Thursday, October 30, 2003

InfoEyes: an online information community and virtual reference services for the visually impaired

Under the leadership of the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center and the Southern Illinois Talking Book Center are pleased to announce the opening of InfoEyes(http://www.infoeyes.org) on November 3, an online information community and virtual reference service for the visually impaired.

Talking book readers, other visually impaired individuals, and librarians are invited to use the trial service. Through the service, library customers can get assistance using the Internet, finding information on the Internet and in periodical databases and reader advisory service. Librarians will be using OCLC Question Point Enhanced software to provide services which include voice over IP, co-browsing, and application sharing. The trial will run through July 30, 2004. It is hoped that more libraries in other states serving the visually impaired will join Illinois in providing these services. Customers will be asked to evaluate the service and resources to help librarians in developing the service. Hours of service are posted on the web page and it is hoped that as more libraries join the service that hours can be extended. If customers want service outside of those hours, they can schedule an appointment or a reference session.

As the project develops, more information will be posted on the website. Tom Peters of TAP Information Services is the project evaluator and will write an evaluation of the project which will be made available when the project ends. If you have questions on the service, please contact Lori Bell (lbell@alliancelibrarysystem.com) of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center or Diana Brawley Sussman (dbrawley@shawls.lib.il.us) of the Southern Illinois Talking Book Center.

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