Tisch Library

Tisch Library homepage

Tisch Library homepage

Tisch Library, at Tufts University, makes use of several Library 2.0 services. It is somewhat difficult to find where these services are located from the library home page, as they are scattered throughout the various drop-down menus at the top. One of these, the ability to instant message (IM) a librarian, is featured prominently on most of the website’s pages. A small, relatively non-intrusive box occupies the top right side of the page, and allows website visitors to ask a librarian any question (provided that the librarian is online). This is a welcome service, providing users not only access to librarian help for reference type questions, but also for website navigation and other issues with using their online services. One drawback to the embedded chat window might be the added navigational difficulties in working with multiple applications simultaneously. To get around this, users are offered the option of connecting to “TischLibrarian” (the reference librarian available for online questions) through other chat clients, such as Yahoo!, AIM, or Gmail, but the actual method to do so is not mentioned on the contact page.

Another option for contacting the Reference Desk is through text message. In the same vein as IM, this method is available as long as the Reference Desk is open and offers an alternative way of reaching reference help for (mostly) instant service. An issue that may come up is the limitation of the mobile phone as the access point. Typing longer messages on phones is generally not as easy or convenient as on a computer, and reading them is just as inconvenient.

Tisch library podcasts

Tisch library podcasts list

Tisch Library also offers information via RSS Feeds and podcasts. The RSS Feeds include Featured Resources, Did You Know, What Sophia Recommends, and New DVDs at the Tisch Library Media Center. RSS feeds can be a great way to keep users up to date on new developments and resources, which is what these particular feeds were created for. Unfortunately, it appears that they haven’t been updated since mid-2010. In much the same way, while the library offers an interesting mix of both audio and video podcasts, it seems that new material has not been added since 2009.

Tisch RSS feeds

Tisch RSS feeds

Offering ways to keep abreast of news from the library through RSS Feeds and podcasts is a great idea, but only if they are maintained diligently and often. Having out-of-date or discontinued services can take away from the library’s perceived commitment to providing information to the user in a variety of ways. Another problem with using these kinds of services is that the frequency of updates is directly related to amount of exposure they can provide.

The ability to contact the Reference Desk through IM and text is also a great way to increase the accessibility and visibility of the library’s services. Perhaps placing more emphasis on the service by advertising, or creating podcasts, videocasts or even an “about” page would help increase usage even more.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: