...,%20therefore,%20IM

Posted by Michael at 02:55 PM

September 09, 2004

Video Chat... In my Robe


Will the next big wave of video chat for online collaboration result in folks like me paying more attention to their dress when connected? Here I am after a long soak, in my robe and chatting with Bob and Jude who were still at work at IUSB!

Posted by Michael at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Loads of IM info... Thanks Technobiblio!

"Frequent IM users, on the other hand, tended to use IM more as a tool for collaboration, with discussions covering a broad range of topics via many fast-paced interactions—each with many short turns in the conversation, much threading, and a predisposition towards multitasking. "

Oh yeah! Aaron and I have planned a number of things...and Steven and I have set up some collaborative stuff as well.

CJ never ceases to amaze me with the quality of his posts. Take a look at this about IM and the great articles he links to.

Posted by Michael at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

iChat Meeting with Aaron

Aaron and I are writing and article AND presenting at Internet Librarian -- so yeaterday we met for almost an hour via iChat on our Macs! Face to face and with audio...nice!


Posted by Michael at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2004

Instant Messaging at the Library: Re-Evaluating IM in your Library

The more I read (Abram and Luther in LJ this month!), the more I ponder, and the more I IM with colleagues and SJCPL staff, I realize we need to get serious about this form of communication.

I saw this recently in a library and it made me sad:

I totally understand restricting open chat rooms...but not IM. Just sayin!

Posted by Michael at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

I'm over it - New e-mail

I have received over 500 spam messages this weekend. So I turned off the old address here... mstephens (at)!

New address:

mstephens7 (at sign) tametheweb (dot) com

mstephens7 (at sign) mac (dot) com still works as well!

Posted by Michael at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2004

That Instant Messaging is so HOT right now

Jenny points to this...while Aaron and Chris are blogging about it as well.

Here's what I've gathered in the year or so I've been connected:

IM with colleagues works! I have planned conference presentations with some good library folks, cried on a dear colleague's virtual shoulder when things seemed opretty dark, discussed my upcoming dive back into academia with numerous IM library pals, scheduled training and meetings with my SJCPL colleagues -- all VIA IM!

IM is great for a quick shout out -- better than e-mail really... "Hey did you see Jenny's post about THIS?" will always get me clicking to see what cool thing is coming up next.

Libraries can use IM as a means of virtual reference. Small investment..big results. There are libraries that do this! Aaron is! I'm changing the article I'm working on to highlight this stuff instead of Virtual reference -- which, according too many good folks, is DEAD or should be!

And in general, it's darn cool too be connected this way and hear from friends and family from all over the US in this "in the moment" way.

I do agree libraries and businesses will have to develop an IM policy to insure consistency of communication and some protocols. Note, I said libraries will have too... because I believe libraries should take this new HOT thing VERY seriously!


Posted by Michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

That Instant Messaging is so HOT right now

Jenny points to this...while Aaron and Chris are blogging about it as well.

Here's what I've gathered in the year or so I've been connected:

IM with colleagues works! I have planned conference presentations with some good library folks, cried on a dear colleague's virtual shoulder when things seemed opretty dark, discussed my upcoming dive back into academia with numerous IM library pals, scheduled training and meetings with my SJCPL colleagues -- all VIA IM!

IM is great for a quick shout out -- better than e-mail really... "Hey did you see Jenny's post about THIS?" will always get me clicking to see what cool thing is coming up next.

Libraries can use IM as a means of virtual reference. Small investment..big results. There are libraries that do this! Aaron is! I'm changing the article I'm working on to highlight this stuff instead of Virtual reference -- which, according too many good folks, is DEAD or should be!

And in general, it's darn cool too be connected this way and hear from friends and family from all over the US in this "in the moment" way.

I do agree libraries and businesses will have to develop an IM policy to insure consistency of communication and some protocols. Note, I said libraries will have too... because I believe libraries should take this new HOT thing VERY seriously!


Posted by Michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2004

Buddy Lists & Thommy

Check out Aaron's post at WP about IM and some young ladies at his library. I'm watching his IM the Library service closely... intrigued...

And, do older online folks IM? Technobiblio's post about the Silver Tsunami leads me to believe they probably do. IMing grandkids across the country. And what about the folks that have bought Web cams for grandma or grandma so they can see the kids?

Posted by Michael at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

Attention Fiddling Librarian

Caught your IMs after you had logged off. Watch for me and let's discuss!

Posted by Michael at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)