Chad Boeninger has a comprehensive post at Library Voice describing how to view your MeeboMe widgets while using Pidgin (formerly GAIM), thus obviating the need to have Meebo open in a website at all. I haven't tried Pidgin in a long time, but would LOVE not to have to have a web page open in order to receive chats via the MeeboMe widget, so I'll be trying this one out. In the comments, Caleb points out that "you can monitor MeeboMe with any XMPP client", which makes me think that Trillian Pro might be able to be made to talk to MeeboMe as well.
Technorati Tags: IM, Meebo, Pidgin
One of the nice things about Google taking over the Newsgroup and archives several years ago is that I can subscribe to them with an RSS feed and consume them along with the rest of my daily updates. One of the ones I subscribe to is the local forsale newsgroup, and this AM I noticed the following posting:
I'm a U of A alumnus in Calgary and I need to do some online library research at the U of C for the next month. I need to borrow a UofC library card. No books will be taken out. Any charges guaranteed covered. Best offer.Of course it's a violation of our licenses and the Terms of Service each student signs to share their ID numbers. I responded in the newsgroup:
Wonder if he'll bother to respond? Wonder if the rest of the group will flame me? How's that for being ubiquitous? ;-)
Rather than enticing a current student to break his/her terms of service re: their ID card, why not come to campus - you can use any of our databases w/o authorization as a walk-in user. Did you know that Calgary Public Library also offers a pretty good suite of online databases? http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/elibrary/
Hope this helps, your friendly neighborhood Newsgroup-reading librarian,Paul
One of the nicest features of Meebo is that it can be used w/o any installation - if you've got access to the web you can use it. One of the nicest features of Trillian is that it also includes Google Talk in its stable. I just saw this video of the upcoming release (no date yet) of Trillian Astra in which the developer suggests Astra will have a web interface as well:
The other killer feature of Meebo for me is the MeeboMe widget, which allows anyone to chat instantly even w/o an account on any service. If Trillian Astra offered a web-embeddable widget AND allowed me to interface with all four of the big IM clients I'd probably switch. Personally I prefer to have a client on my desktop as well, so if Astra offers the choice of client or web, and if they offer a widget (I've seen no mention that they are though, unless this is it), I'd be pretty darn happy!
Technorati Tags: Meebo, Trillian, IM, Astra
Meebo certainly seems to be the weapon of choice, at least amongst libraries, but did you realize there are other web-based IM options out there? Robin Good provides details on a cool dozen in his post, Web-Based Instant Messengers: A Mini-Guide. Don't want to Meebo, why not Snimmer or Mabber? (the names aren't all that silly).
Technorati Tags: IM, Meebo, Chat, KoolIM, eBuddy, Radius, Snimmer, Mabber, EasyMeessenger, IMunitive, Messenger_FX
Sarah at LibrarianInBlack points out that the new chat rooms launched by Meebo this week can in fact be used as a rudimentary shared browsing tool. I tried it and she's right - it's better than nothing.
What is nice is that it'll work when you're on Meebo and your patron's on a native client - they get a link to join the librarian-created room (password optional). When they click that link they'll be brought outside their client to a webpage containing the new Meebo room, and the chat will continue from there. Any URL that's typed in the chat session will immediately appear in a small window adjacent to the chat session so both (or all) participants can see the same tiny page. You can't interact with the page, but your patron can click on it to launch at their end and be on their way. Um, kinda like if you'd sent them the URL to click.
Another link from Sarah at LiB (this one via the lo-fi librarian): Yugma. I haven't tried it, but it looks to be a solid option if you're considering tools to share the desktop (co-browsing). The basic service is free and cross platform. It doesn't offer voice over IP, so you're stuck texting with whoever's on the other end, though they do offer a built-in audioconference option; for that you'd both be paying long distance charges to Minnesota(!). Might want to check it out if you're in need of such a tool.
