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David Lee King

More MeeboMe Ideas



Wow – there have been lots of comments on the MeeboMe widget. Great! Some other libraries are trying it out – check the comments on my original post and on Jenny Levine’s post titled Mashing on the Library, Part I to find them. Others have been emailing me, asking for details.

Now, let’s take this one further – where else can you embed this thing? For example, Edward had a great idea (left it in my comments). He said “Very cool. I think I might go ahead and add this to our log-in failed page for EzProxy.” Great idea, Edward!

And that made me think… I’ll bet there are other good places to embed something like this. For example, my library’s looking into other places to drop it in the catalog, like on the search results page (idea swiped from Paul Pival).

Think about it like this – where do your patrons get hung up? What stops them… confuses them… makes them click away? Maybe that’s a good place to embed a MeeboMe widget (or something similar). Don’t think “well, I put a link to a Help file there, so that’s good enough.” Come on – do YOU click that Help link? That’s like removing the Information Desk and replacing it with a bin of tipsheets on using the Dewey Decimal System!

Finally, a couple of commenters have mentioned being wary of embedding an IM widget in the catalog because it’s not a 24/7 service. My thoughts:

  • Well… it CAN be a 24/7 service, if you’re willing to not sleep :-)
  • I think the focus is off – you’re concerned with what is most likely a very small minority of patrons searching the catalog at 2am. Instead, focus on helping the majority of your patrons… and add text stating your IM hours.
  • Most 24/7 virtual chat reference services (the only thing I can think of providing 24/7 live help) have people in other libraries answering those 2 am questions… do you really want someone at another library answering a question about YOUR library catalog? Maybe yes, maybe no…

Are you planning to embed a meeboMe widget in your catalog? Leave a comment!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    I originally commented over at Library Techbytes about putting the meeboo widget in the catalog sidebar. That way, any time you perform a search, the chat box is there. A problem with that could be that it falls into the background, or people don’t know what it is. If it is in the error page, like you have, it is very specific and clear. Virtual reference is typically more successful as 24/7 as it welcomes the patron to get help any time. 24/7 results in peaking the time the library is normally open instead of when it is not. I will try the sidebar in January as we are going to have more digital offerings from the library catalog at that time. I can see placing this in the databases bar as well as we see people have problems there too.

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com Jeff

    I originally commented over at Library Techbytes about putting the meeboo widget in the catalog sidebar. That way, any time you perform a search, the chat box is there. A problem with that could be that it falls into the background, or people don’t know what it is. If it is in the error page, like you have, it is very specific and clear. Virtual reference is typically more successful as 24/7 as it welcomes the patron to get help any time. 24/7 results in peaking the time the library is normally open instead of when it is not. I will try the sidebar in January as we are going to have more digital offerings from the library catalog at that time. I can see placing this in the databases bar as well as we see people have problems there too.

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com Jeff

    Another thought. You could do this 24/7 if you partnered with other libraries around the globe. if not 24/7 it would extend the reach beyond normal library hours. They do this with questionpoint, the only difference is that they have a paid librarian from oclc covering the night hours. I bet a consortium of libraries could pay a librarian to do that and work in this global way using meebo.

  • http://libraryrevolution.com/ Emily C

    I’m not actually thinking so much about the 2am question… more about the 10pm one. That’s a pretty peak time for the users of our county catalog, and out libraries are not open.

  • http://libraryrevolution.com Emily C

    I’m not actually thinking so much about the 2am question… more about the 10pm one. That’s a pretty peak time for the users of our county catalog, and out libraries are not open.

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    Emily,

    Well if you are back East, you can partner with a library out West. Then if you close at 7pm, with the time difference, west coast libraries are open at that time. Hawaii would be popular in coverage well into the evening :)

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com Jeff

    Emily,

    Well if you are back East, you can partner with a library out West. Then if you close at 7pm, with the time difference, west coast libraries are open at that time. Hawaii would be popular in coverage well into the evening :)

  • Lissa

    I work at TSCPL where we are trying the meebo widget in the catalog, and we current only staff our meebo reference 9-5:30, Monday through Friday, which is about half of the hours the library is open, and about 25% of 24/7. We haven’t figured out how to staff meebo for evenings and weekends yet, so 24/7 is extremely ambitious. When assigned to meebo reference, I am also trying to answer the telephone reference line, and I’ve had many tricky situations from that.My other comment is that at least in my experience with our meebo questions, I have almost always needed access to the staff side of our library’s catalog and usually I have gone to check the shelf for an item, or called another department to confirm an answer. Those are issues that would prevent me from answering these from outside of my particular library I think, at least at this point. Have other libraries found workarounds for these issues?

