Thursday, May 23, 2002

Big news on the virtual reference front/have a great weekend!

Hello! Hope all of you have a happy holiday weekend!

Big news on the virtual reference front: The Library of Congress
and OCLC have developed a new collaborative reference service which
will be released on June 3: QuestionPoint.
This service "provides libraries with access to a growing collaborative network
of reference librarians in the United States and around the world."
"QuestionPoint offers libraries and library groups a powerful,
inexpensive and easy-to-use resource to provide and manage Web-based
reference services. QuestionPoint can also be used in conjunction with
existing Web-based reference services to add broader coverage and
enhance reference resources."

This will make for interesting developments in this rapidly evolving area.
Just two years ago, there were about 5 libraries offering this service.
It was June of 2000 that the electronic yahoo group "livereference" was
started to specificly discuss issues related to web based reference service
in libraries. Today, two years later it has almost 800 members. The big
players in the game right now include LSSI, 24x7, Live Assistance, Convey Systems, and
to some extent Live Person. Some libraries, such as Bill Drew's are using
AOL Instant Messenger.

Are there any libraries out there that have requests to offer reference service
via handheld? Is there any software capable of handling requests via handheld/wireless
besides instant messaging systems? Have any libraries tried to offer live reference
to people using handheld devices or come up with a pda friendly system for providing
this service? Many of the systems listed above might not work well on a handheld
because they have a lot of overhead and involve java.

I heard that the Medical Library Association Conference had some excellent
pda presentations! I wish I could have heard them. If anyone attended and wants to share
a synopsis of any of the meetings, please send them and I will post them. I heard
that one librarian talked of the necessity of librarians getting familiar with handheld
technology and doing it quickly or losing business. Librarians need to get acquainted
with it and begin investigation of offering services to the growing number of users using
handheld devices.

Cheryl Litt just attended an educational conference on handheld technology in Ann
Arbor, Michigan. She came across an interesting device called a c pen. "I came across an interesting device called a "c pen". It is an
electronic highlighter that will scan text which can then be beamed
directly to the Palm into Memo. No special software is needed. More
information can be found at www.cpen.com.

First seen on The Shifted Librarian:
Margi-Presenter-to-Go is going to be available for Palms in June 2002.
. Available in June 2002, Presenter-to-Go will offer Palm m125, m130, m500, m505, m515 and i705 handheld users a complete solution for the delivery of high-quality color presentations, allowing presentations created in PowerPoint or any printable Windows application to be transferred directly to their Palm handhelds and displayed at 1024 x 768 resolution. This is a particularly exciting development! I have done a number of presentations
in the last few weeks using the Margi Presenter-to-Go for the Handspring Visor. Of all the handheld applications
and modules, this has been one of the most popular and no one, including me, could understand why it was not
yet available for the Palm. We had a pda preview/open house at UIC LHS Peoria today and Margi was a close
second in popularity to the keyboard!

Matthew Eberle, who writes the most excellent blog Library
Techlog
mentioned in a post May 22 that he had taken the plunge and spent $50 on a Franklin ebookman
that was on sale. Matthew, I will be watching your blog to see if you have any more to say about the Franklin
ebookman. For anyone else curious about the Franklin ebookman, read our LJ Article in the May 1 issue

E-Books Go to College
. Tom Peters, Ginny McCoy, and I have some first hand experience to share
on Franklin EBookman! :)

This blog has been a very unique and interesting experience! I have had the privilege of meeting some really neat
people through e-mail through this blog. Thanks to everyone who has sent news and experiences with handheld
computing!




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