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August 31, 2007

Twin Cities News Start-Up Breaks New Ground

Twin Cities News Start-Up Breaks New Ground
by Ken Doctor, Affiliate Analyst - San Jose, California
MinnPost, an online news launch, was announced by former big city publisher and editor and has quickly collected a couple dozen well-known former daily bylines known to readers.
Important Details: When long-time Star Tribune editor and publisher Joel Kramer exited the newspaper business in 1998, he hadn't a glimmer of what he is now doing one decade later: launching an online news start-up. But the peculiar times journalism lives in has driven him in back into publishing, and not on newsprint.
From Outsell.

August 30, 2007

Scratch-n-Sniff eBooks

How do you include the experience of 'smell' into a techy world? From The Shifted Librarian (Jenny Levine), apparently CafeScribe has figured out how to give people that all-around sensation of reading an ebook. According to CafeScribe (via Engadget "43 percent of students identified smell as the thing they most liked about their favorite books...." To this end, CafeScribe is "shipping "musty-smelling" scratch-and-sniff stickers with every ebook order." Hmmm... I don't know how this would work for library orders.

Slam the Boards!

Slam the Boards! invites all librarians for a day of answers. That's right. Mark your calendar for Monday, Sept. 10. Log on to an "Answer" site such as Yahoo Answers, Amazon's Askville, The WikiPedia Reference Desk - see a list of others at http://answerboards.wetpaint.com/page/Registry+of+Answer+Boards?mail=1127.

The point of this day-long deluge of helpful and accurate answers to people's questions on these sites is to, first and foremost, answer people's questions but also to market ourselves as librarians. Let them know that their question was answered by a librarian and that's what we do, that's one of the services their local public library provides.

Like MySpace and Facebook, it's another way of extending ourselves outside the walls of our own libraries and reaching out to where the people are. You may want to prepare by visiting any of the answer sites in advance and see if you need to set up an account to answer questions and you may even want to dip your toe in the water and try answering a question in advance as well just to get the feel for how the site works. It's not much different than a digital reference service.

This great idea was started by Caleb Tucker-Raymond.

Slam the Boards!

Slam the Boards! invites all librarians for a day of answers. That's right. Mark your calendar for Monday, Sept. 10. Log on to an "Answer" site such as Yahoo Answers, Amazon's Askville, The WikiPedia Reference Desk - see a list of others at http://answerboards.wetpaint.com/page/Registry+of+Answer+Boards?mail=1127.

The point of this day-long deluge of helpful and accurate answers to people's questions on these sites is to, first and foremost, answer people's questions but also to market ourselves as librarians. Let them know that their question was answered by a librarian and that's what we do, that's one of the services their local public library provides.

Like MySpace and Facebook, it's another way of extending ourselves outside the walls of our own libraries and reaching out to where the people are. You may want to prepare by visiting any of the answer sites in advance and see if you need to set up an account to answer questions and you may even want to dip your toe in the water and try answering a question in advance as well just to get the feel for how the site works. It's not much different than a digital reference service.

This great idea was started by Caleb Tucker-Raymond.

August 28, 2007

New Searching Study

The iProspect Offline Channel Influence on Online Search Behavior Study, which was sponsored by iProspect and conducted by JupiterResearch, reveals: 

  •  two-thirds of the online search population is driven to search by offline channels
  • 39 percent of online searchers who are influenced by offline channels ultimately make a purchase
The implications of these findings should be clear, according to iProspect President Robert Murray. A synergistic relationship exists between search and offline channels. Smart marketers have a huge opportunity to leverage offline channels to drive their audience to search for them, and doing so could greatly enhance the effectiveness of their efforts.

Webology Online and First Monday

There's a few good articles floating around in the ether that have been getting some discussion. I found them to be fairly good and informative for online research and models for outreach:

The latest edition of Webology, an OPEN ACCESS journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, is
available ONLINE now.
Webology: Volume 4, Number 2, 2007 TOC: http://www.webology.ir/2007/v4n2/toc.html
A couple articles that I found of particular interest were Web 2.0 as a Social Movement by William F. Birdsall, http://www.webology.ir/2007/v4n2/a40.html and Folksonomies: Why do we need controlled vocabulary? by Alireza Noruzi, http://www.webology.ir/2007/v4n2/editorial12.html.

