We are trying to implement IM as another access point to our reference services. Our IT folks contend that IM's session logging violates our library system's privacy policy, and so IT wants to sign up for OCLC's QuestionPoint.

My understanding especially of the IM widgets (Pluggoo, Meebo) is the very lack of logging, thus presenting many reference departments with problems in training and/or maintaining quality control.

Those of you who use the widgets - what has been your experience vis-a-vis privacy issues?

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Thank you for your questions.

Your comment - If that's not the problem, I don't understand. Firstly, IM programs don't generally log by default, to my knowledge, and I know in the case of the two main IM aggregators (Trillian and GAIM) that logging can be turned off. - is where I am to some degree; we seem to have no problem with turning off history functions of our ILS, so why can we not keep the IM logging off? Sometimes I think I work in a practice warp of some kind.

Very good question! Again, I think it is a practice warp - If you did want to log the sessions, why would that violate your privacy policy? Don't IM transcripts fall under the following policy (that I'm quoting from your library's web page): "Library records, including records of patron names, addresses and other personal information are used by staff only for the purpose of conducting normal library business."

To answer your question regarding IM widgets: You would need a Meebo account in order to create a widget - and according to the Meebo site, they store your data (including chat logs) if you have a Meebo account. That being said, their privacy policy states that they will not share this information, which, I think, is more than AOL & Yahoo, etc. offer to do. - From what I understand so far, the Plugoo service does not store transcripts.

I almost think a salesman has convinced IT that paying for a service is the way to go. I am not sure that I clarified what I am seeking from you all, but I do appreciate your helpfulness.
With MeeboMe, patrons can decide to stay anonymous as well.
MeeboMe does not currently log chats conducted in the widget. I consider it a lack, personally, since I do log chats for analysis. (I copy chat transcripts manually into another file.) Meebo only logs chats conducted through the IM services, and that is optional and deletable. Widget patrons can remain anonymous as well, in fact, it's easier to remain anonymous!

I don't think I understand the idea of using QP, if the argument is privacy. QP logs all sorts of things--it's one of their selling points.

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