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Text the Odum Library!

by Jeffrey Gallant on August 13, 2010 in Odum Library

If you stumbled upon our Live Chat page recently, you may have seen the new “Text the Reference Desk!” window.  While it may sound too good to be true, you’re not dreaming!  During normal Reference Desk hours, you can now send a short text message question to the desk and get a quick response.  The number is located here: http://www.valdosta.edu/library/ask.php .

Why would you want to send a text message to the Reference Desk?  Well, here are a few examples.

  1. You are most comfortable asking small questions through text messaging. If you wanted to know how late we were open, you could text “When does the library close tonight?”
  2. You want to ask us a quick question about printing, but you’re halfway across campus, away from a computer, and would have to walk all the way here to ask it.  Simply have the number ready in your phone, and send us a text: “Is color printing available in the library?”
  3. You’re at lunch talking with friends, and a small basic knowledge question arises; something like “Wait, what was the capital of Paraguay again?” It’s bugging you, and you would like to consult a trustworthy source, but you’re out and about.  Text that short question to us, and we’ll send you an answer supported by trustworthy library resources.

Of course, text messages need to be short (typically under 160 characters), and depending on your wireless plan, they may cost you money.  Because of that, there are questions that should not be asked by text, especially large research questions that would require a huge amount of text messages.  Here are a few examples of what should be asked by a different method, such as in-person or through email:

  1. “I need to find 15 scholarly articles on the effects of global warming on mating habits of the Tsetse fly.”
  2. “I’m trying to narrow down my research topic and begin searching through databases for my first literature review. Can you help?”
  3. “I’m looking for five books on Chinese e-commerce, but I’ve never used the catalog. Could you guide me through how to find these books?”

It’s our initial semester of doing text reference service, so please pardon our dust as we open up this brand-new service!  If you want to let us know about how awesome or not-so-awesome your text reference experience was, let us know via chat, email, in-person conversation, or phone.

Or just send us another text!


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