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Meebo widget

David Lee King posted about the use of the Meebo widget in the Topeka library catalog and then posted again about the responses to his post about using the widget.  All interesting conversations.

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A colleague of mine at work forwarded information about this to our reference librarians, but I just read about it on Jenny Levine’s blog: the idea of using Meebo’s IM widget in the library catalog to create a user-librarian interaction at the point of need. Our library has gone back and forth about using IM at the reference desk for years, without actually doing anything. We have a student population of mostly residential students, with no distance learning component at all. Never seemed like IM would be necessary in our library.

However, I can see the benefits of using IM or chat in the library catalog, even on a residential campus. Questions about using our library catalog are probably the second most frequent interaction at the reference desk, behind searching for journal articles. If students could chat with a reference librarian while they were having difficulties in the catalog, we could help the students at the point of need, rather than interrupting their research and having them come down to the main floor or over to the reference desk to ask a question. The Meebo widget could be a great solution.

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