Alkek Library News

Friday, October 27, 2006

Instant Messaging at Alkek

Did you know you can IM a librarian at Alkek Library? If you follow this link you can see the 3 different handles the library has created for 3 of the IM clients commonly used. All you have to do is add the library's IM name to your "buddy list" and you can then get instant help.

Alkek Library has been offering chat reference (or virtual reference-VR) since the fall 2004 semester and the popularity has been growing consistently since that time. Our original VR service "Ask a Librarian Live" uses a chat software product which allows the librarian and the patron who has the question to "co-browse." It is very good to use when someone has no idea where or how to begin their research. Librarian can point to links on a Web page and also instruct the user or show them how to conduct a good search.

However, it is a software product that requires both users to have the Windows OS and Internet Explorer in order to work properly. Anyone using a Mac or another browser will not get to experience the full "co-browse" functionality and sometimes causes other issues too.

You can decide for yourself how you want to Ask a Librarian a question. We offer many different ways to ask for help. Turn around for email is often very quick...unless we are short-handed. But usually your answer will be sent to you within 24 hours.

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