From First Monday, I also suggest Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research? by Alison J. Head, http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/head/index.html

August 23, 2007

Jessamyn West gets into WebJunction

Over at Librarian.net, site's author Jessamyn West talks about WebJunction. I would suggest any use of WebJunction read her comments. They are very well thought out and give a realistic overview of what the site has to offer. Also, if you have taken any Webinars from the MINITEX staff in the past 3 months you may have noticed that we are using new webinar software for some of them, Live Classroom which is supported by WebJunction. West likes the webinar software because it works well on the Mac. (Hint, also works best on Firefox, but not required browser).

August 17, 2007

Professional Collection


If you try to access the Professional Collection from Thomson-Gale (Statewide Databases) and get InfoTrac Custom Newspapers, please don't be alarmed. Gale has informed us that the image is incorrect but the data you search is from Professional Collection - they are working on a patch to fix the image.

August 8, 2007

Wikipedia Reaches 2 Million Articles

From the New York Times:

At the Wikimania conference in Taipei, this weekend there was a group of volunteers active in editing the online encyclopedia who started calling themselves "The Old-Codgers Coalition." Like many at the conference, they were trying to cope with the impact of the site's popularity.
These days, Wikipedia editors bandy various guidelines and rules of thumb for assessing the merit of articles. The old codgers have proudly followed the credo "Ignore All Rules."
Success has also meant that there is less so-called "low-hanging fruit," articles to write from scratch about important subjects. And finally, success means that Wikipedia has become too big for states around the world to ignore.

August 3, 2007

Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program

From the
Minnesota Book Awards Coordinator
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is delighted to announce a new Minnesota Book Awards initiative made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education - Office of State Library Services. Effective immediately, Minnesota libraries and affiliated nonprofit library organizations are invited to apply for funding to host an author event or series featuring Minnesota Book Awards winners or finalists.

A total of $5,000 is available for author events occurring between September 1, 2007 and April 30, 2008. The maximum that may be requested for funding reimbursement by any one library or affiliated organization during this funding period is $500.

To apply, fill out the application form in pdf or word doc and return it by e-mail, fax, or mail. Applications are currently being accepted, and requests will be approved for organizations meeting all stated requirements on a first-come, first-serve basis. Review of applications will begin Friday, August 17, 2007. Interested organizations are encouraged to apply early!

To learn more about the Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program click here. Organizations are encouraged to feature finalists or winners from the most recent Book Awards, although this isn't a requirement. A complete listing of winners and finalists from throughout the Book Awards' 19 year history is available on The Friends website.

August 1, 2007

Online video now reaches a mainstream audience

57 percent of Internet users have watched videos online and most of them share what they find with others

The growing adoption of broadband combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing. Fifty-seven percent of online adults have used the Internet to watch or download video, and 19 percent do so on a typical day. Three-quarters of broadband users (74 percent) who enjoy high-speed connections at both home and work watch or download video online.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s first major report on online video also shows how many video viewers have contributed to the viral and social nature of online video. More than half of online video viewers (57 percent) share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75 percent) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them.

Video viewers who actively exploit the participatory features of online video, such as rating content, posting feedback or uploading video, make up the motivated minority of the online video audience. Young adults are the most active participants in this realm.

Collabortive Virtual Reference Symposium : Session VI

What’s Next in the Adventure: The Future of Collaborative Virtual Reference Services

Facilitators: Joe Janes & Susan McGlamery

Joe: one phrase stuck out to me: “next generation user experience” from jeff penka (qp)
We need to think about broadly about what that next generation experience ought to be. – thinking about the user
-divide into working groups and brainstorm/create talk about this

-the thing they’re interacting w as well as the community they’re interacting w – having that relationship
-the concept of how the ref lib. That provides the consultation is compensated – show we’re experts in the field of searching, retrieving the right information
-using my pda, one place to go/click “give me this” and don’t care about who I’m interacting w
-when we have given them the tool/answer – when they have used us it was such a good service it should say for itself – we were the ones that helped them over that wall – we lose that writer’s block
-interface – it’s streamlined, everyone is connected to it, we’re all connected across the planet as librarians
-whatever the patron uses we should be able to connect to them – they have so many choices and we are at all those choices
-the user is choicing to put the personal lib in whatever network they have
--connecting users to knowledge communities – have the library as a hub for that – have community services at the library/lib website
-interface – what to interact w: it should be automatic, our userface should transform to what they’re use to
-users don’t care, they use google because it’s easy – just have something to click to – have a clickable map and be connected to whomever
-none of the libs. Issues impede the users need/experience
-if they have a bad experience they don’t see it as that one lib. It’s the whole thing
-libs. Need to set up a customer service orientation policy/program – not after thoughts
-track customer interactions so we know what they’re interested in/working on – like amazon
-full capacity of a library – shows things up as I’m working through it

