Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Documentation, Test Chat, and Excuses

I'm going to go with the excuses first (as in, excuses for why I have neither posted to this blog nor Twitter'ed nor really played with LibraryH3lp for 2 weeks). My excuses are:

3. Accreditation--our school had our on-site accreditation visit last week, so everyone's
attention was focused on that.

2. End of semester workshop! I planned and gave a workshop on research tips for the end of
the semester, along with someone from our writing center. We had 2 participants, which I say
is better than 0, and I learned a little bit about marketing on campus (and that I need to learn
MORE about it for next semester).


1. End of semester CRUNCH. This is actually the real excuse, and I think it's a pretty good one. With the end of the semester looming near, students are coming in droves (well, at least in much higher numbers than they were before) to use the reference desk. Hooray! This is what I especially like about my job, so I am not sorry that it leaves me less time for playing with technology. However, it does, so I will be playing a lot less for the next 2-3 weeks. Just so all you pretend readers out there won't be worried.

Ok, now onto the other two topics.

I found a wealth of documentation on using LibraryH3lp, at both the LibraryH3lp blog (http://libraryh3lp.blogspot.com/) and at the LibraryH3lp Google group (http://groups.google.com/group/libraryh3lp). They each have different strengths--the blog comes straight from the developers, and is also the place where new features are announced. The Google group is great because it consists of librarians from all over, many of whom are actively using LibraryH3lp. They also have archives, although I haven't figured out if the search feature works well (yes, it's Google, but then again, it's Google). I will likely be consulting the group soon, because...

I conducted my first multi-computer test chat today! Overall, it went pretty well. I did not use the LibraryH3lp widget for the patron end (I will try that next time), but the AIM gateway worked fine (now that there is an AIM account to link to the gateway...). I did encounter a couple problems/question areas:
  1. I was able to send a link from one of our databases to the "patron," but I don't know if this would work to an off-campus computer. I also don't know if this is the same as "pushing" pages, and if LibraryH3lp does the latter. The other problem with this is that, when I sent a second link and then (as the patron) clicked on that link, the new address took the place of the old one in the pop-up window. A new window didn't pop up, and I couldn't open a new tab even manually, I was using Internet Explorer to access AIM online, if this makes any difference.

  2. I had trouble with the librarian on Firefox (my set up was two "librarians" on Firefox and Internet Explorer on one computer, with the "patron" on a second computer, also on Internet Explorer) getting booted out of the webchat client. I don't know if it was because this computer does not have Adobe Flash installed in Firefox (and I can't get it installed without going through our systems librarian, and maybe the IT department) or for some other reason. It happened whenever I left the computer, or even just that tab in Firefox, for any length of time.
The next time I have "technology exploration" time, I will contact the Google group with these issues, unless I figure out how to resolve them on my own. I've already shown LibraryH3lp to one of my fellow reference librarians, and hopefully I'll show it to another later this week or early next. In the meantime, I will play and post as much as the end of semester crunch will allow!

1 comment:

Astra Libris said...

Libby, I am SO excited that you found my blog!! It's wonderful hearing from you! I didn't know you had a blog - too awesome! I love reading about your work and research, and I love that you include book reviews too!

I am indeed still leading crochet revolutions... :-) Just last month a friend of ours stopped in to stay the night on her way back to grad school in North Carolina, and by the end of the evening I had her crocheting! :-) Never fear, the crochet legacy marches on! :-)

Are you still crocheting? How is your beautiful baby boy?? :-)