Video Chat (virtual) Reference
Tom Glynn, along with Rich Sandler, presented a demo on virual reference at the April 21, 2011 Web Board meeting.
PCWG, supported by research conducted by Rich Sandler, evaluated various ways of conduct Virtual Reference. The product that is most viable, affordable, simple, and supportable is Adobe Connect Pro which is free to 1-on-on, and for larger groups, RUL has a number of licenses. The primary purpose, which will be how the demonstration ifs conducted, is for 1-on-1 consultation between a librarian and a student or faculty member. This could be an addition to a other online reference services such as Ask a Librarian email and Ask a Librarian Chat. The ability to talk, as if on the phone, with the video(optional), and more importantly to share screens..and control each other’s screen, AND have a shared notebook, far surpasses other live reference service of plain chat (which is also available in Adobe Connect). The host (Librarian) can upload and share documents.
This sort of service works best by pre-arranged appointments. A Librarian creates a “room” on Adobe’s site. The Librarian can then share a link to that room as arrangements and topics are being prepared for the meeting. At the time of the appointment, the Librarian logs in to their room and the consultee links to the room and is allowed to join, and the consultation begins. A speaker and microform are required; a web-camera can be used but is optional. Co-browsing was demonstrated with Glynn working with Sandler (at a remote location)