Decipher that chat message

One of the challenges of chat reference, especially if you haven’t been using chat since you were 10 years old like many of our patrons have, is figuring out the acronyms that they use.  (Personally, I pride myself on never using these short hands in chat or texting, but I’m also apparently a snob.)   So anyway, if you do find yourself at a loss for what they mean, you may want to book mark this handy chat acronym dictionary from AIM.

Source: Resource Shelf

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Gabbly

Discovered a new chat service thanks, once again, to my Twitter list.   It’s called Gabbly and it works by putting a chat frame around any webpage.  There’s no embedding, you just put your website URL after Gabbly’s.  So, if for some reason I wanted to host a chat with readers of my blog, I would send everyone a link to http://gabbly.com/https://technologicaltortoise.wordpress.com/

This isn’t permanent solution for a chat reference service, but I think it would be a great way to have a committee meeting with people across the country, especially if you’re working on planning a website or using a Wiki to collate notes.  Not sure if it could work with Google docs or similar servcies.  (Without going into too many details, I have some hearing issues that make phone conferences a chore, so I’m always looking for text-based ways of accomplishing these tasks.)  I’m not sure how it works with subscription databases, but just flipping around my blog with the Gabbly overlay, it appears that the Gabbly stays as you change pages.  So maybe it could be used to talk a patron through some web based research.

Yet another thing to put on my “play with this and see what it can do” list.

Meebo Firefox Sidebar

IM reference is slightly more complicated to set up than one might initially think.   Unlike e-mail addresses hosted by different companies, Instant Messaging accounts can only “talk” to other accounts on that same system.  So, for example, I can e-mail my friends with Gmail accounts with my Yahoo e-mail account, but if I want to chat, I have to use a google chat account.   To extrapolate further, if a library wanted to set up a virtual referece service utilizing Instant Messaging, they would have to set up (and have running) accounts with all the major chat services.

There is a way to get around that.  There are chat aggregators that allow someone to chat across Instant Messaging platforms.  A popular service is Meebo, and in my library we have been trying to utilize it.  I’m for the most part happy with Meebo.  It has the added benefit of providing widgets that can be implanted on websites so that a person can chat with you even if they do not have any Instant Messaging accounts or prefer to remain anonymous.

There has always been one problem with Meebo, though.  To use it, you have to keep a window open to Meebo.  Also, it is easy to miss a chat notification because there is no obvious visual clue that you have a new Instant Message.  However, that is now changed.  There is a new Firefox add-on that will notify you visually when you get an Instant Message through Meebo.  I can’t wait to try it out!

Instantbird

The good folks at Mozilla have gotten into the Instant Messaging game with the release of Instantbird.  I’ve been experimenting with IM using Meebo, but a main problem with it is that it requires the user to keep a browser window open to Meebo and it’s relatively easy to miss an IM notification.   Hopefully Instantbird will be the answer to my multi-protocol instant messaging prayers.