Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

SMS in Libraries

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Quoted from BlogwithoutalibraryMarch 24, 2006:

"CiL: SMS in Libraries: The Killer Ap?

John Iliff, Palinet
John devoted the first half of his presentation to the extent to which SMS (short message service) took the telecom industry by storm (500 billion text messages are sent per year!) and is permeating our culture. Everything from Pam Anderson advertising for Virgin Mobile to viral text campaigns to register young voters, to the political impact of texting in the creation of smart mobs. He also covered some of the basics of the technology:

* each message is limited to 160 characters
* GSM is the basic standard for text messaging, although there are competing standards in the US
* there is a basic cost involved (usually 10 cents per message) for those who send and receive text messages

He then highlighted a few libraries that are using SMS for reference services, which I’ll list here for reference:

* Southeastern Louisiana University (using Altarama, costs approx $1300 per year)
* Curtin (over 70% of the student body are texters, so they jumped in!
* Helsinki university of technology (using a product called Liblet for patron messages)
* Swinburne University of Technology

Does a library need a vendor to make this happen or can they do it themselves? According to John, it is doable with a cellular modem and software (gnokki, SMSGateway for Windows, Ozekisms for linux and windows), but should they? John’s final analysis is that SMS is not “the killer app”, nor is it ubiquitous or life-changing. But as long as usage grows and as long we we can see it sticking around for the forseeable future, we should be offering the service. In closing: 500 billion messages a year, why aren’t we there?"

I'm blown away...

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