Wouldn’t it be cool if your patrons could use an IM client to chat with your web contact center software (such as the versions of eGain offered by Tutor.com and 24/7 Reference or Docutek’s VRLplus)? We know huge percentage of our users are already using instant messaging, but imagine if they could add your library’s chat reference service to their buddy list and then use their IM client to chat with you via your very expensive virtual reference software.
Yes, that would be extremely cool. Someone go make it happen.
Ok, so let’s think this one through. What would be involved here? If you want this to be as easy as possible for the user, you’ll want the user to be able to use whatever IM app they’re already using. So your chat ref app will need to recognize buddy requests from AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, & whatever else. The chat ref app will also have to be able to interpret IMs that it receives from all known IM apps, & be able to send IMs in the appropriate formats. So basically what we’re talking about here is an IM emulator. An IMulator. (Ha! I slay me.)
This shouldn’t be a big deal; Trillian basically already does this, yes? In fact, upon inspection, I’ve discovered that Trillian has pretty extensive documentation about their API on their website. Why not just integrate Trillian into your chat ref app? Does Trillian license?