Week 5: Instant messaging and VoIP reference services

25 Aug

In this digital era, virtual reference services become an indispensable part of reference services in almost all the libraries. The main media for these services are emails, instant messaging (IM) and VoIP. The following table is the picture of the current reference services types in my mind:

 reference types-week5

Instant messaging and VoIP are normally considered as synchronous tools using by librarians (Ponting, 2013, para. 5). They are similar to face-to-face reference service. The users are expecting to get the answers at once. If they use email, they usually could not get the answers as fast as in the synchronous communications.

According to the nature of the question, the patron, the librarian and the situation, a question might be best to be asked online by using IM or/and VoIP. For simple, direct questions, people may prefer using online services. Comparing to the face to face reference, the virtual service is external service, because there is certain distance between the patron and the librarian. So, people may think virtual reference service lacks real person contact. It seems hard to get a satisfied result through online communication channel for a complex query. Without seeing/feeling the body language clearly, the barriers of the communication are more in online consultations. However, sometime people prefer to ask librarian through the internet, because they could not arrive in the physical place. In addition to it, the evolving technologies keep enriching the ways that the online services can do. For example, people can use attachment (for audio/video, images and other kinds of documents) when they chat (or use Skype) with the librarians now. Through video calling, the difference between the two becomes smaller.

The preference between IM and VoIP varies among different people. Most people are used to only use IM in the library, even VoIP are prepared for them. For example, the usage rate of Skype a Librarian services was much lower than the usage rate of IM reference services in Ohio University (Booth, 2010). But, the development of the technologies and the changing of the experience might push people to use VoIP more. Booth (2010) states that the students might find Skype to be the most convenient tools in library reference service in the future. Thus, some libraries have already integrated VoIP into online chat interface.


Ponting, D. (2013). INN333 Information Organisation: Learning resources: Week 5: Synchronous and asynchronous communication tools: Instant messaging. Retrieved 25 August, 2013 from http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FcourseMain%3Fcourse_id%3D_103802_1

Booth, C. (2010). Chapter 4: VoIP in Reference, User Services, and Instruction. Library Technology Reports, 46(5), 25-31. Retrieved 25 August, 2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=b6779767-0e39-47a7-93e6-0a90efa66e5c%40sessionmgr4&vid=1&hid=25&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=afh&jid=LTR


First Skype session

25 Aug

This week (week 5), I’ve learned the knowledge about that how people communicate through instant message, VoIP and Video chat. For my relevant practice, I have created my own account for Skype (user name is msjingwu). I have invited the people within this unit group on facebook website. It is nice to chat with people through Skype. The following is the screenshot of one of the chat session.

skype session

From this chat session, I realized that I could chat to several people at the same time! So, I hope I could type faster to save people’s time! Or I may make a conference call instead.

This experience has enhanced my thinking about instance messaging. I have used the chat to librarian function several times on several libraries’ website before this session. I have also communicated overseas with my parents through the VoipStunt (see the right corner of the above screenshot) account for several years. I have used QQ, which is popular in China, to have a video chat sometimes. But these experiences are all 1-on-1 sessions.  Through this week’s learning, I have just known the feature of using Skype to communicate within a group and some other features. In the future, I will use these functions to improve all the groups work, as it seems a good way for me!

Week 4: The role of curation tools in libraries

18 Aug

This week, I’ve learned about how to use some curation tools for organize certain information. I think these tools are useful for librarians, because they can be used to form items in the library website or in other channels for certain patrons to look up on some specific topics.

The role of a curator is to

“Collect, filter, analyze and pass on or deliver select items from the wealth of electronic content that is produced every day”.

People can get high quality and proper chunks of information through these materials. Information overload is already the information which is overloaded in this era. People need to get only the right information for their lives. The Curation tools are just like filters when using by an experienced person. For example, the Storify content shown in the unit site in QUT Blackboard site, is the relevant information displayed in a single place for specific readers. So the readers only explore all the essential information organized by the professionals. In this way, good effects for education which is stated by Sykes can be achieved. Same as the talk by the journalist, Scoble, in YouTube, online curation is important to let people get proper information which is more valuable than the rest of the information.

