Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thing 8

Web communication & instant messaging tools.

While I am an avid user of both instant and text messaging in my personal life, I've never used either in a professional setting.

The articles about SMS and instant messaging were really eye-opening. It was surprising to read about the librarian that had to get permission to use instant messaging at her library because it was blocked. Instant messaging for reference work seems like a great concept! And we all know that instant gratification is what is expected these days when it comes to information. With that in mind, I would be interested in trying out instant messaging for reference work -- it would be so useful in our youth services department because I would bet there are kids out there who need homework help but don't have access to the library because they don't have a ride or just need an answer right away, and instant messaging with a librarian or reference assistant would be a great way to get the help they need.

It would also be a positive way to promote the library!, though some might argue that a physical library isn't needed if instant messaging reference questions is available. One thing that might be troubling for instant message reference work would be how busy the library or reference desk might be at any one time. Sometimes, we are so busy at the YS ref desk that there might be a queue five people long waiting for help (photocopying, computer questions, reference desk, readers advisory, phone call, etc.), and we have only one person staffed at our YS ref desk at any given time. So throw instant messaging reference work into the mix, and that might really make things confusing. In theory though, it's a great idea, and I would love to be able to try it out at the library sometime!

The SMS messaging is a little trickier. I don't know how useful a 160-character answer can be for someone that has an in-depth question, but if a simple question was asked that required ready reference material or just a quick little answer (country population, dates, names, physical addresses & phone numbers, etc.), then SMS applications might be useful. It would be good for people on the go. But with today's smart phones, I wonder if there would be as great a need for this kind of service as there might have been 5 years ago when the article on SMS was written.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thing 7

Online Image Generators can apparently be LOTS of fun! I came across this little gem on The Generator Blog. My coworkers and I were cracking up. Oh, fun times! This particular application would really serve no use in the library world (that I could imagine anyway), but I'm sure some of the other image generators would prove more useful! :)

Erin is doing the Ugly Dance!