Computers in Libraries 2005 Day 2 (Afternoon sessions)

1:45pm – Collaboration & IM: Breaking Down Boundaries (Michael Stephens and Aaron Schmidt)


  • 7 billion IM messages sent each day!
  • 60% of big businesses will be IMing by the end of this year… wow.
  • Conversation instead of sending letters
  • Interesting comment – a patron who he met through IM seemed one way online (vivacious) but in reality was timid.
  • Duke’s reference department is doing IM
  • Cool – reference librarian on a buddy list – you’re already in their sphere of influence
  • Trillian – stores chat transactions by default. Privacy concerns abound.


  • Internal IM
  • IM is replacing VR at his library
  • If you do log chats, let customers know you’re doing that
  • Utilize the nuances of IM.
  • Use the tool – create useful away messages

Michael’s Best Practices for IM (I didn’t catch all of them…)

  • make IM part of your technology plan
  • promote it! Put IM name on a card
  • Administration should be IMing
  • Train and encourage staff to do this
  • Add your IM name to your business cards

Aaron’s Best Practices:

  • Use multi-protocol IM software
  • Use away messages
  • speed over perfection in typing – communication is key, not the spell checker
  • use abbrev.
  • use online sources only if the best answer can be given from them
  • don’t panic

I also learned more about converging mobile handheld devices, how they’re changing, and how librarians can use them to their advantage, and I learned about LISNews (very cool setup).

For Friday’s sessions, I probably won’t post as much – my laptop’s heavy, and my shoulder’s getting sore (because I’m carrying it all day). That’s one bad thing about not being at the conference hotel – you have to lug around everything you want to keep with you (ie., laptop) ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT (if you plan on eating dinner around the Hilton, anyway).