In a library, the needs for patrons can be met by supply them these certain curated items. It will save them huge amount of time which would otherwise be wasted on the web for nothing. As an information professional, the ability to be a curator is a basic skill. For a librarian, to organize online information is one of the normal daily tasks.  If librarians can use the curation tools to enhance services, it will create meaningful user experience for the relevant clients.

The tool, Storify seems to be an easy tool to curate information on the web by librarians. When I tried to organize the information by using it for the first time yesterday, I found it’s easy than I thought. But I still have to figure out some functions. I also like the tool, Pinterest, used by Yarra Plenty Regional Library. It is a nice curation tool as well.

In conclusion, I think the role of curation tools could be regarded as important service tools for library. Library online service items can be delivered to patrons by using the curation tools, such as Storify.

My first Storify

18 Aug

I have tried one of the curation tools, Storify. Hope you enjoy! Give me feedback if you can.

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Week 3: The role of blogging and tweeting for my study

11 Aug

The role I think blogging and tweeting will have in my learning is essential in this unit. I am now learning information programs. Blogs and tweets are just part of the learning contents. To be good at this unit, I have to learn how to be good at blogging and tweeting.

Blogs and tweets will form good learning networks for me from now on. I have just created another new network, on Twitter, for my personal learning today. To be a professional, especially in information study domain, I should keep renewing my knowledge.  Having many essential timely learning channels would keep me being well-informed. Blogs (including microblogs) are some timely learning channels which will prevent me from staying behind.

Blogs’ functions:

  • Blogging and tweeting are activities that I can give out my personal opinions and questions. In return, I could get help and some comments which are very valuable. It will also encourage me to learn more.
  • Even if I just look through some of the tweets or blogs, I will get some new information about what’s going on recently.

Learning opportunities are immense on the internet. More than 2000 years ago, it was said by a famous educator, Confucius, that,

“In a group of three people, there is always something I can learn from.”

But, in this information overload era, most people would intend to refuse to get too much information to some extent.

Beyond this unit, I think microblogs (Twitter) would be more efficient for me in my studying progress. Because I think if I can filter the information properly, like using #, I would not get too much information that is irrelevant for me. As Davis’ talking in her video from learning resources in week 1 on QUT Blackboard, I think I can understand what # means on Twitter. In this way, if I find that the person gives me interesting information on twitter, I will go to the relevant blogs or other sites to explore more.

I will use Twitter after this semester, not for killing time! I might continue to use a blog, if I have time to manage it on time after this semester, to enhance my online identity and PLN!

Week 2: Online identity reflection

4 Aug


My online identity is under construction now! I only have 2 new identity “cards”: a facebook identity “card” and a website (blogs) one. I will get more. I hope my virtual identity will be clear in the next few weeks. Before this unit study, I have not got any online identity except the email accounts with a private nature comparing to the open social networks. In general, I would not want to be too open to strangers. That why I had not signed up in Facebook before. After I have learned through all the week1 contents for INN333 unit shown in the Blackboard, I am able to confidently set up my Facebook account. I have not got a good photo to show myself yet. Maybe I will not add my photo in future.

Online identity is important for a professional, because it will be helpful to set up a good PLN. Good personal learning networks (PLN) would be beneficial for everyone. For example, there was a problem which I did not know how to solve: when I logged in to the account, I found that my first post setting is public, but all the others are only limited to INN333 group. I tried to change the setting to the same as others, but I failed to make it. Luckly, Kahli helped me immediately after I asked in the Facebook. PLN is really useful when people have questions!

To make me comfortable and confident, I would like to share my opinions about some professional development. A website (blogs) and Facebook are 2 aspects of the virtual world identity, therefore it is crucial to set them properly.  After I looked through all the contents for week1&2 in Blackboard, I can clearly understand the concept of online identity.

Reputation would add good value on the online identity.

The easiest way to build your online reputation is to attach your real name and a link to your web site to the things you’re really passionate about.

The politeness will bring reputation too. I need to remember all the proper conventions that I need to pay attention to, such as some blogs etiquette.

Now I changed my blogs platform from Blogger to WordPress, hoping that it will bring more professional effect.  My blogs website has basic characters now, so I need to make it look more professional shortly to have good reputation. I would try my best to have an invaluable online identity in future.