Reference services and Twitter

Academic librarian Stephen Francoeur posts about reference services and Twitter, the micro-blogging service:

Let’s leave the issue behind of whether or not users would really want to add their local library as a Twitter friend; assume for the moment that they do. Is there a way that we could use Twitter to provide “reference” in some way? Perhaps. Here’s an idea that builds on the way that the Case Grande Library users Twitter (use a pre-existing RSS feed to populate your Twitter account with content) and is inspired by the way that the Nebraska Library Commission promises to provide question and answer pairs:

  1. User submits question to library (via Twitter direct message option or via chat, IM, email, reference desk, SMS reference, etc.)
  2. Library answers the question and asks permission to add it (stripped of all personally identifiable information) to a publicly searchable knowledgebase available from the library’s web site. That knowledgebase spits out a RSS feed of all newly entered question/answer pairs.
  3. With permission from the user, the question and answer are added to the knowledgebase, which in turn sends out its RSS feed, which itself is sent to rss2twitter to be passed along to the library’s Twitter account.
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