participatory, on their terms, full capacity, our problems don’t affect them

back to main group:
what are you struck by?
Technology: no barrier – seemless – doesn’t matter how I connect w the librarian and how I get information – the quest. And answer are what matter not the delivery!!!
-ease of use for user and staff
-no barriers, reducing barriers…
-level of automation/psychic machine – system is smart – automating the users entry into the interface/session – mind meld

half the group had some pop fiction/scifi reference – we’re trying to create the experience from the user point of view – interesting adoption of those medifores that our users will also have in their heads
-but, are these references our gen uses or the next gen’s references
-let’s find out what theirs’ are
-they don’t need pop cult references – im’ing 3 friends at once is just the way they do things

mind meld:
-to some extent this is already happening, amazon

-we’re not seeing much of privacy – users choosing how much they want to give up – we nned to give our patrons the right to say I’m willing to give up this much – let them reveal what they want to reveal

-don’t let the thing you build be the barrier to the user experience

themes so far: seamlessness and transparency

is staff represented here:
-how about community & collaboration – how does community react to a potential user community
-they want someone to help them define what they want, they may not really know
-technology is a way of getting around the relationship to build the query
-it’s not just over that one interaction – it’s treating the library as a customer focused org. –to build a customer relationship w them – if they come in the 2nd time we can say “how did that paper on monkeys go?” – retaining individual info
-when you have that relationship and you know each other the reference interview is cut short because you already know their likes/don’t likes
-the relational aspect of reference – having the best transaction you’ve ever had even if you don’t get the info you need – what the lib values as successful and what the patron values as successful – referencing Marie Radford’s research
-user experience – if/when patron’s ask for a specific lib do we/should we allow that?
-Joe Thompson – from his research showed that their teens in MD not only wanted to build relationships by knowing the names of libs. They work with so they can ask for them/not ask for them again – but also asked if they could rate libs.
-Buff Hirko – libs. Should be willing to be accountable for the service they provide – let the patron know your name
-Joe Janes – from his doctorial student’s research who is now at florida state (forgot her name), best predictor of success was that lib provided name – personal touch
-people providing the service should want to provide the service and are pleased to provide the service

sarah from george wash u – pairing the new (young) libs w the tech skills and the older more experienced libs w the ref skills – finding those with the skills and pairing them up just worked out that way and sharing the info

why would people be reluctant to serve? – tech may play a part of that
-it has to be recognizably reference to them – has this faded? Hopefully

-kids may type stuff in that they’re not going to go to the ref desk and say in person – good or bad stuff – kids are testing – kids may ask the quests. To make sure they’re talking to a real person – they want to know who they’re talking to

-we want people use the tech they are use to/like to ask their quests.

-Buff Hirko – when I was at the state library of Victoria in aus. They asked “how do you handle kids?” – it’s universal – it’s a way to broaden our perspective – we need to learn how to deal with people in other groups

-if you’re still trying to deal w kids in vr there is a great presentation by Joe Thompson from vrd 2005 on webjunction on dealing w teens

-at the same time you have teens that want anonymity and libs. Want anonymity – how do you build a relationship w that?
-every choice brings a downside
-they choose anonymity that’s their choice – we can’t do anything about it
-our choice is to choose personalization

-use “haha f&g, come back when you have a real question” and they do
-privacy is wrapped up with identity and trust – you can still be anonymous – seams give shape and show us where the edges are – that was Caleb’s quote

-the word I (Joe Janes) keep coming back to is “experience” – for us and the user
-the desire to participate, share, build – that’s how this conversation has flowed – building services we would want to use is one thing, as we think about where this wants to go, if you build in interoperability/operability that opens the door to serve anyone

closing: Kris Johnson
-thanks to Joe Janes for keynote and helping w facilitating last session, thanks to panelists and all participants

July MINITEX Reference Notes

The July issue of MINITEX Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!  In an effort to bring you the most information to you in a timely manor, the July newsletter is the largest issue so far.  This month’s issue includes information on the ELM Renewal, Gale PowerSearch Cutover, You're Invited to the Launch of My Health Minnesota –> Go Local!, The Record Breaker, Blogging Through ALA, See you at the Fair, More M.O.R.E. Training, Fall 2007 Conferences and more!  
To link to the current or past issues go to http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/.
Don’t miss out on this timely information!

