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Collabortive Virtual Reference Symposium : Session I

Side by Side Comparison of Collaborative VR Services
Presenters: Vince Mariner, Diana Sachs-Silveira, Caleb Tucker-Raymond

Diana Sachs-Silveria - Survey results from State of VR:
Survey posted on VR lists
-35 respondents from 29 services
-large multitypes, then academic, then public

-most are doing chat & email, a lot of doing just chat only and a few are doing collab.
-oclc’s qp = 21
-tutor.com = 3
-other = 4

-22 are not limited in the number of librarians that can staff at anytime
-2 are limited by their contract
-2 are limitied by their software provider
-other collab. Resources w/in collab. Services – most using databases
-most using English for language

Traffic
Years in service
-4 under 1 yr
-5 1-2 yrs
-2 at 3 yrs
-12 at 4+ yrs

only 10 of the collabs. Covered email

stats – fluctuated because of different variables
stats will be posted online

growth in 2007 – most looking to growing, not go down or die
usage – when busiest – weekdays in the afternoons vs mornings or weekends
demographics – college level highest use in both academic and public arena

Vince Mariner – Soaring to New Heights
Led 2 statewide services under 2 different software types

Participation defined
-participants can be defined differently
-a participant is a library that contributes:
-funds and/or staff time
-just funds and/or staff time
-neither funds nor staff time but are allowed to utilize link/logo on their site for users
-in PA they encourage any library to link to the service

Participation by Library Type
-public – almost 70%
-academic – 35%
-school –almost 10%

Academic Coops
-avg. size 24 libraries per coop
Multitype Coops
A lot more based on different pop served #

PA doesn’t use school libs to promote the service but they get a lot of students

Library Funding Contribution
-48% indicated that participating libs. Contribute funds

-funding models
-varies based on fte or pop
-flat partic. Fee
-no fee (Typ. Lsta funded)
-askcolorado subscription model
aclin.org/reference/join.html

Staff Contribution per week
-6.3 hrs per wk avg per lib
-notes
-minimum hrs per wk
-most vary based on variety of factors

found the more libs in a coop, the less hrs contrib. – for academic
found the larger pop size served the more hrs contrib.. – for public

Caleb:
Themes:
Why are we here?
-who or what prompted your org. to host a collab. Vr service?
-state agency or org
-need for online service/outreach
-grassroots movement
-saving money through collab.
-individual

what is your mission/goal?
-reference, reach all residents/students, provide chat, share service, advance mission of institution, remote sercie/point of need,

some of the missions are what they’re doing not why – maybe board needs to hear this

who’s running the coop?
-regional cooperative (mostly) – run by institutions that are already use to collaborating
budget
-a lot of don’t knows (whole budget) – a lot of $100,000+

expenses
-software makes up the bulk
-coordinating staff and marketing
-24/7 backup
-training

Training
-most often provided by vendor
-multitypes also provide training – coordinated by vr group
-each library responsible
-found best to have centralized

Marketing
-bookmarks
-fliers through local libraries
-web sites
-pens
-dozens of ways, but no one way to do it

Evaluation
-ask patrons
-random sampling of questions/transcripts for quality
-lsta outcomes logic model
-peer review of librarians

Challenges
-23 different themes
-funding, growth, software, usage, instant messaging, staffing, support, teenagers, training, change, collaboration, coordinator, marketing, morale, academic library participation, bureaucracy, user expectations, urban/rural divide

Successes
-growth, launch, marketing, participation, usage, support, partnerships, aooperation, electronic resources,

-twice as many challenges as there are successes

IM isn’t as big as he thought it would be as a challenge

Discussion:
Understanding the context of the question (wanting) to be asked
-understand the user’s goals

move the question, not the user(patron)

expand the link to the vr service
-promote service to the ftf patron via service hours listed on the door
-findability, ubiquity
-“think the library is closed? Think again”

even if libs. Can’t devote staff time, still talk to them about the service, let them play with the software and encourage them to put the link on their site

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