When you're working on AskAway, there should always be at least one other person on shift with you. If you find yourself alone or short-staffed, your colleagues and the Admin Centre are here to help. Below, you'll find the steps you can follow to request help as well as strategies to manage calls while you wait for help to arrive.
On your shifts, you're encouraged to use the new QuestionPoint chat monitor. Before taking it live, please check out the recent blog post Going Live with the New Chat Monitor for short demo videos and important information about what's changed and how to stay consistent with AskAway practices and procedures.
Read on to learn the latest on the chat monitor redesign including recent enhancements, when access to the current chat monitor will end, and a workaround for hopping out of the queues.
Missed out on the North American Virtual Reference conference? Recordings from all sessions are now available in the conference Archives.
Our AskAway colleague Ean Henninger, from SFU Library, presented at the conference and has shared a snapshot from the round of lightning talks Communication Strategies and Best Practices.
You're invited to use the new QuestionPoint chat monitor on your AskAway shifts. The new interface and the current (aka old) interface will operate in parallel for at least 2 weeks before access to the current version ends.
***Before taking the new chat monitor live, see below for important information about what's changed and how to stay consistent with AskAway practices and procedures.
QuestionPoint has released its redesigned chat monitor. The new redesigned interface and the current interface will operate in parallel for at least 2 weeks before access to the current version ends.
***Please continue to use the current (aka old) chat monitor for your scheduled AskAway shifts for the time being***
Next week, we'll follow-up with more information about the subtle changes in workflow and the features available in the redesigned interface before taking it live.
WriteAway is a BC post-secondary collaborative online writing tutoring service. Undergraduate students at participating institutions can submit draft papers to WriteAway online and receive feedback and strategies to improve their writing from qualified tutors. WriteAway can be a nice complement to AskAway, as students who prefer online services or who are working off-campus can take advantage of online writing support.
Catch up on AskAway fall news with The Chat Box December 2018!
At their November 8 Virtual User Group meeting, QuestionPoint shared an update on the chat monitor interface redesign. Learn more about what's expected and check out a recording and slides from the meeting.
The real value of Campfire comes from the community of service providers who use it to support one another during their shifts and keep AskAway running smoothly.
Log into Campfire and listen for notifications during each shift so that you'll be aware if something important comes up and your colleagues need assistance. You'll also be able to ask for help if you run into an issue.
Refreshed service-wide scripts have landed in time for the start of the fall term!
Catch up on AskAway summer news with the The Chat Box - August 2018!
A one-pager with ideas for small steps you can take to promote AskAway at your library.
QuestionPoint recently hosted a one-hour webinar on mitigating microaggressions in chat reference sessions.
At the end of a chat session, you have the opportunity to add Resolution and Descriptive codes to your chat. By adding these codes, you help us track technical issues with the service and give a clear picture of why patrons are coming to AskAway and the kind of help you are providing them.
Below, you'll find a quick refresher on how to apply resolution and descriptive codes.Adding a Resolution Code
Resolution codes allow us to track technical problems and to exclude practice calls from AskAway statistics.
Did you know that between 15-20% of questions that come to AskAway are citation questions?
To learn more about answering citation questions, we interviewed Marjory Jardine, an AskAway service provider at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), who has a knack for answering APA questions. Marjory shares what she enjoys about chat reference and citations, tips for tricky citation questions, and some of her favourite guides.
"Hello, do you offer 24/7 live chat assistance?"
"Hello, sorry to interrupt in the middle of the night. I have some problems with my research paper."
These questions came in to AskAway late one night after opening hours, with no one online to answer. It happens rarely, but every so often, an AskAwayer may forget to log out of QuestionPoint or have trouble logging out due to technical issues (e.g. computer freezes, power outage) and the service stays open through the night with no one to pick up calls.
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:
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. The Unexpected Patrons page has best practices and tips to help you be prepared and work with these patrons smoothly.
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 homepage or a university off-campus log in page."