Collabortive Virtual Reference Symposium : Session V

Instant Messaging: Considerations, and Compatibility with collaborative vr

Facilitator: Caleb Tucker-Raymond

Presenters: Alex Hodges (American U) & Sarah Palacios-Wilhelm (George Wash. U) – Reclaiming our Collaborative Past: How Instant Messaging has Brought us Back Together
-Evolution of Collaboration @ WRLC Wash. Research Lib. Consortium
-8 academic libraries part of the consortium in Wash. DC
-consortium works together in many areas of library services and resources, online catalog – added link for ask a librarian on many of these wrlc pages
-shows their students the different resources, services they provide through the consortium

American U
-11000 student pop
-vr stats 04-05: 236
-hours m-f 11am-6pm
IM stats: 06-07: 708
Hours: m-f 1pm-9pm

George Wash U
24000 student pop
-vr stats 04-05: 392
-im stats 06-07: 1333
-hours: m-f 2pm-9pm

-collab. Vr failed for them, moved to IM
-lasted from 02-06
tutor: 02-05
-didn’t have a coord. w/in consortium
-time and pressure affect service provision, working out kinks plus other duties and instability of software made for collab. Serv to fail

IM pilot services paralleled qp private collab. 05-06

Consortial Concerns
-lack of strong coord. Role
-lack of personalized service
-tech hiccups
-barriers to service
-quality control issues

-integrated stats – collections w/in software
-integrated logging
-co-browsing – when it worked it was great

w IM stats are not integrated but they do have an outside stats collection but it is problematic
-can’t do quality control and follow up like you could do with chat software

end of collab. Vr service didn’t end collab. In consortium
Cross-institutional assistance
-AU->MU (marymount)
-GW->GT (Georgetown) – helping gt get im service up and running

Best practices, assessment, training
-IM forum, all 8 schools
-IM Reference Google Group – post all info, docs. Share info

Institutional Collab
-working groups
-service models – creates consistancy
-integration of multiple service desks
-incorporating non-librarian staff – collab. On training, policies – students understood the IM software aspects they trained the libs. On that – libs. Trained them in on ref skills
-working w faculty & instruction – spreading IM handles to all
-students: social networking & webpages – speaking the students language, advertising their IM handles, group handle
-outreach & marketing – telling students “just AIM us” – speaking their language

Marketing – progressive marketing campaign
-“IM too sexy” – everyone, not just students, is seeing this, provost, parents.. – they say “get use to it”
-they want to make sure the library is putting their mark on the materials
-stress – hire graphic designers! – they help
-“IM reference, no shirt, no shoes, no problem” – guy lying in bed w laptop no shoes or shirt – AIM logon: AskAULibrary
-“Research Saves Lives!” – transition of someone going through cancer and their recovery – “Patricia Kinney’s Path to Survival”
-AIM logon: GalmanInfo – not using library or librarian in handle

-improving assessment
-web-based chat
-IM widgets
-IM google group
-further integration w web 2.0


Presenter: Valery King (Oregon State U-Corvallis)– Acting Globally, Acting Locally: Local Instant Messaging and Collaborative VR
-participate in statewide plus own service at osu

-at osu, using aim yahoo…. Plus widget
-osu is a land-grant institution, must provide services/connection to greater state
-“Think Link” was a first connection to state residents for answering quest. – 1st by mail, then phone, email, fax…
-dropped this when L-Net (statewide vr service) came about
-@30% of quest. Thru L-Net were osu based quest.
-wanted to encourage their own students to come to libs. Directly
-so decided to create own queue w/in l-net – reasonably successful
-w staff #s decreasing, more of a problem to schdule
-decided to drop the queue and went to IM – did it simultaneously so there was no gap
-used trillion, multiplatform

barriers w IM
-students weren’t using it, had @ 20/mo quest.
-l-net: a lot of people were coming in annonomously
-ah-ha moment – added widget, chatango widget – can remain annonomous
-redesigned website – kept live help options: l-net, other im options
-usage soared: jan – 110; may – 580, shot up 400% in 1st 2 months
-having that widget on every page helped a lot
-simple to use, easy to find
-other ref stats did not go down at all – realized it was a need

