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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Videochat success stories

So far today:

  • I chatted with the librarian setting it up at her end, about some alternative ideas that have been raised in email discussions.
  • One of our students came along for a prearranged meeting for his sister in another university - they talked for about a quarter of an hour.
  • One of our postgrads asked whether it'd be possible to use it to talk to a librarian in another library to help with finding what resources that library has (presumably to then get through interlibrary loan). We didn't actually try this out and I'm not sure if he had a specific application in mind but it'd definitely be possible and is a neat idea.
  • Lots of people stopping to look, wave at people through the screen, and chatting with us at the desk about it - it's not so glamourous as the rest, but I think this sort of light interaction goes a long way to make us more approachable by users.

Other uses I've seen or heard about:

  • Helping a colleague in another branch sort out a problem with wireless access by having her turn her laptop screen to the camera.
  • Another couple of colleagues in different branches talking over the connection.
  • Keeping our manager (at the time in another branch) informed about developments here.
  • Colleagues being able to put faces to names they'd only seen before in emails.
  • Students having fun pulling faces at students in other libraries. :-)
  • A student in one branch seeing a friend in another: "There you are! I've been looking for you!"

Ideas being talked about:

  • using it in Orientation Week
  • using different software over the KAREN network to be connected to several libraries at once
  • possibilities for management purposes (our manager runs two branches so is constantly back and forth)
  • between interlibrary loan departments to save on toll calls
  • distance reference provision

(Well, at least I'm talking about the last two - but people are humouring me and agreeing that they're nice ideas.)

As I write this, there's a flurry of Twitter messages over the news that MySpace is going to embed Skype in its interface.