Colorado State University-Pueblo is the first school in Colorado to use Text a Librarian, powered by Mosio. The school joins a list of around 40 colleges and universities nation wide who use the service including Cornell, Harvard, and Yale.
Mosio’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Gabriel Macias said the short message service (SMS) gives the library staff the ability to use an enhanced seven-internet search engine with one click. The one-in-seven engine is called Ref Start and is loaded onto the secure micro-board the librarians log into to receive questions send out answers.
The services allow students to text questions to the CSU-Pueblo library and receive most answers on their cell phone. Complicated or research questions may have to be sent to an e-mail address, Assistant Professor of Library Services and Instruction Coordinator, Courtney Bruch said.
“It’s easy…; it’s super simple to implement and it makes it so that you communicate,” Macias said. Once a school signs up with for Text a Librarian, the library is granted access to a web page by using log in codes. When a text messages come in, he said, the phone numbers are assigned random patron identification numbers and students remain anonymous.
Bruch said prior questions from an ID will appear when a new question is asked. She said because this information is available, it makes it easier to find relative information.
Keeping track of what patrons ask also allows the library to personalize searches and answers, Macias said. In addition it allows the librarians to know what questions are being asked the most and when. He said this provides them knowledge to keep the library efficiently staffed.
Along with the ability to track what type of information particular students are looking for, the program also keeps track of who is answering questions and how often, Macias said.
Brunch said that all of the librarians who are available to answer questions have at least a master’s degree.
Macias said the SMS service translates over 800 common text acronyms as well so librarians don’t have to guess what an abbreviation may mean.
Furthermore, the Mosio provides services to other institutions and businesses, said Macias. Some museums are using the technology to answer questions about exhibits to visitors and restaurants are using the service to expedite patrons’ food orders.
“We expect to have a lot of libraries use this,” Macias said. “It’s only going to make sense that libraries will need to keep up with that (technology). Librarians want to be as relevant as possible.”