Monday, August 9, 2010

Texting a Librarian Using a GV Number: Pros and Cons

I finally got a Google Voice (GV) number for my library to launch Text a Librarian reference service! After running some tests, it seems to work well so far. To monitor the service, the text messages are forwarded to the library email account. A FAQ page was created to help those who need more information about this service.

There are two ways to send messages (SMS) using a Google Voice (GV) number:

1). Sending text messages from Gmail Chat box

  • Avoid SMS charges
  • Convenient for Gmail account holders
  • Convenient for patrons without a cellphone
  • Act like live chat or IM
  • Some learning curve for the initial setup. Users have to know where to enable SMS to send a text message
  • Have to have internet connection to be able to send and receive text messages

2). Sending text messages from a cellphone

  • Instant, direct, and fast communications
  • Convenient for those who have text message service from their cellphone carriers
  • No internet connection is needed
  • display sender's cellphone number
From the stand point of providing Text a Librarian service, here are my wish list for GV:
  • Be able to choose a desired GV phone number
  • Be able to reply to the text message from any non-Gmail accounts once GV messages are forwarded
  • Be able to archive text messages in a meaningful way within GV account (e.g., create folders or subfolders)
You are welcome to share your experience in using GV to provide library services.

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