-doesn’t keep logs, keep tick marks
-if you click away from the page it drops the chat – have to warn them right off the bat
-leave message function on chatango is wimpy – next lib that logs in has to capture it and save
-alert sound is wimpy – can’t change it

-training is minimal
-embedded widget can be monitored from any computer
-easier for patrons
-catches quest. Not otherwise asked

still use trillion, not hard to manage both at the same time
buy-in from staff was immediate, not that way with l-net queue – had to work hard on that

why do both?
-university land-grant mission
-collaboration w statewide colleagues
-patron choice
-affordable after-hours coverage

chat is better for:
-in-depth quest.
-co-browseing, form filing

IM is better for:
-quick quest.
-local quest

how we manage both:
-l-net: reduce staff to 4 per term, 1 shift/week – l-net is big enough now
-im an easy add-on, easy to handle
-backup librarians can cover it from their own desks or at the ref desk

-complimentary, not mutually exclusive
-chat not dead, but im preferred by many and met a previously unknown need
-both have their uses, and their fans
-really not difficult to do both
-switching from chatango to meebo, moving the widget down a little on the page
-specialists can put their own meebo widget on their web page (not ref unit’s meebo widget) – get’s specialized service


Presenter: Kenneth Furuta (UC-Riverside) – Instant Messaging and Collaborative Virtual Reference

-started im service in nov 2006, AskaUCLibrarian

instant messaging:
-uc digital refernce common interest group should explore im software in a collab. Environment
-action item: 3 libs. Dedicated to researching this

environmental scan – feb-april 07
-there is no single source solution for IM reference for a collab. However, there is interest and development on a number of fronts
-individual libraries have implemented im ref – monitored from a single physical location – none over geographic distances
-but is it scalable? – expand in size to accommodate a wide variety of users

vr schematic (figure)
users connect w librarian thru vr server
IM schematic
One or many users connect directly to librarian, no vr server in the way

A day in the life of ask a uc librarian
San Diego covers 11am-1pm
Irvine 1-3pm
Santa barara 3-5pm
Merced 5-9pm
-shift changes, don’t necessarily need multiple logins for a shift change
-in looking at stats it seems that all uses login at the same time, human nature?
-clustering of patrons – not sure why that happens
-3 patrons or more at one time was @27% of the day
-27% of time the librarian is really busy

-if we want to support im ref in the collab. Then we will have to build it
-near term: do not support im ref at this time. Monitor the environment for an effective, scalable solution

project updates
-my idea: multiple patron IM accts – multiple users at one time, maybe have a back-end server to manage use – couldn’t talk anyone else into it
-UNC-chapel hill – modifying pigeon (use to be gaim) – looking to do small scale pilot project with multiple libs. Logged on but look like one lib. To the patron – multiple handles, queues – patron will be told where they are in line – looking at open source to do this
-natl library of Australia – creating system w nultiple lib logons, overflow patron queue, archiving transcripts, stats reports, want to work w meebo, jabber as back en piece
-l-net (Oregon libraries network) – using enterprise im – partner w public library, who owns it, what server, pilot project in the fall maybe
-vendors: qp and tutor: - w qp working to figure out the problem statement about im – next gen platform is something else they’re working on

Questions from Audience:
Q: for sarah & alex: where do you cover im? Desk or office
A: alex, we cover at office, libs. Don’t like desk, s: we cover at desk

Q: for ken: it sounds like a vr package using a backend server, what do you plan to do?
A; it does sound like a vr package, we are staying open, maybe commercial, maybe open source, our patrons are there how do we get to them?

Q: for Valery: where is your link to l-net
A: just on ask us page, widget wrote into template, l-net link not useful on every page like research tutorial, redesign looking at specific pages it needs to be

Q: for valery: no transcripts what about follow ups?
A: if we do have to follow up we ask for email

Q: for valery: meebo doesn’t save anything either
A: western Oregon has added something to widget to save the logs, still can come in anonomously

Caleb: our pilot project is so its easy for libs, to jump on and use it. Is it easier for libs. To use than vr? What do we want to keep from im? Make it easy fro libs. To use.

