I've long been a fan of virtual reference, but there are many reasons joining a cooperative or subscribing to a commercial VR product doesn't work for special libraries.
IM (instant messaging) has been around for a long, long time (I've personally been using it off and on for more than 10 years, more if you include "talk" on Unix LANs) and has made various inroads -- mostly through backchannels -- into corporate settings. Employees first installed the IM clients -- then local admin access was removed and the ports were blocked, so they used a web-based IM client. Finally in 2002-3 we started to see the introduction of enterprise IM onto the market. Later this year, Microsoft's Live Communications Server will start offering interoperability with the Yahoo product and AIM.
Software-wise Enterprise IM differs from Personal IM in several key ways. First, the data and the traffic pass through a local server behind the firewall. Second, there can be filtering to check for inappropriate behavior. Third, it is auditable and can be covered by the digital records management policies required by whatever laws apply to the organization (HIPPA or SEC). Remember, the company owns whatever is typed on the company computer, done on company time, or passes through the company network.
I came back to this topic recently because my workplace just released enterprise IM and because there was so much discussion of it at CIL2005. I would love to eventually write a couple of articles on it, but I have to get some customers first!
So, how does the content -- the conversations, the use -- of enterprise IM differ? How do special libraries/ians market availability through this service? How can/does this work into my proto-model of insinuating the librarian in to the customers' social network? Realistically, how do you show Available (ask me! ask me! -- said in the Monty Python Holy Grail voice) instead of just available?
I started by looking in business databases but then kind of hit a dead end. I now know a lot more about the business of IM and security issues, but not about the use. I then moved to the ACM Guide to Computing Literature. There is some reading material here (sub required for full text). I'm starting with:
As far as marketing goes...? I've made up a poster and will mention it at future presentations... I'm not big on handing out pieces of paper, it's already on my business card (LCS uses your e-mail address)... Ideas anyone? Suggestions?
Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Christina Kirk Pikas
Where am I?