AskAway Blog

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a blog for staff of BC's post-secondary virtual reference service
Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

Quick tips to improve conversations with patrons

Mon, 2017-07-31 12:01
QuestionPoint recently hosted a brief 30 minute webinar with quick tips to improve chat reference conversations. They also shared several follow-up questions and answers from the session. In the webinar, a public and an academic librarian share general tips that can be applied to any chat reference question, from in-depth research to circulation. Three tips […]

Improving Chat Reference with Emotional Intelligence

Wed, 2017-03-08 13:37
The Florida State Library has shared a webinar they held on emotional intelligence in chat reference, which they offer as part of their library staff training. If you’re interested in a stronger connection with your patrons for better reference outcomes, please have a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQKZHTxrRWw

Preparing for unexpected patrons

Fri, 2017-02-24 10:56
As we are now approaching the busy part of the term, it may be helpful to review some tips and recommended procedures for working with unexpected patrons.  Although it happens rarely, AskAway sometimes receives calls from unexpected patrons. These might include chats with non post-secondary patrons, pranksters, patrons with technical difficulties, or patrons in crisis. […]

Sending database links to patrons

Mon, 2017-01-23 10:41
A recent message from a service provider: “I’ve been having intermittent problems sending working links to Ebsco databases to patrons over Askaway. I’ll send a link to search results or a journal article and they will be sent to an Ebsco page where it asks them to pick their server. This is not the database […]

Large SFU Psych 100/102 assigment

Fri, 2016-09-30 10:25
It’s that time of semester when you may hear from SFU students in Psyc 100 / Psyc 102 looking for research help on their assignments. Please note that there is a guide for Psyc 100 / Psyc 102. Some students may still need help navigating the databases, as they are mostly first year students new […]

Assignment Alert: UVic BIOL 184 Library Assignment

Mon, 2016-09-19 10:01
The annual Biology lab assignment at UVic is underway – here is a message with various bits of information for you and any UVic students you might come across while chatting. Questions can be directed to the subject librarian – Kathleen Matthews, kmatthew@uvic.ca – The BIOL 184 Library Lab assignment is getting underway and the […]

Douglas College computer system shutdown: February 11-15

Wed, 2016-02-03 08:42
Hello all, Douglas College will experience a full computer systems shutdown between 9pm on Thursday Feb 11th and 6am Monday Feb 15th in order to relocate the College’s main server and network equipment room. Although this information will be posted on the Douglas College website, there will likely be many confused students in AskAway. Students […]

Large Biology assignment at UVic

Mon, 2016-01-18 09:30
There is a large biology assignment (BIOL 186) beginning this week at UVic. There are about 800 students in the course so you may run into some of them on AskAway. According to the biology librarian (Kathleen Matthews), the students are looking for articles in the Web of Science, exporting results to Endnote Web and […]

VR bringing back reference question complexity

Mon, 2016-01-11 12:34
Krisellen Maloney and Jan H. Kemp recently published a fantastic article about how chat reference and proactive chat are bringing back the complexity of the reference question: http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2015/03/10/crl15-725.short?rss=1 Some key points: “Online chat may be popular (and less threatening) because it makes the service interaction available to users in a way that is culturally more familiar […]

What does AskAway sound like?

Tue, 2015-09-15 09:37
The Access 2015 conference (September 8-11) included a hackfest session led by York University’s William Denton, who taught attendees how to use Sonic Pi to turn data into sound. The idea is to explore different ways of representing data, which may tell you things about your data that you hadn’t realized. With some rather basic Ruby coding (which […]

Tips for busy times and multiple patrons

Mon, 2015-02-23 10:47
As we’re now in the busy part of the term, it may be helpful to review some tips and recommended procedures for busy times and handling multiple patrons on AskAway. How long should a patron wait? What if I’m busy, and others aren’t? What if people aren’t logged into Campfire, or they’re not responding? Am […]

Fix for mobile Qwidget errors

Fri, 2015-02-06 14:19
Some observant service providers discovered that on many library websites, the Qwidget does not display properly to users who are accessing AskAway via mobile devices using their mobile data plans. (Wifi displays OK.) The error appears as below: Happily, we have a fix for the problem. In October, QuestionPoint provided us with updated Qwidget code that […]

New citation resources

Thu, 2015-02-05 09:31
Memorial University has an excellent series of short, targeted videos guiding students through very specific citation problems. The guides are brief (generally 2-3 minutes, never more than 5), well-structured, engaging and to the point — and their creators have offered them to all Canadian libraries to use and embed as they wish. These could be a great […]

Short URLs for Qwidget Patrons

Wed, 2015-01-21 12:34
We often have to copy and paste a long URL, especially from database searches, into the Qwidget chat interface. But these long links can be overwhelming and frustrating for patrons. In some cases the URLs are even too long to paste into the chat box. Rather than disrupt your chat session with messy links… make […]

UFV Library OPAC now available

Wed, 2014-11-26 08:00
Wednesday, Nov. 26th, 8:00AM Our OPAC has been restored. Many thanks for your patience.  

UFV Library Catalogue on Tuesday, Nov. 25th.

Tue, 2014-11-25 13:13
From UFV: Our library catalogue will be unavailable from approx. 2:00PM to 2:30PM due to server maintenance.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Institutional Queues: Review and Update

Tue, 2014-10-14 15:31
You may have noticed a larger number of queues popping up over the past couple of weeks, as institutional queues are set up at more and more libraries. We now have 14 libraries running institutional queues, and there may be more in the near future. As institutional queues are rapidly becoming a permanent fixture on AskAway, [...]

UVic large Biology assignment

Tue, 2014-10-14 09:21
From Tracie Smith at the UVic Libraries: Just a heads up, that our 900+ students in BIOL 190A are now embarking on their Formal Lab Report. This report is for their catechol oxidase lab. We suspect some of them may come to AskAway for help. Students are required to use the Web of Science to find their [...]

Large Biology assignment at UBC

Fri, 2014-10-10 13:39
Hello AskAwayers, Thanks everyone in advance for your support with our biology undergraduates. We are starting to see BIOL 140 at our in-person desks and we anticipate they will be visiting AskAway soon too! The BIOL 140 assignment this term is on saltwater (marine) organisms. Students are looking for information about their organism, its habitat and abiotic [...]

Troubleshooting and procedures

Wed, 2014-10-08 11:27
After the PLnet outage last week and several reports sent to me about folks having trouble logging in, it may be helpful to have a reminder about how to handle technical problems, forgotten passwords, and login/out procedures. If you’ve run into any of these problems, please try the solutions below. If problems still occur, contact your local [...]

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