Library Reference Service Using Skype…03.13.09

13 03 2009


The SLA-IT blog‘s post today Using Skype in reference services is worth reviewing:

The University of Ohio Libraries has installed a kiosk in the lobby of its Alden Library for the usual quick info requests (hours, staff, maps). But the kiosk also sports a webcam and a link to Skype in order to provide instant reference with a live librarian. Chad Boeninger explains the system in a video on his blog. The system is not heavily used but it’s an interesting concept.

An article, refered to in the video, has also been written on the topic:

Booth, Char (2008). Developing Skype-Based Reference Services. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 13 (2), 147-165. Retrieved March 12, 2009, from

Internet voice and video calling have demonstrated a dramatic rise in quality in the past several years and have quickly become communication technologies with a disruptive impact on society. Librarians, who regularly adopt such technologies in outreach and public services, should evaluate Web-calling programs as potential sources of innovative reference programming. This article describes the development of Skype video and Internet telephony pilot reference services at the Ohio University Libraries and considers the utility of Skype and VoIP in a library setting.”

From the library itself:

Skype a Librarian

“You can now ask us a question via Skype, the free internet calling service. You can call, videocall, or message us for free using your Skype account – just add ohiolibref, our Skype ID, to your contact list to begin. This service is open whenever the Learning Commons is – 24/5 M-F and long weekend hours.

If you’re in Alden Library you can also get help from a video kiosk on the 4th floor. We’re currently offering this service Monday-Friday 9-5, but if you’d like us to expand these hours please let us know.

Skype ID: ohiolibref

Hours: All Hours that the Learning Commons is Open!!!

New to Skype? Download a free account to begin.”




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