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A Trend from Germany: Library Chatbots in Electronic Reference - Presentation Transcript
International Ticer School Digital Libraries à la Carte Module 2: Technological Developments: Threats and Opportunities for libraries A Trend from Germany: Library Chatbots in Digital Reference Anne Christensen August 28, 2007
A chatterbot is a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users (...). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatterbot
intelligent conversation = reference interview
automatic reference interview = 24/7 availability
How much reference can a chatbot actually take care of?
Let‘s take a look at the four chatbots.
Library chatbots in numbers INA Saxonian ASKademicus Stella
Benefits of library chatbots help users with the website 24/7 availability library marketing create awareness for deep web resources information literacy natural language FAQ complement live chat service appeal to teenage users entertainment interactive innovative
The making of a library chatbot
Create a chatbot in 10 steps
Create a chatbot in 10 steps - The particularly tricky parts -
Chatbots don‘t come cheap.
Costs of a chatbot project Euros 1,000 (per day) Consulting (optional) 25,000 Personnel (6 months minimum) 2,000 Avatar (e.g. graphics, photos) 2,000 Training 5,000-24,000 Software license
Most of the German bots were built with funds from grants.
Create an avatar
The development of a biography for a library chatbot is a challenge for creativity.
Stella about herself Cool system – thank you, library folk! User Well, thank you! I am happy when I can help you. Stella I like you. User I fought for the implementation of the library – which was never acknowledged. An unmarried woman in academia – that was sort of suspicious at the time and caused some examinations. In the course of which I died... Stella How did you die? User No I‘m not. I am chosen to revive at the library‘s website. As a patron saint for all those searching for literature and information. Stella Are you a ghost? User
None of the library chatbots is a librarian.
A chatbot needs to be credible and reliable.
The chatbot has to fit in with the library‘s image.
Humour is vital!
Graphic design Men were afraid of her... Steffi Graf? Too hot Star Trek librarian? First drafts...
Giving Stella a face
Build the knowledge base.
Library chatbots in numbers INA Saxonian „i“ ASKademicus Stella
The basics Brain, aka knowledge base Each rule addresses one subject
How specific are the rules? can I renew books from interlibrary loan? what is the difference between ILL and document delivery? how can I order a book from abroad? can I order a book that is checked out here from another library? do I have to know which library holds the book I want before I can order it? in which cases do I have to pay more than 1,50 Euros? what does „Mehrkosten“ mean? ... Stella features128 ILL-related rules what is interlibrary loan? how much does ill cost? where can I buy ILL vouchers? ... ASKademicus features approximately 10 ILL-related rules
Depth of knowledge depends on the scope of the project.
Large knowledge bases require software products that can handle this complexity.
Coding rules: AIML:
<alice> <category> <pattern>Good morning * </pattern> <template>Good morning. How are you?</template> </category> </alice>
Coding rules: Regular expressions (("#HOW# .*(order|make|do) .*#ILL#) || ("#HOW# does #ILL# work") || ("how works #ILL#”) || (“what do I have to do to (make|place)? .*order(s)? .*#ILL#”)) covers these questions plus sematic variations
Answer: It depends! You can either order online or with a paper form. But the process is basically the same: You pay the fee of 1,50 Euro in advance, fill out the online or paper form. You will be notified when your order has arrived.
Dialog control find article search book/journal in catalog know article, but not the source show explain know the article particular subject bibliographies
Reference interview as a model.
Software for chatbots: Novomind IQ™ Explorer for Knowledge Base Expressions: possible questions, phrased in perl regular expressions and Boolean logic Actions: answers and URLs to be called
Stella: System architecture Knowledge Base Web Frontend (iFrame) Web Server with Apache Tomcat Core Engine (Java)
How Stella runs into trouble... Help!!!! User Hamburg is my favourite city – that‘s for sure! Stella I don‘t live in Hamburg. User I am sorry, but could you rephrase that for me? Stella Call my real colleagues at 42838-2214 or send us an email Stella But I am not in Hamburg User Just a quick reference - in this case I would suggest using the reading rooms on level 1 and 2. They offer for comprehensive resources for all subjects. Stella (...) quick reference User
Dialogs per day
Stella and other electronic reference services Benchmark „real“ reference: 370 queries per day Log files of library website (2005) 25 Online Tutorials / Guided Tours Log files of library website (2005) 160 FAQs October 2004 – July 2007 Study on live chat reference services in Germany (2004) Statistics from Reference Services (2005) Source of data Chat 251 Stella 0,7 5 E-Mail Usage per day
Evaluation methods used for Stella
Users about Stella „ You should spend your resources on the development of a more usable website rather than on projects like Stella.“ „ I only knew this kind of virtual characters as an entertainment tool on websites. Stella however is a better help than any FAQ ,user guide or such like“
Stella – an alternative catalog interface? I can not perform the actual search for you, but I will be delighted to help you find suitable catalogs and databases. Are you interested? Stella ameri?a? society User Is that a topic you want to find information on? Stella ameri?a? Society User Hello – my name is Stella and I am here to help you navigate the Hamburg State and University Library website. Can I help you? Stella
Usability studies would been helpful!
Connecting Stella to the catalog User enters author or subject
User: go to results User: help improving results Stella: open results in new window Stella: explain about truncation, databases for articles...
Chatbots are used much more frequently than other forms of digital reference.
Why is that?
Chatbots don‘t make you think. (At least, they shouldn‘t.)
Chatbots provide instant answers.
Asking stupid questions is easier.
Chatbots can be used anonymously.
Chatbot reference resembles peer-to-peer services.
Other forms of reference doubtlessly provide better answers.
Chatbots can do marketing for other reference services.
Anyway: Chatbots are really good at marketing.
Stella: Press articles
Chatbot 2.0: Lillian
Points for discussion