SUNNYVALE, Calif, March 18, 2002 - eGain Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EGAN), a global provider of eService software, today announced that Library Systems and Services Inc. (LSSI) has chosen eGain Live Web 5.0 to power its new Virtual Reference ToolKit. LSSI is the largest provider of contracted library management services in the US, and has pioneered the use of real-time text chat and Web co-browsing for interacting with reference librarians. The new version of eGain Live Web 5.0 will enable LSSI to speed the performance of co-browsing, and enable reference librarians to easily handle multiple chat and co-browsing sessions at the same time.
After initial research done with a variety of academic and public libraries using eGain Live to power their Virtual Reference Desk, LSSI has applied the Internet to revolutionize information access, and marry the power of the Internet with the expertise of reference librarians. Despite early hyperbole and claims that the Internet made libraries and librarians obsolete, LSSI and its library customers are fashioning a new role for librarians as information brokers, not just information custodians.
According to Steve Coffman, vice president of product development at LSSI, and a noted speaker on virtual reference programs, the new collaboration technologies complement the role of the library in a community, while making the Internet a more useful tool. "With the ubiquity of the Internet, information access is not the issue for library patrons anymore -- the Internet has created an information overload. Today, navigation and selection of appropriate information is the challenge. LSSI provides the Virtual Reference Toolkit so that the information experts can easily share their expertise with the communities they serve."
As an early mover in the market, LSSI has been very successful in helping communities across the country set up virtual reference libraries. Echoing the theme of the QandAcafe for the San Francisco Bay area libraries (qandacafe.com), "Wouldn't it be great if the Internet had a reference librarian? Now it does," LSSI's success stories include CleveNet (28 libraries of the Cleveland area), "SmartyPants" for the Denver Public Library (www.denver.lib.co.us/smartypants.html), "QandANJ" from the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (www.qandanj.org), "Ask Your Library" from a group of Connecticut Libraries (www.askyourlibrary.org), and hundreds of others throughout the United States. LSSI's university clients include MIT, Columbia , Duke, Vanderbilt, UC Santa Barbara, Pennsylvania State, North Carolina State, the University of Sydney, York and Guelph Universities in Toronto, and many more. Using eGain's multi-lingual capabilities, LSSI is currently rolling out virtual reference support for the Spanish Language Service, and is also working to support French and Chinese.
eGain's Web Architecture an Advantage
According to Arthur Brady, vice president of LSSI's reference division, LSSI went through an exhaustive eight-month selection process before selecting the eGain solution. Designed to handle Web-based customer interactions via text chat and proxy-based co-browsing, eGain Live Web proved ideal for delivering high quality reference services to the increasing number of patrons who prefer to access library resources via the web, rather than making a visit in person.
"What most impressed us about eGain Live was the fact that the barrier to entry on the patron side is essentially zero. There's no high memory requirement, nothing to download and no need to have a particular browser," said Brady. "It was also important to us that eGain Live can handle information in whatever format it happens to be stored, whether it's a word document on a local CD or a web page or anything else. With eGain Live Web 5.0, librarians are able to serve multiple patrons at the same time, dramatically improving the library's reach and effectiveness."
The eGain Live Web product line has four primary functions useful to reference librarians interacting with a patron via the Web:
- Chat & Page Pushing. Patrons and librarians can chat in real-time, and the librarian can cause any web page to be displayed on the patron's computer.
- Escort. A librarian can lead a patron from one web page to another. This function is also referred to as co-browsing, and is especially useful for sharing information from limited-access databases.
- Transmit. A librarian can transmit a document to a patron in virtually any format. (Obviously, the patron needs the appropriate software to read the document.)
- Slide show. A librarian can create slide shows that combine live web pages and PowerPoint slides, and then make them available to a patron.
All of these features are implemented in LSSI's Virtual Reference ToolKit, which helps libraries deal with growing numbers of "virtual" patrons. The tool kit is hosted by LSSI, so if a library chooses to use it, the impact on the library's technical staff is minimal: LSSI takes care of both the day-to-day software operations, as well as ongoing maintenance.
"We're delighted to have LSSI as a partner and a customer," said Gunjan Sinha, eGain's President. "Their leadership in leveraging the Internet to extend the reach of reference librarians provides an excellent model for organizations across the public and private sector -- wherever you have a limited number of experts whose clients or constituents are geographically dispersed."
Library Systems and Services, Inc. (LSSI), a private company founded by professional librarians in 1981, is the largest provider of contracted library management services in the US. The company, which manages public, corporate and special collection libraries, made history in 1997 when it entered into the first public/private library partnership in the country for the management of the Riverside County Library System in California. It has since added other libraries in California, Maryland and New Jersey to its public library client roster The company also does specialized projects for government entities, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Department of Energy, the Veterans Administration and the Library of Congress.
About eGain Communications Corporation
eGain (NASDAQ: EGAN) is a leading provider of eService software. Selected by 24 of the 50 largest global companies to improve phone and Web-based customer service, eGain solutions increase service efficiency and customer retention - thus delivering a significant return on investment (ROI). eGain eService Enterprise - the company's integrated software suite - includes applications for email management, Web collaboration and self-service, and enterprise-wide knowledge management. eGain has an operating presence in 18 countries and serves more than 800 enterprise customers worldwide - including Vodafone, DaimlerChrysler, and ABN AMRO Bank. To learn more about eGain, please visit www.eGain.com or call the company's offices - United States: (888) 603-4246; London: +44 (0) 1753 464646; or Sydney: +612 9492 5400.