Chatango and Meebo

by tosca on Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gidday gidday! Have been playing around (again) with ideas for the implementation of web 2.0 tools in Manukau Libraries (I know, they're gonna be sick of me and ideas) and came across the infodoodads site. I had fun browsing through infodoodads stuff. It's put together by 5 information enthusiasts and is a blog that discusses existing and new tools, services, and technology for finding information on the internet (that's a direct quote from their 'About Us' page which you can find here). They put together their 'Top *13* Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians' and I've decided to work my way through some of them that we didn't cover in our own tutorial just to have a looksee.

One that caught my eye, and probably more for the comment than anything else, was at number 2 on their list: Meebo and Chatango, which are chat programmes used as virtual reference services at some libraries. Apparently, Oregon State University Libraries added the Chatango widget to their library website in 2007 and reference questions increased in one term by almost 400%. That's pretty phenomenal - so I wanted to play with it myself. Or at least see how it works. No harm, no foul, yeah?

Probably more for nostalgic reasons. I was an Xtrachat fan years ago and managed to make my way around New Zealand getting to know some very interesting people, including a librarian from Ohio who spent some time tiki-touring the country visiting the people she'd chatted with while online back home. For the most part I have kept in contact with a lot of people on and off over the last 10 years or so. Not that that's what I expect Chatango will be for - D'OH - but I want to see how the idea of chat has changed in 10 years (when I first went online). Also even used ICQ once upon a time, although not so much these days. Found out today (thank you, Google) that a lot of Xtrachat users headed on over to Lepoirat's site and are now at Country Radio Chatroom.

Chatango - Headed off to Chatango and signed up (very easy process, and basically kept the same username/password details as I've used for all my 2.0 stuff), filled in my profile (hugely interesting but there you go), chose my colour settings (yeah, I doubt it's that important but there's a huge selection - went for 'Good morning' theme) and then got to decide on the URL myself. Went with catatonichataholic for consistency and then got the HTML code to add as a page element to the left *points left* So feel free to check it out, play with it or whatever, because I will be. This is the link to my free live chat page.

Headed on over to Meebo to check it out and err ok. That's all I have to say. It reminds me very much of MSN Messenger. Very easy process to sign up and fill out the profile. Once my Meebo id was created I was able to add my Meebo Me widget as another page element, yet again to the left *points again to the left* so view and play or what have you. Meebo has chat rooms that you can either join or create yourself but can't say I wanted to. Pass!

The logistics of how it would work for Manukau Libraries is beyond me - remember, I'm not so great on practicalities. Good at ideas and suck at practicalities. But am definitely gonna ask. Would imagine the big query would be who the heck would man such a service and how? And quality control. There are probably other issues but hmm, like I said, I dunno what they would be. So watch this space while I play and find out . . .

Hey, as an aside, have plowed my way through Kenyon's 'Acheron' and thought the cover would make a fantastic tattoo. But the first half of the book spent a lot of time going into the back story of Acheron - but most of it I'd managed to pick up through other bits of the books in the series. Hey, even I can connect the dots! And it's in hardcover *sigh* Looks fantastic. Thank you, Fishpond. Have handed in the first assignment for my 72271 User Education & Reference Skills paper and celebrated by reading (and skipping, thank you Daniel Pennac's right number 2) 'Acheron'. Hmm, kinda undecided - the jury is still out!

For those of you who do like to buy online (I buy dvds on Trade Me or with Amazon) try Fishpond or On The Shelf. On The Shelf is especially good if you're after back catalogue copies of series. They have a great collection of science fiction and fantasy titles (especially hard to get ones that we no longer hold such as Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov etc.). They're quite reasonably priced, too. And from memory (although it's been a few months since I last shopped online there) a great selection of classic junior/young adult fiction titles. So give them a go if you're that way inclined . . .


Unbelieveable! You have such a fantastic blog here... take it up professionally? I am awestruck. Thnak you for being a real inspiration. I'll just shut up now!

by Pollyanna on August 14, 2008 at 9:51 PM. #

I think that chat software is a real area of growth for libraries.

Those libraries that have facebook pages etc and 'do it well' (at least in my opinion!) have incorporated a meebome widget or soemthing similar.

This means customers can communicate with them right from facebook, ask questions, get help, yadda yadda yadda.

Would love to see something like that happen at Manukau, the challenge is finding a way to staff it!

by Kelly on August 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM. #

Yes, certainly the staffing issue was the forefront of my cons list. Had an idea for how it might (roughly) work but still kicking it over. That and it would need branch buy-in lol

by catatonia on August 21, 2008 at 7:58 AM. #

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