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Weekly News Digest

October 6, 2008 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Altarama Introduces RefChatter for Libraries

Altarama Information Systems ( announced availability of RefChatter, a new module that joins RefTracker, DeskStats, VRLplus and SMSreference in the Altarama suite of integrated products for managing online and personal reference services in libraries. RefChatter is a totally web-based system for delivering online reference services to the increasingly large number of patrons who use instant messaging (IM) as their preferred electronic communication method.

Designed by librarians and library automation experts specifically for the library industry, RefChatter addresses the issues that have prevented many libraries from offering IM-based online reference until now. First, while patrons can use a wide variety of standard IM software, RefChatter’s unique IM aggregator and routing technology allows one or more reference staffers to chat with multiple patrons from multiple queues simultaneously. Second, RefChatter requires only a standard browser on the library side, so IT department concerns about loading IM software disappear. Third, transcripts are available for statistical and quality analysis. And finally, a library-customizable widget can be inserted in the library’s webpages so patrons without IM software can be served equally well.

The company says the underlying technology that makes RefChatter possible is a combination of open source components and some developments from the LibraryH3lp team. RefChatter can make IM work for libraries—small, large or consortia—because they can staff according to volume of IM traffic with a single, simple web-based tool that aggregates IM sessions from the AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, GoogleTalk, ICQ, and QQ networks, as well as RefChatter and Meebo-me widget users.

Source: Altarama Information Systems

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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