Published in College & Research Libraries News (Feb 2015) Vol. 76 no. 2, pp. 98-101. Copyright © 2015 by Association of College and Research Libraries,. All rights reserved. Uploaded as publishers PDF


Librarians have always tried to stretch the limits of applicable technologies to create effective connections among researchers and resources. We thrive on the tools and tactics that help us do this, and we are always on the prowl for newer, better alternatives. This is one of the best ways we have of keeping high service standards in the face of shrinking budgets and skeletal staffing. Fortunately, there have never been so many technologies to choose from, and there have never been so many challenges calling out for technological intervention.

Hosting online instruction sessions is, for example, an excellent opportunity for libraries to benefit from new technologies. As the private sector has known for some time, good virtual conferencing systems can save time and money by reducing the need for travel, and they provide surprising flexibility for online training. Facing increasing demands to provide library-related instruction for classes held off-campus and online, we undertook a search for the best products to serve academic needs and budgets.

What follows are the results of our investigation: a small selection of some of the most popular, the most cost-effective, and the most useful systems available. This list is by no means complete, however. It seems that there are new entries to the market almost every day, each with its own strengths. We hope the entries below will help you get started on your own search for the best of the many alternatives.


Communication Technology and New Media | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Library and Information Science | Science and Technology Studies | Technology and Innovation