2008-01-19Konferenzveröffentlichung DOI: 10.18452/1314
What Librarians Need2Know
Instant Messaging and Chat as Reference Services in Public Libraries
Nielsen, Hans Jørn
Need2Know is the name of a test work made by the public libraries of Aalborg, Denmark. Using MSN Messenger as a tool for synchronous reference service the project tested if it is possible to reach new library users with instant messaging as a platform. The authors of this paper followed the test work as researchers. The paper does not give a detailed report or evaluation of the test work but presents the project and discusses the implications of the use of instant messaging and new media in the public library. The test work was a great success. A contract with Microsoft provided banner spots exposing Need2Know to MSN users, and 700 users signed up for the service. The users were mostly young people at the age of 12-15 years, a group of users who in recent years has deselected the library. The conclusion is that instant messaging is an excellent communication tool for reaching young people. Based on research literature in the field the paper discusses the kind and quality of synchronous reference service and the qualifications needed by the librarian. Instant messaging has lately been related to the phenomenon of Web 2.0, and the paper also refers to Web 2.0, especially to the aspects of distributed services versus the library as a physical and virtual unit. Should the library be an equal among equals in a common knowledge sharing of user communities? Or will users still expect the public library to be a confidential guide in the jungle of information?
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