Sarah: we don’t have the widget yet, adding in fall, students add us as a buddy, they don’t need to go back to gelman website to ask us a quest.

Q: for sara: do they request a particular buddy?
A: we’ve had have people ask for specific, we use both lib im and personal ims, if we’re logged on personal we may get quest. From students

Collabortive Virtual Reference Symposium : Session IV

Day 2:
Collaborative Virtual Reference Services from around the world: Marketing Virtual Reference Buy-in, Recruiting and Collaboration

Facilitator: Diana Sachs-Silveira

Presenter: Dyan Perley – We built it! And they came…Strategies for maintaining staff
sanity in times of rapid growth

-from Alberta, Canada
-Ask A Question – collaborative program
-area has seen significant pop. Growth over last 5 yrs – very stron economy
-40% of pop. Still using dial-up connection
--use open source
-developed by 3 alberta colleges (1999)
-post secondary expansion
-2001 – management of the service shifted to the Alberta Library
--AAQ was developed in the spirit of collaboration and consultation
-service pt – responsible for staffing AAQ for ques. About their library or community/inst.
-pl are responsible for ques. From outside Alberta

-website redesign – original very clunky, took many steps before even able to ask
-new site went live in oct 2006
-simplified design
-easier url
marketing campaign
-led to an overall increase of 96%
-60% of quest. Coming from non-target aud.

Maintaining buy-in
-responsive to staff needs
–developed new staff website – software modifications – added referring url – asked where they were coming from
-develop templates
-anticipate the unexpected
-try new things
-student & volunteer pilot projects – had 51 participants, answered @400 quest. In one term, students said the project was very valuable to them – then added the volunteer program, opened it up to other students outside of the class piloting the project
-created a http://del.icio.us/aaq acct
-referrals – based on asking them where they are coming from – people aren’t looking for libraries they are looking for “I want to ask” – they decided to refer back to the libraries they were associated w (ex. US libs)
-build community & Communicate
-listserv & blog
-site visits
-annual meeting – one person from each inst. Attends, good for seeing fact to name – get’s little free stuff
- express your appreciation
-regular service updates
-be open to new suggestions
-maintain communication – regular lines of communication, building of ref community

Next steps
-investigating further methods to:
-encourage Alberta-based growth
-direct out –of-province patrons to more appropriate resources
-thinking about doing a mash-up for patrons showing world map, click on where they live and see services in their area
-scheduled a rewrite of their scripts for 2008

Presenters: Ulf-G Nilsson & Magnus Illvered – Competence Clusters for virtual reference services: A new model for collaboration

-from Sweden – Jonkoping University Library
-serving @ 9mil. Pop. – around size of CA

background info:
-Ask the Library (pl) & Librarian on Duty (aca) – 2 consortia vr services
-bridge the 2 systems – not using external funding, housed at their U
-staffed during library hrs – also evenings and weekends
-using Docutek

2 constorias
Librarian on Duty – Chalmers, lunds UB
Ask the Library – Malmo SB, Orebro SB
-these are connected through the “Systems Bridge”

through the sustems bride the have their virtual desks for the main services and the individual libraries (like Chalmers, malmo sb…)
-kind of like different pods or queues for the services

The Model
Competence Clusters for vr services
-based on org. or individuals
-to create services dynamically

more and more demands for specialist services
-easy to do in the system to have the same person staff both services

in future… Locate Expert Competence
-pick out specialties in different libraries from around the world and connect to them

Based on org. or individuals – trying to put together a 24/7 staffing structure on their own

-could increase efficiency

Next step
-create a pilot project with European countries
-waiting on funding

for the user
-an easy way to make use of the competence in a collaborative network – they can access one or several parts of the org
for the org.
-use and reuse of competence in a network – increase the possibilities to enlarge – cut costs

$12.06 average cost in answering a quest. Individually
$6.00 in their project

had a decrease in numbers of ref questions overall, not online, looking to transfer the $$ to new services such as the project and expand

-showed commercial they did in SWe about a guy trying to answer/win radio contest of trivia questions while using the service and getting the right answers – very cute!

