Tuesday, April 08, 2008

CIL 2008: When Web Calling, Video, and Libraries Collide

Char Booth, Ohio University. Article in upcoming Internet Reference Services Quarterly (13.2).

scalable web video/ calling library services are possible = point of talk. just because you can do it doesn't mean you have to. see if right for your community. informed experimentation is key.

evolution of electronic reference: email - chat - IM - web based IM - voice/video over IP/IM (iChat/Skype most popular)

what to use web calling for? video kiosks/ standalone reference/ distance ed/ professional activity

Some professors use Skype recording of classes etc as videocasts. {Pretty cool.} Very good and cheap for distance ed. Char uses in ed tech MA program for interaction w/ students in Ghana.

Started Skype kiosk to provide reference services to remote "scary" floors of library. Ended up moving it. Been in 2 locations and 3 different designs. Originally used Windows Live Messenger but switched to Skype. Skype is more stable for constantly open call, free, saves history, multiplatform, add extras, can text as well. Librarian on video all the time. People can walk by and see librarian. Pretty much the same thing as being on physical reference desk. Librarians had to get used to being on camera when working in office. Eventually changed to call-in model.

New version isn't live open call. Has links for floor plan, directory, hours, and ask a question. Disembodied head version got the most usage for some reason. Also have Skype as part of ask a lib service. Have to look at stats in relation to how many people use the technology says Jenny Levine.

No way to make eye contact Makes ref interaction weird. People don't move the camera in relation to their height. Tours gathered around the kiosk and were startled by librarians moving. "Librarian freaks in a box." Students would occasionally make out in front of camera. {Oh yeah. Exhibitionist paradise for 3-13 minutes.}

San Francisco State using similar tech to replace some service points. Good for providing services during renovation etc. Toledo Public Lib, U of Canterbury both using as well.

Don't use wireless connection for kiosk. Will crash and have to go fix often. Staff/ patron buy-in is essential to success. Make it voluntary perhaps.

DimDim lets you show slides and chat and such. Yugma is another screen push plug-in for presentations. Also has whiteboard and other features. Web calling build into Facebook - more students may be using in the future. How can libs use if they are using to talk to each other?

VoIP continues to improve and get more popular. Trend towards web calling over landline. Does take time to maintain and staff so have concrete purpose if you decide to use.

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At 2:39 PM, Anonymous char said...

my blog is actually at infomational.wordpress.com. thanks for the session writeup.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger David said...

Ooops! Sorry about that. All fixed now.

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