Friday, July 6, 2007

IM, My Space and Second Life

As an exercise for the "Building a Successful eBranch" class, we were instructed to review some library sites in these venues, and create some accounts. Here are some of my observations:

IM services (Princeton University, Santa CLara University and the St. Charles Public Library)
All three of these libraries did a nice job of presenting the IM reference services and linking to the IM providers. I particularly liked SCU’s Ask a Librarian page- nicely laid out and clear. Downloading the MSN messenger was a bit strenuous – more personal info than I like to divulge, and a blatant attempt to upsell their other services. I have to add a few buddies before I can evaluate. I am particularly interested in the live video messaging- could be a good reference format.

My Space pages (Denver Public Library, University of Texas Libraries and the Thomas Ford Memorial Library):
I understand and appreciate the need to meet the patrons where they are, but not sure how effective this is- it may be perceived as an adult intrusion, or an attempt to be cool. The Denver site was the best- lots of content and it looks like it’s current and has participation. The UT site also has friends, although not that much content that I could see. The Thomas Ford page looked lonesome, and sounded a bit plaintive- only 8 friends (that’s more than I have, but still…) When your last entry is “Hey does anybody ever check this thing anymore?”, it might be time for a new tactic.

Second Life:
Second Life is hard work. I created an avatar some months ago- Dewdrop Raymaker- and went back recently to wander around. In my absence, a newer version was released and required a reinstallation of the application. After two tries, the new version was downloaded and installed (hopefully uninstalling the old version in the process) and I was finally able to log in. Not that I know what to do once I’m there. The learning curve is steep, not at all intuitive for the novice player.

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