  • Lissa

    I work at TSCPL where we are trying the meebo widget in the catalog, and we current only staff our meebo reference 9-5:30, Monday through Friday, which is about half of the hours the library is open, and about 25% of 24/7. We haven’t figured out how to staff meebo for evenings and weekends yet, so 24/7 is extremely ambitious. When assigned to meebo reference, I am also trying to answer the telephone reference line, and I’ve had many tricky situations from that.My other comment is that at least in my experience with our meebo questions, I have almost always needed access to the staff side of our library’s catalog and usually I have gone to check the shelf for an item, or called another department to confirm an answer. Those are issues that would prevent me from answering these from outside of my particular library I think, at least at this point. Have other libraries found workarounds for these issues?

  • http://infodoodads.com/ Laurie

    We have our general reference meebo widget on every page, except the catalog. However, meebo is only staffed from about 10 in the morning until about midnight.

    On our course assignment web pages we’ve turned off the general reference widget so that librarians can add their own widget. Here’s an example on one of my pages: http://ica.library.oregonstate.edu/Course_Assignment_Page/327

    Interestingly, I get a lot of comments on my meebo widget when I’m not online, and they are usually thanking me for help I’ve provided previously.

  • http://infodoodads.com Laurie

    We have our general reference meebo widget on every page, except the catalog. However, meebo is only staffed from about 10 in the morning until about midnight.

    On our course assignment web pages we’ve turned off the general reference widget so that librarians can add their own widget. Here’s an example on one of my pages: http://ica.library.oregonstate.edu/Course_Assignment_Page/327

    Interestingly, I get a lot of comments on my meebo widget when I’m not online, and they are usually thanking me for help I’ve provided previously.

  • http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Willen Brown

    even with the limitations in hours, this remains a great idea.

    It reminds me of roving the library, stopping patrons who look perplexed and asking “are you finding what you need?” Sometimes they say “no, I’m looking for my spouse” Sometimes they say “yes! can you help me find XYZ?” And sometimes we’re NOT there to ask them and they DO need our help. Oh well. We can’t be perfect, we can’t always be there, but through the wonder of technology we CAN “be there” virtually in ways we couldn’t before, and we should try it.

    Not all the time, not perfect, but sometimes, occasionally, helping one or two patrons — that’s a good start. It’s “good enough” which is starting to be my new mantra.

  • http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Willen Brown

    even with the limitations in hours, this remains a great idea.

    It reminds me of roving the library, stopping patrons who look perplexed and asking “are you finding what you need?” Sometimes they say “no, I’m looking for my spouse” Sometimes they say “yes! can you help me find XYZ?” And sometimes we’re NOT there to ask them and they DO need our help. Oh well. We can’t be perfect, we can’t always be there, but through the wonder of technology we CAN “be there” virtually in ways we couldn’t before, and we should try it.

    Not all the time, not perfect, but sometimes, occasionally, helping one or two patrons — that’s a good start. It’s “good enough” which is starting to be my new mantra.

  • Libraraga

    Since this topic is very new to me, I’d like to ask a couple of questions. In a library which has a few branches, how do you ensure that each branch gets its share of questions? I work in a college library system, which has 16 branches. Even though we are ‘governed’ by a central body, we are quite separate, but we do have one catalogue. How would we get our users to contact us through MeeboMe, and not a different college library? Thnx.

  • Libraraga

    Since this topic is very new to me, I’d like to ask a couple of questions. In a library which has a few branches, how do you ensure that each branch gets its share of questions? I work in a college library system, which has 16 branches. Even though we are ‘governed’ by a central body, we are quite separate, but we do have one catalogue. How would we get our users to contact us through MeeboMe, and not a different college library? Thnx.

  • davidleeking

    Libraraga – since your different branches are sharing one catalog, you’d need to share the meebome duties as well. That might be a little funky at times, depending on how else you’re using IM reference. So you’d need to have a chat with everyone involved (probably the ref people at the different branches/libraries) to figure out what’s needed, how to handle it, etc.

    Academic readers – any other suggestions?

  • davidleeking

    Libraraga – since your different branches are sharing one catalog, you’d need to share the meebome duties as well. That might be a little funky at times, depending on how else you’re using IM reference. So you’d need to have a chat with everyone involved (probably the ref people at the different branches/libraries) to figure out what’s needed, how to handle it, etc.

    Academic readers – any other suggestions?

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  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    Another thought. You could do this 24/7 if you partnered with other libraries around the globe. if not 24/7 it would extend the reach beyond normal library hours. They do this with questionpoint, the only difference is that they have a paid librarian from oclc covering the night hours. I bet a consortium of libraries could pay a librarian to do that and work in this global way using meebo.