Kathleen from University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign left a comment about a paper she recently published. I like the UIUC doesn’t see IM and web-based chat as an either/or proposition and look forward to reading the paper.
The UIUC (Univ. Illinois @ Urbana-Chamapaign) Library has been operating IM reference alongside its chat service since Feb 2005. The Undergraduate and Main Reference libraries assisted over 900 IM users in Oct. 2006. It has been phenomenal, in many good ways and one or two stressful ways. (More staff, please?)
Weâ€™ve recently published a paper which provides details on the â€œother, larger audienceâ€ that Aaron mentions as well as the characterisitics of the other, smaller, population which still prefers chat over IM.
Ward, David and Kern, M. Kathleen. â€œCombining IM and Vendor-based Chat: A Report from the Frontlines of an Integrated Service.â€ portal: Libraries and the Academy 6.4 (2006) 417-429. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/v006/6.4ward.html (If you have a subscription at your library.)[emphasis mine].
I wonder how many people they helped through web-based chat. With those figures, I’d like to take the cost of implementing IM, and the cost of buying web-based chat software and take a look at the ROI. Maybe I should read the article! Kathleen?