Technorati Tags: Yugma, co-browsing
Sarah at Librarian in Black has a good post that will help you arm yourself against IT folk who claim allowing IM in a library is too dangerous. Sarah's had a lot of experience in this area, and provides links to the two articles security people always seem to quote, along with links to three additional (more up-to-date) articles you should read before doing battle with IT. I added a link to Sarah's article in the relevant section of the Library Success Wiki, and noticed that she seems to have become the expert in the area of IM Reference...
Technorati Tags: IM, Reference, Libraries, Security
The answer appears to be no, which surprised me. The authors, from Southern Illinois University, do caution that it's a pretty small sample and not to draw many conclusions, but the evidence of their transcript logs seems to indicate that providing a co-browsing option along with chat reference doesn't really add much instruction to the transaction, compared to a similar number of sessions where co-browse wasn't an option. In exploring options for providing IM reference here at the U of C (finally!) I happened to be chatting earlier today with a librarian at an institution that offers both IM and commercial chat with co-browse, and was told that IM pretty much gets the job done and that they rarely feel the need to co-browse, so there's some anecdotal evidence to go along with the article.
Title: Instruction via chat reference: does co-browse help?
Author(s): Stephanie J. Graves, Christina M. Desai
Journal: Reference Services Review
Year: 2006 Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Page: 340 - 357
Technorati Tags: IM, chat, reference, co-browsing
While more people seem to use Trillian, Gaim was a nice open-source alternative IM aggregator, and had the advantage of being able to incorporate Google Talk alongside AIM, MSN and Yahoo chat. Seems that after a long battle with AOL, Gaim has had to change its name to Pidgin. You can read about it at http://www.pidgin.im/ (or at http://gaim.sourceforge.net/). On the plus side, there should be a new release of the software later this week.
Lots of libraries seem to be using Meebo or MeeboMe to collect IM requests from multiple clients (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, GTalk). Up until today I used Trillian to manage all my accounts. While Meebo works just fine, I didn't like the fact that I had to have a web page open in order to see the chat requests come in. Well taking a lead from Amit at Digital Inspiration who showed how easy it is to run Google Talk as a sidebar in Firefox, I thought I'd see if the same thing could be done for Meebo, and it can!
The steps are identical; we'll just swap out a couple things in Amit's explanation:
To add Meebo to your Firefox sidebar, bookmark the following URL (right-click and choose Bookmark this link): http://wwwl.meebo.com/index-en.html
Now go to your Bookmarks menu, navigate to the above bookmark, right click and choose Properties. Tick the checkbox that says Load this bookmark in the sidebar.
Whenever you choose that bookmark (why not put it in your bookmark toolbar?) it will now open as a sidebar in your browser, and thus will always be visible.
So now I can browse away in Firefox, but Meebo follows along in a sidebar. Going to take a little while to get used to my slightly reduced screen space, but I think I can handle it.
Thanks for the inspiration, Amit!
Was just on the Library Online website signing up for an upcoming webcast on repositioning the Academic library for the new information age and noticed that Brian Matthews (The Ubiquitous Librarian) gave a session on Oct 31 called Conversations With Patrons: Extending Your Library’s Presence Online in which he expands upon his Intuitive Revelations ideas. The session is recorded and available for viewing via Elluminate; I'm just about halfway through and am enjoying hearing Brian's ideas. If you're interested in exploring ideas on how to reach out to your patrons, I recommend spending an hour listening to this presentation. You'll have to create an account with Library Online, which is a little annoying, but all the content (upcoming and archived) is available for free, so it seems a fair trade :-)
Technorati Tags: Facebook, Service, Libraries
A year ago I mentioned Wavago as an IM aggregator, along the lines of Adium or Trillian. I tried it, but didn't like the interface so kept Trillian. I just got an email that suggests Wavago has been purchased by a product called Raketu, that will automatically import your Wavago clients, but that also supports dialout to landlines and mobile phones. Might be worth a look. I'll try to get to it next week.
Update: Wavago contacted me to make sure there was no confusion - "Wavago is simply shutting down. Raketu did not purchase Wavago nor is Raketu Wavago. Raketu simply bridges to Wavago as it does with the other protocols."