Presenter: Kini Piper – Fire in the belly: Developing a dynamic and dedicated team

-from New Zealand

-refer to vr librarians as operators

ideas for recruiting and rewarding – there’s a handout about the service
3 vr services in nz

-she is part of the only large collab. Vr service in nz

-patrons are mostly children and teens
-they need help with searching and identifying good resources

-they try to put people thru a pre-selection process – they show libs. What the service is like and how it works
-they advertise vacancies
-demo software – ask them if they want to continue to the next step – some stepped out
-the libs. Go thru a 1 hr test – simulate vr sessions
-how do they respond to a child or teen
-have core competencies they are measured against – ref skills can be taught but look for someone who has good multitask skills

-new recruits “buddy up” with experienced libs. Until they feel comfortable working on their own

-need coordinator at each site – need consistency – service coach does training
-service coach and coord are online as well to keep up skills
-nat’l library of nz provides resources for the service
-6 mos into new training model

training program
-theory, software, functionality
-go live, real-time work w software
-demo of websites, resources, and tools used for ref
-copy of eresources directory to take away

-they get training w/in 3 mos on the job
-training coach available for consult after training at any time
-go to onsite meetings, important to know face w name

-try to mix people with different experiences up so they get to meet people at different levels to learn new things

level 1 – new recruits up to 3 mos.
Level 2 – in the job for 6 mos.
Level 3 – most experienced, capable of mentoring the other levels

Once they had identified people at different levels, they wanted to look at recognition, boast enthusiasm
-acheivement certs. – operators license
-super users – get certs. To demonstrate different levels of experience and knowledge
-site coord chooses different gifts for their libs. – showing appreciation for contribution on team
-opportunity to speak at nat’l conferences
-scholarship to conferences (don’t have to speak) – free trip – demonstrate knowledge

see their libs. Skills gained here are very valuable in other parts of lib. Orgs. – gives transferable skills

-like to find ways libs. Can communicate with each other across the service
-want the libs. To drive this rather than the management

-rumor that those work on this service get promoted – just a rumor, but a good one

-libs. At all levels are encouraged to be part of project teams

Questions from Audience:
Q: What is the email service like – acceptable turn around time – for Alberta
A: generall, @ 24 hrs

Q: to Alberta – how long do you keep questions from the service?
A: indefinitely
Q: if a quest. Is being asked over and over is there a way to access that?
A: on the staff side, yes – archive, not on the public side

Q: for Sweden; how does the funding model work?
A: on academic side, all libs. Participating pay for software and resources, pl side it can be by lib or by county depending on participation, they (U) maintain the main server

Q: Sweden: how is the cost allocated, based by size, or per library
A: flat fee per library, each lib. Gets 5 seats, never a problem

Q: Sweden: how do you account for the $12 vs. $6
A: complicated, we check many variables, staffing, quests. Resources used…

Q: Sweden: what was the base salary?
A: differs a lot between academic and public

Q: for Alberta: do you own Ask a Question.com?
A: no, we own the aska question.ca url - I do have a list of resources, lib services for other areas for people not in their area, could work with others to make this a wider project for all libs.

Q: if we could work together, if we all pointed to a particular site we could direct people better

Q: for Alberta: do you have a sense of your volume?
A: @ 1300/mo, not all that we provided answers for

Q: for nz: about collab. With academic libs. If you get quest. From college students what do you do?
A: Any school student can ask us a quest. We occasionally get college students we redirect them to a different service for them. Don’t ave academics – they’re not interested in answering quest. From 7 yr olds. But open to new partnerships

Q: for nz: are your libs. Paid beside their own jobs?
A: no, they’re not paid any extra, just their reg. salary from their org.

Q: how do you handle your target market isn’t using the service until after school?
A: we find that a lot of students only have access to computers during school so we do get students during the day as well as after school. Looking at extending hours into evening but not there yet

Q: we have problems with students going outside firewall on schools. How do you handle that:?
A: there are some sites they can’t go to, we ask before we go there.

Q: for nz: your paper?
A: I do have a paper presentation, I’ll email it to the symposium and hopefully they can put it up

Kris: we’ll have all presentations up on the home site at the end of the month

Q: for nz: promotions?
A: we have @ 5000-6000 homeschoolers, they got our promo material during initial marketing, don’t have a main target group, main focus on maori (native) students

Q: do you have libs. That speak maori?
A: yes, it was being underused, separate queue

Q: for Sweden: you mentioned 7th frame, a collab. Program?
A: it is the biggest research group in Europe, we work through this, you have to have at least members from 3 different countries to use this (like lsta)