In Mashing on the Library, Part 1 Jenny over at the Shifted Librarian profiles examples of libraries who have integrated Meebo widgets into their OPAC. Sarah at Librarian in Black has a similar post. Judging from our incredibly positive experience with Meebo reference the in-catalog widget approach couldn’t help but be a success, and Sarah makes the excellent point that OPACs are the “single biggest point of contact with our users.” Our catalog is still somewhat in the dark ages, but hopefully we’ll get something like this going soon:
One quick thought on Meebo reference – if at all possible, don’t bury chat widget more than one obvious click away from the main library site or other service it’s meant to supplement (like a catalog or a blog) – the more prominently they are placed, the better. I’ve run across one too many Ask a Librarian widgets that took ages to find… having them up front greatly increases their legitimacy and ease of use.