Resources for Interactive Discussion Tools
Distance Learning Section
Interactive Discussion Tools
An overview of basic chat technologies used for reference service.
Free instant messenger services
Require all users to download and install software, most allow text chat, at a minimum.
- AOL Instant Messenger
AOL instant Messenger (AIM) service is a free online service that lets you communicate with family, friends and co-workers in real time. Features include Web meeting, video, and voice conferenceing capabilities. AIM Express allows users with an account to log in anywhere with an Internet connection, without having to download the software.
- MSN Messenger
Chat online instantly in real time. Features include Webcam capabilities. MSN Web Messenger allows users with an account to log in anywhere with an Internet connection, without having to download the software.
- Yahoo! Messenger
Yahoo! Messenger is a free instant messaging service that you can use to communicate with other people who also use Yahoo! Messenger. Features include voice chat, Webcam, and conference capabilities.
Library- or vendor-hosted chat applications
Chat software hosted by the library or vendor, usually requires no download on the user end.
- Docutek VRLplus
With Docutek VRLplus reference librarians converse directly with patrons online in real time as they guide them through Web sites and other online resources.
LiveAssistance offers proprietary real-time customer interaction technology providing a robust solution for small, medium and large organizations.
Visitors to your Web site simply click a Live Help button and are connected with one of your representatives. Your representative then assists the visitor by providing information, links, graphics, or even guiding them through your Web site.
- OnDemand by Convey Systems
OnDemandT provides digital video and photo voice over IP, application sharing and collaboration supported by text chat and co-browsing capabilities in a single, easy-to-use solution. Requires patron to download free software.
- QuestionPoint by OCLC and the Library of Congress
Users get help through familiar online channels such as e-mail or a chat window. QuestionPoint assistants can even "share" their solution with a technology that safely and securely gives them remote access to a user's desktop. The user follows along as the QuestionPoint assistant finds the path to an answer. QuestionPoint and 24/7 Reference announced plans to combine their services in 2004.
- Timpani by LivePerson
Timpani chat allows co-browsing and form sharing, and push-page technology.
- Virtual Reference Toolkit by Tutor.com
With Virtual Reference Toolkit, your customers connect from any Web-enabled computer anywhere to one of your librarians or a member of your staff.
- 24/7 Reference
24/7 Reference is a customized set of software tools that lets your library patrons ask questions and get answers, in real time, on the Internet, from your live reference staff. QuestionPoint and 24/7 Reference announced plans to combine their services in 2004.
Online Conferencing Software
Online meeting software hosted by the library or vendor to allow libraries to have interaction with online students in one or more locations.
Elluminate Live! enables you to talk over the Internet, chat online, share whiteboards, and share applications. A highly scaleable eLearning and collaborative environment for use by academic institutions.
Specializing in live customer support software, pc remote control software, remote desktop connection, customer support software and Online Customer Support Software
- Horizon Wimba
Our fully featured live virtual classroom supporting audio, video, application sharing, and content display, enables instructors to add vitally important elements of interaction that simply cannot be provided in a text-based course.
- NetMeeting by Microsoft.com (formerly PlaceWare)
NetMeeting delivers a complete Internet conferencing solution for all Windows users with multi-point data conferencing, text chat, whiteboard, and file transfer, as well as point-to-point audio and video.
With on-demand Web meeting applications, a.k.a online meetings or Web conferencing you can reduce operating costs while offering rich, interactive, real-time communication.
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