Knowledge Handler

Information Sources & Information Sifting Techniques

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Location: Independence, Ohio, United States

Librarian at Indiana Wesleyan University's Cleveland Education Center.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Web-Based Instant Messenger

A timeless way to obtain information is to ask someone. The Socratic dialog of question and answer, where informal case studies regarding the application of knowledge occur, is in my opinion the most painless way to learn wisdom.

Instant Messaging allows one to "talk" with a colleague or mentor even if they are on the far side of the globe. A number of Instant Messaging services exist, such as ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Chat, MSN Chat, and now Google Chat. If one is using AIM chat (which seems to have the largest USA user base) there are free downloadable clients available at - or one can use the simpler web-based client that provides a pop-up when a person tries to initiate a chat session with you. provides a downloadable multi - service chat client, and offers a multi-service online client, but neither provide robust notification if someone transmits a chat request. Based on a casual examination, I would steer clear of the web client - as of today the interface seems crude, and the owner of the site seems to profit from selling sensual chat icons which I find morally offensive.

In my workplace we have discussed using chat to interact with students, though an examination of library literature and discussion with peers indicates that only a couple people a week would likely use the service. This is not enough usage to justify having staff watch for a chat session to start.


Monday, July 24, 2006

ASK Previews

ASK.COM now has a little binocular icon. Placing the mouse over the binocular allows one to preview the intial text of the blog entry while viewing the results list. I expect that the same technique eventually will work for web page text.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ingenta is a free index, but to access most of the full-text content results in steep fees (typically $35-60).