San Jose Public Library Begins Text a Librarian Service…08.18.09

18 08 2009


From the Librarian in Black today:

Today our library, the San Jose Public Library, launched our new Text a Librarian service. As far as I can tell, we’re the first public library in California to offer text messaging services.

Here are the details:

The service is run through Mosio’s Text a Librarian.

Text your question to 66746 and start the message with AskSJ

The library responds to the user through the interface of our choice (web browser, email, IM, or text messaging) and the answer shows up to the customer as a text message

Customers are encouraged to add 66746 as a contact for easy future access

The library currently is answering questions from 1-6pm, Monday-Friday

The service is completely secure & private – customers are assigned random user IDs so the library staff don’t see phone numbers connected with questions

The service is mobile carrier certified, so we don’t need to worry about Verizon or AT&T blocking our number from sending messages to customers.

It’s staffed jointly with the San Jose State University Library librarians and a number of our public library staff at our main King Library and at our many branches…”

Negative Reveiw of Text A Librarian Service…02.10.09

10 02 2009

The Digital Reference blog posted today about a negative “Review of Mosio’s Text a Librarian” service from The Charleston Advisor:

“The January 2009 issue (Vol 10, No. 3) of The Charleston Advisor has a review by Joseph Murphy of Mosio’s Text a Librarian service(paywall link…sorry). Murphy gives a thumbs down to the product that is being marketed to libraries as a solution for SMS reference services:

Mosio’s beta Text A Librarian product does not live up to its claim of being ‘an easy to use text messaging solution that enables libraries to set up cost-effective SMS reference services’ …It is a good beta attempt but is not yet viable for libraries.

Murphy singles out the following problems:
  • Cost is higher than many other options for providing SMS reference service (minimum of $1398 a year)
  • Librarian web interface doesn’t auto-refresh to show new queries
  • Email and IM notifications that library staff can get as alerts to new queries can’t be used for sending a reply (library staffer must go back to web interface to compose reply)
  • Doesn’t work for patrons using T-Mobile
  • No functionality for exporting interactions
  • URLs sent in text message replies from the library aren’t live ones
  • A question thread can only have a maximum of four reply messages from the library…”