InfoEyes Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
Thursday, November 18, 1:00pm central / 2:00pm eastern (11:00am pacific / 12:00pm mountain)
Diana Sussman, S. IL; Sharon Ruda, IL regional; Bob McBrien, NY; Mary Mohr, LOC; Will Reed, OH; Michael Marlin, WA TBBL; Catherine Derviage, MN; Tracey Morsek, Pittsburgh, PA; Crystal Lentz, WA State Library; Lori Thornton, WA State Library; John Mugford, NM (got called away); Melora Ranney Norman, ME
We are still waiting for an invoice from OCLC. OCLC announced at the VRD conference that they are merging the 24/7 platform of eGain's text chat component with the OCLC email and management system. Egain is what tutor.com uses. At this point we have no idea how that merger will affect accessibility or anything else.
Mary Mohr and colleagues at the Library of Congress will be meeting with OCLC and reminding them of the need to address accessibility issues as product changes are made. Mary can take specific questions for OCLC. Email her any questions.
OCLC will also be at the Illinois State Library (ISL) 11/19 and the ISL representative was asked by Sharon Ruda to discuss the importance of incorporating accessibility as upgrades and changes are made.
Web site report (Lori Thornton)
Heather Meuler, a new staff person in WA, has web design experience and will be working on the InfoEyes site. Mary Mohr, Lori Bell, Lori Thornton and Linda Rossman had a meeting to make web suggestions. Lori Bell implemented those suggestions. Heather will develop prototypes and Cleveland will do usability testing. WA will bring proposed new look and feel to a future InfoEyes meeting, and perhaps run prototypes by the web site committee first, if necessary. If you have feedback regarding the web site, email it to Lori Thornton and she will forward it to Heather.
Statistics & Usage Report
Not given. John Mugford was called away from the meeting.
Recent publicity reports and plans from each library.
Lori has sent some publicity to a few lists for the visually impaired. We have given the text of Minnesota's PSA to the 11 Illinois RIS stations. Presentation on 11-18-04 to statewide Bureau for the Blind group includes InfoEyes promotion. IL TBBS will be an exhibitor at the Governor's Conference on Aging and will promote InfoEyes there. Sharon Ruda will be speaking at an LTA (library school?) class this month. The InfoEyes presentation at the VRD conference went well. Lori Bell thinks InfoEyes is one of the few groups offering VR with voice over IP. Lori Thornton and Crystal were great. Crystal did the demo.
MA (report submitted by email):
Working on getting it on their website. Newsletter in the works.
Presentation was given to teachers who teach computer use, JAWS and other assistive technology both at the library and at other locations throughout the state.
Spoke this month at local chapter of NFB conference. Behind on getting on web site. Will include in next newsletter, which is also posted on Newsline. MN Radio Talking Book will be doing PSA's.
WA State Library
Presented InfoEyes at VRD conference; working to get a link on web site. Plans to go to Lions clubs or regional meeting for presentations to them and to eye doctors and senior centers.
Have a link on their web site; spoke at ACB and NFB statewide conventions in WA.
Pittsburgh has sent an InfoEyes press release to their local RIS station, but they haven't heard whether the RIS station has aired it. Hoping for a full 30 min. program on web services. Working on web link and hoping to incorporate InfoEyes into '05 outreach. Ariticle was included in their newsletter. Not too much response from that yet.
No publicity done specifically for InfoEyes, but mentioned it at Main's Library Conference in October and at regular outreach presentations. Trying to get a full staff right now, so kind of busy. Will include in newsletter once they have one.
Newsletter with InfoEyes article was sent to 55 Northern counties of OH. Working w/ Cincinnatti for InfoEyes coverage in their newsletter to reach the rest of the state. Also working with NFB, AFB, and Cleveland Sight Center to try to get coverage in their newsletters.
- Sharon Ruda: I really think that this is a program that will really need some word of mouth - "I tried this and it's great" type of thing.
- We may have to sell this concept. It's abstract. We have to let people know why they would want to try it and that it's not that scary.
- When training is done on accessiblity software - that's a perfect time to mention it.
- Don't forget about the Centers for Independent Living.
- Make sure that all staff at our own participating libraries understand InfoEyes so they can sell it to people they talk to. Maybe make them ask a ref question on InfoEyes.
- Include a blurb in response to reference questions answered by email.
- In WA they were contacted by library school students taking a reference class. The students will include InfoEyes in a paper they're writing. Presenting InfoEyes to reference classes at library schools would promote both NLS and InfoEyes simultaneously. ISLTBBS has a library school instructor on their Advisory Committee.
- When we do answer questions, we could come up with a standard script of "please tell your family and friends about this service" to encourage word of mouth promotion.
- Sharon Ruda received an email from a deaf-blind user who must have learned about InfoEyes on a listserv. He thought he couldn't use InfoEyes because he couldn't hear voice-over IP and didn't know how to use a chat room. She assumed he used refreshable braille. Deaf-blind users can use InfoEyes with refreshable Braille, and this would really be a group of people who don't use many other services and would be good to reach out to. We could email deaf-blind listserves and include a link to the iVocalize shortcut keys to ensure accessibility.
- Perhaps demos in assisted living centers. Residents in this setting are required to be able to live independently and are likely to have activities available, such as email for keeping in touch with family.
Discussion of scheduling issues as they relate to promotion of service:
Easier to remember hours would help. A lot of people just try something once, so they may get turned off by limited hours.
It was suggested that we wait until after the first of year to remake the schedule, as holiday schedules may be difficult to work around. In January Pittsburgh will have more staff. At that time we should limit schedule options in order to create a more cohesive, consistent, and easily remembered schedule. Weekdays from 2 to 4 or 2 to 5 were suggested (in what time zone?). 2-4 M-F (eastern time) LOC always gets regular virtual reference traffic. Some evening hours may be good too, although many of us are not open in the evening.
We need to figure out statistically what would be the best times to offer service. We should not limit this analysis to our own statistics as they do not take into account times when people perhaps would have used our service had we been open. For the December meeting, please try to get statistics from other virtual reference projects in your states, or from other sources, such as articles on the subject, so that we can create a schedule based on days and hours when we are statistically likely to get some traffic.
Wrap up. Anything else?
Mary Mohr reports that we cannot use Question Point to forward a question to a specific library because we only have one profile. However, you can email the listserv and in the subject heading put something like "question for NY" to forward the question to that specific state. Or could go to www.infoeyes.org and email the contact person for that state.
Next meeting is Thursday, Dec. 16 at 1:00 central / 2:00 eastern
- If you have feedback regarding the web site, email it to Lori Thornton and she will forward it to Heather. (everyone)
- If you have specific requests for OCLC regarding the accessibility of Question Point, email Mary Mohr before her meeting with them, which will be in the first week of December. (everyone)
- For the December meeting, please try to get statistics from other virtual reference projects in your states, or from other sources, such as articles on the subject. We need statistics regarding which times of day and days of the week virtual reference services are used most frequently. Then we can create a schedule based on days and hours when we are statistically likely to get some traffic. (everyone)
- Do some publicity! (everyone)