Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Okay, I can't spend all day on here (I can, that's the problem) but I browsing different animated avatar services and thinking about possible applications in virtual library services, and I found a feature I didn't realize existed from Help on Click :

See what the surfer is typing before they send it

I don't know if the library virtual reference uses this feature, and I have to wonder. When I write I have a number of false starts and revisions I make before I post anything. Is it ethical for a librarian to use this kind of data to help deconstruct the patron's thought process? Should this be disclosed as a feature of the software?

Why doesn't the library have a more explicit explanation of the features and limits of the virtual reference services such as assurances or explanations about record keeping, anonymity, and the expertise of the staff? Or am I just more sophisticated than the average user (see Yahoo! Answers rant below) and way too interested in these issues?

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