OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU librarians can now respond to questions by text message

03/24/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Responding to the popularity of text messaging, librarians at Oregon State University are now answering faculty and student questions by text messaging.

Sure, patrons can still get library information in all the traditional ways. But for patrons who are unable to ask a librarian in person or online, or those who simply prefer texting over talking, the “Text a Librarian” service provides a convenient option for getting information on their mobile phone from OSU reference librarians.

OSU Libraries has a history of embracing technology as part of their approach to library services. Some of their recent innovations include letting library users check out Amazon Kindle digital readers loaded with the latest downloadable e-books, and the library’s participation in Flickr Commons, a project that makes archival photography collections available on the web. OSU has made a number of its archival images available through Flickr Commons.

With Text a Librarian, patrons ask questions by sending texts with their mobile phones, and librarians answer on a web-based interface, keeping a “living archive” of all the questions and answers. The service does not display phone numbers and generates an anonymous ID for each patron that is used to reference conversation history.

Using the service is simple. Patrons compose a new text message with the first word BEAVS and then ask a question. They then send the message to 66746. Standard text message rates apply.

“Setting up the Text-a-Librarian service seemed like the next logical step in a continuing series of new service developments,” Cheryl Middleton, head of Instruction and User Services at OSU’s Valley Library said, “that enable OSU students and faculty to access a librarian from where ever they are instead of having to interrupt their lives to visit the library for information.”

Text a Librarian was developed by Mosio, an award-winning mobile technology company that enables companies and institutions to harness the power of mobile communications.

“Mobility is a way of life for most students and increasingly for society in general, making the way in which we stay connected a central issue for many libraries,” said Noel Chandler, Mosio CEO and founder. “Text a Librarian makes it possible for students and patrons to tap into the wealth of knowledge of local librarians from their mobile phones, while keeping patron information private and secure.”

For more detailed information about the Text a Librarian service at Oregon State University visit http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/text-librarian