Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chronicle: Librarians Answer Reference Questions with Text Messages

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, academic libraries are gradually adopting new technologies to answer students' reference questions.

For a student who doesn't want to swing by the reference desk, there are plenty of other ways to ask a librarian a question—instant messaging, e-mail, a phone call. And now, on a growing number of campuses, students can ask questions with text messages.


Students text a question to an advertised number during library hours, and an alert appears on the computer screen of any librarian who is signed into the library's instant-messaging service. The librarian uses the computer to send a text message back to the student's cellphone.

I find this very fascinating. As more libraries become accustomed to the use of instant messaging software such as meebo, cell phone communication is the next step in enhancing outreach to users' information needs. It makes library services more accessible and valuable to the community.

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