Reference Gone Mobile Notes – ALPS December Meeting

Presented by panelists Debra Flewelling (Douglas College), Nicole Gjertsen (Simon Fraser University) and Joyce Wong (Langara College).

  • 93% students use phone for texting

Phone Based Service

This is where a library buys a phone and plan and passes the phone from librarian to librarian (whomever is on duty).

Pros:

  • cheap cost

Cons:

  • no statistics
  • cumbersome
  • asynchronous means a student might reply hours later when another librarian has the phone

Might start with phone as beta service, but will usually move to software based.

Software Based Service

Users send texts, which are then turned into emails sent to librarians. The reply emails are sent back to students as texts. Different setup options are available, such as shared or dedicated numbers.

Pros:

  • little or no change to workflow
  • automated message sent if unavailable
  • can do mass messaging campaigns
  • courtesy notice option

Con:

  • more expensive

Upside Wireless

  • somewhat of a monopoly in Canada
  • can share number or shortcut but needs – user needs to precede text with a specific word (e.g. Douglas or Langara)
  • dedicated line – more expensive, but more messages and dedicated

Some Statistics

Langara

dedicated phone and staff

  • 50% facilities/how/where
  • 22% ref/citation
  • rest known item/technology

SFU

recently extended hours
auto response with askaway or desk’s phone number if closed

  • 20% directional
  • 50% known item
  • 30% ref
  • 8am-6pm typically
  • few questions on weekends, but open
  • ~10 mins response time
  • ref questions usually referred to subject/liaison librarian

Considerations

  • must be careful of message size limit
  • should have quick turnaround time
  • may point to where can find answer instead of give answer
  • best practices and guidelines including local polices
  • need to work out workflow
  • might bring in other staff to answer non-reference questions

Marketing

  • keyword campaign – users text keyword to number to enter prize draw
  • posters and banners
  • tabletop mini-posters
  • social media of institution
  • website, especially mobile site
  • powerpoint slide for liaison libraries to add to their presentations
  • article or ads in student paper
  • QR codes
  • word of mouth

Can ask students where they found out about the service.

Published by

Cynthia

A librarian learning the ways of technology, accessibility, metadata, and people

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