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January Issue of Computers in Libraries

This month's Computers in Libraries has two articles I want to recommend:

Janet Balas, in eLearning About Library 2.0, gives a good overview of Library 2.0 where she concludes:

Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 may seem like just the latest technology catch phrase, but what is most important about Library 2.0 is its emphasis on service. As librarians we are all striving to provide the best possible service to our users, employing new technologies to help us achieve that goal. For Library 2.0 to be more than just a catch phrase, it must result in a library that's responsive to the needs of its users.

Ronalee Ciocco and Alice Huff write about a subject near to me in Mission Impossible: Starting an Instant Messaging Reference Service Using Trillian. This is exactly what we did here at MPOW last year when Meg Wilson and I started an IM reference service called AskGCPL. We, too, used Trillian and have found it to be a very usable tool in pulling together the various IM services. Their closing paragraphs sum up their experience and match what we have found in our own local implementation of Trillian-based IM reference:

But students are so comfortable with the IM environment that these drawbacks have not been a problem. In fact, the students have frequently commented on how much they appreciate it. I was teaching an information literacy class a few weeks ago and at the end I was encouraging the students to ask questions later as they were working on their assignment. When I mentioned IM, a student excitedly said, "I love that you do that!" Trillian is now the standard campus chat application and is loaded on all campus machines.

The seemingly IM-possible mission has been a success in our view for everyone involved. Alice and I set up the service with no problems, no software purchase, no server purchase, and quick configuration. The reference librarians have been able to communicate with students in another way and expand our services to reach more of them. And the students have another way to contact librarians-a way they find comfortable and convenient.

The newest Computers in Libraries is available through ProQuest and (soon) online at the InfoToday web site.