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Tufts Libraries launches text-message service

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 08:12


Tufts University Libraries has implemented a new service on their shared online catalog that allows users to have a call number texted to them when searching for books and other resources in the library. 

Students can click the “Text to Phone” icon on the Tufts University Library Catalog page to receive the call number, location and title of the item in a regular SMS text.

The service works on all three of Tufts’ campuses, including in Tisch Library and the Lilly Music Library. 

“The catalog is shared by all the Tufts libraries, so this feature is available to all Tufts students and faculty
 regardless of which campus they are on or which library they are using,” Director of Tisch Library Laura Wood said. “We love that undergraduates will benefit from this, but it is really for the entire Tufts community.”  

The text message service has become standard in libraries at other universities, Wood added.

“Within the last two years, it has become a very popular and common feature because texting and smart phones have become so popular,” she said. “The concept really goes hand in hand with the technology.”

Systems Librarian at University Library Services Heather Klish, who coded and implemented the service, explained that the idea began when several Tufts librarians saw how well the service was working at other schools. 

“We have a libraries-wide team. All of the Tufts libraries have representation on this team. [It’s] called the Discovery Platform Team,” she said. “We get together and discuss the features in the library catalog.”

The Discovery Platform Team decided to move forward with a text-messaging feature for the catalog, Wood said. 

“Since the library catalog is shared, this is a core group of people who try to enhance the catalog, to add new features, to improve things that aren’t working very well and to make the library collections more usable,” she said. 

Although Tufts Libraries initially introduced the service last year, it was removed from the system due technical issues, Klish said. The service was re-implemented at the end of last summer, she added. 

“It really is a convenience feature,” Wood said. “It is something that is focused on making it a little bit easier to use the physical collections that we have.”

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