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Set-up Your IM accounts

Choose a name.

We chose the following naming convention:

umsubjectlib - Examples include umchemlib (Meghan) and umphyslib (Kristi)


umnamelib - Examples include umjodylib or umtonylib.

The Reference Desk has a separate account and is generally named umsciref.

For the subject accounts and the Ref. Desk account, we chose a generic password. Subject accounts might get passed on so a generic password used for all accounts facilitates this process. Please ask the IM group for a recommended password before setting up your accounts.

Set Up Accounts for each of the following chat services:

- You can decline setting up a Yahoo e-mail address - just uncheck the box at the bottom of the first section next to Yahoo!Mail. You will be asked to verify your alternate e-mail address. Check your e-mail and click on the link they provide.

To add your picture:

  • Click on the My Account link at the top of the page (under the welcome message) after signing in to your Yahoo account.
  • Click on the Edit/Create Profiles link in the right hand column.
  • Click the Edit link next to your Yahoo ID. Click Edit Picture from the menu options in the blue bar near the top of the page.
  • Click Browse and locate a copy of your picture on your computer. Find the picture you want on your hard drive and click on the name of the picture and click Open. ( If you want to use the pic from the Sci/Eng website, download it to your computer.)
  • Click the Upload button.
The first time I tried this, instead of uploading my picture, it sent me to Yahoo Photo Gallery. I couldn't find any way to continue uploading my pic. I had to go back and start over and the upload was successful the second time. If you find a way around this problem, let me know.


To add your picture: Note: Tthe image you use must be no more than 64 pixels wide or high.

  • Download and install AIM.
  • Log in to AIM. Click on the MY AIM Menu option. Select Edit Options and then Edit Preferences.
  • Click on Expressions in the Category box on the left.
  • Click on the Browse PC button in the pop-up window that appears.
  • Locate your picture on the hard drive of your computer and select it. Click the Select button.
  • Click O.K.

MSN – click on Sign In in the middle of the blue bar under the search box.

To add your picture:

  • Download and install Messenger.
  • Log in to Messenger. Click on the Show Menu option (in the upper right hand corner next to the minimize, maximize, and close options).
  • Mouse over the Tools option and click on Change Display Picture.
  • Click on the Browse button in the pop-up window that appears.
  • Locate your picture on the hard drive of your computer and select it. Click the open button.
  • Click O.K.

GMAIL - you need an invitation (or a cell phone) to set up this account…if you don’t have an account you can use to invite yourself….contact Kristi, Meghan, Jody or Tony.

To add your picture:

  • Click on settings (in the upper right hand corner).
  • Click on the select picture link in the My Picture option (found under the General settings tab).
  • Click on the Browse button in the pop-up window that appears.
  • Locate your picture on the hard drive of your computer and select it. Click the open button.
  • Click the upload button.
  • Move and/or resize the crop box that appears over your picture until what you would like to display is included in the box. Click on the Crop the picture button.

Jabber (set this up later in GAIM – under Accounts) – see the Instructions below on adding your accounts to GAIM.

UMN Chat – Set this up with your x500 i.d. You must first initiate your account.

Download and install GAIM.

How to add your accounts to GAIM

Open GAIM.

Click on the Tools menu (at the top) and select Accounts.

A new window will on the Add button at the bottom of this window.

Another window opens. Select the appropriate protocol and enter your screen name and password for that account.

Click on the Auto-login box if you would like this account to be logged in whenever you open GAIM.

You will need to enter the as part of your screen name when adding a hotmail account.

Select Jabber as the protocol when setting up your Google Talk account. Enter in the Server: box (under the Screen Name). Click on the Show more options box and change the Connect Server: information to

For your UMN jabber account, select Jabber as the protocol and enter in the Server: box.

To create a Jabber account: select Jabber as the protocol, enter a screen name, enter in the Server: box, enter a password, and then click Register near the bottom of the screen.

Setting up internal buddies

In order to facilitate internal communication, add two or more of the aliases for each of your colleagues to your buddy list.

Instructions for adding buddies in GAIM:

  1. Click on Buddies in the menu at the top of the page. Choose Add Group from the drop down menu. Create a Sci/Eng Reference Group. (This step is optional. If you don't want to separate your Sci/Eng buddies from other buddies, you can skip this step.)
  2. Again click on the Buddies menu Item at the top. Choose Add Buddy from the drop down menu. (You can use Ctrl +B too.)
  3. Enter the appropriate information in the Add Buddy Box that appears.
    • The screen name for the person you are adding, e.g., umchemlib for Meghan or umtonylib for Tony. You may have to enter additional information after the screen name. For an MSN account enter or for Google Talk enter
    • The alias for the person you are adding - their full name or other information that helps you identify them.
    • Choose the group you want to add them to - e.g., Sci/Eng Reference.
    • Choose your Account that matches the account you are adding. MSN for MNS accounts, Yahoo for Yahoo accounts, etc.

Setting up away messages

Changing Preferences:
To begin, click on the Tools menu in GAIM and choose preferences. (Or Ctrl + P.)

Sounds - You may want to uncheck some of the sound options. For example, you may want to just check the boxes for the message recieved and the message sent options. This is all optional and depends on what you like. You can change this after you have played with GAIM for a while.

Logging: Uncheck all boxes on this screen. Due to privacy issues for patrons, we do not want to save the logs from our sessions.

Away/Idle preferences:

  • Click on Away/Idle in the Preferences menu on the left.
  • Check the box next to Queue new messages when away.
  • Uncheck the box next to Set away when idle.

Things to do when chatting at the reference desk:

  • If you are busy with a patron or walking away from the desk, set the chat message as Busy. To do this:
    • Click on Tools in the menu at the top of the GAIM screen.
    • Click Away from the menu that appears.
    • Click Set All Away (at the bottom othe menu that appears).
    • Click on the Busy option.
    • A small window should pop up with the Busy message.

  • If you need to refer a patron to someone else who is available via chat:
    • Contact that person via chat and make sure they are available.
    • Copy the transcript from the patron chat window and send it to the person you are referring the question to - if you think it will be helpful.
    • Tell the patron that another librarian will be immediately contacting them and provide them with the screen name for the other Sci/Eng staff member.
    • Ask the other Sci/Eng staff member to contact the patron now.

    Other Resources of Interest:

    Common IM Acronyms and Emoticons

    Text Messaging Abbreviations

    IM and Libraries - a list of resources

  • Social Media

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