Vol 31 | No 2 | Spring 13
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In-Depth Reference Consultations from a Distance: Google+ Hangouts and Join.me

Ever wish you could see what your students and colleagues see or easily collaborate with someone from a distance? The Libraries are doing just that by using screen-sharing software to work with students on their research.

ImageLast summer, the Libraries developed a pilot to experiment with Google+ Hangouts and Join.me to provide research consultations online. As interest in online education grows, the Libraries are actively piloting ways to provide research help to increasingly mobile students who may not be geographically close to campus. By adding these new tools to our online reference services, we have created a new avenue for students and faculty to consult with a librarian.

Google+ Hangouts and Join.me include all the features as services like Skype, but group screen-sharing does not require a premium account.

Google+ Hangouts

  • Requires a Google+ account, computer, web camera, headset or microphone, internet connection, and installation of a plug-in
  • Supports 10 participants in a session
  • Allows for integration of Google Drive, making online collaboration easier
  • On-Air version allows you to stream a Hangout to your Google+ page or YouTube

Join.me

  • Does not require an account sign-up or web camera
  • Requires a computer, headset or microphone, internet connection, and installation of a plug-in
  • Supports 10 participants in a session

ImageStudents can verbally converse with a librarian, view the same screen, and communicate via the chat feature. Based on feedback from students and librarians, there is no noticeable difference between in-person or online research consultations.

For more information, contact Cynthia Johnson, Head of Reference; Acting Head of Grunigen Medical Library (x40081 or cynthiaj@uci.edu) or Danielle Kane (x42024 or kaned@uci.edu).