April 22, 2005
IM'ers not digital reference chatters? [Part 2]
Wow - response to the humble little IM survey has been unexpectedly overwhelming! It's been up for just under a week, and so far 170 people have responded. After being up for just under 2 days, we were nearing the 100 maximum that you get with SurveyMonkey's basic (free) account. We upgraded just in the nick of time in order to continue collecting responses - we were at 99! I'll probably keep it up through the weekend and take it down on Sunday, at which point I'll share the final results. However, the way it's looking right now, Sarah Houghton's predictions are dead on.
Some of what I find most interesting about this are the open-ended comments that students have been leaving. Here's a sample:
"Being able to instant message a librarian is just as helpful as calling or e-mailing. I would not do any of these unless I was not able to come in person to ask for help."
"IM services would be fantastic since you can ask questions from anywhere in the building or at home."
" I think this would be a good idea. Most kids are inseparable from IM."
"PLEASE do NOT make instant messaging available in the library. I know students will sit at the computer for HOURS talking to their online "pals" while other students (who actually NEED the computers to do their homework) won't be able to find a computer. I am certain that students will abuse the privelege and IM'ing will be a worse plague than "party poker" in our computer labs . . . "
"I'd imagine it's difficult to convey what you need help with in a library without talking face to face."
"I believe it would be a brilliant idea to offer library assistance through instant messaging, as I have found online counseling through instant messaging also very useful. Eventually, I believe, all university services should in one way or another be expanded to the internet. Another reason it would greatly benefit UNLV is that many students must commute to school from long distances . . . Any services offered online I greatly appreciate."
"That's a great idea! R&I IM!"
"I did not know that a person could chat with a librarian online . . ."
"An instant messegain service would be great because I usually do my research from home on the computer, so if I have a question, it would really be helpful to be able to speak to someone instantly."
"Kudos to linking to the Instant Messaging deifition in the Wikipedia from the Library's website. It's nice to know that UNLV's librarians are up-to-date on things such as the Wikipedia. The idea of Instant Messaging for help sounds wonderful. If it isn't a nuisance and is setup that a librarian at the help desk runs AIM in the background as she/he helps in-person patrons and then additionally helps online patrons, this could become a successful way to reach and help students."
Interesting stuff! More to come . . .