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A blog for British Columbia's Post-Secondary Chat Reference Service
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

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 [...]

Testing the New AskAway Website

Fri, 2014-08-15 14:55
We are seeking volunteers — service providers and local coordinators — to assist with user experience testing of an updated AskAway staff portal. Participation should take around 20 minutes, and involves navigating to a number of pages on the website and completing a survey. Responses will help us to make pages easier to find and [...]

Student preferences for different forms of reference

Fri, 2014-06-27 16:13
A very interesting article came out in CRL last month, entitled “A Usability Evaluation of Academic Virtual Reference Services“. Studies were done at two American universities comparing students’ experiences with and preferences for various forms of reference service, with extremely positive results for AskAway-style online chat. Well worth a read:

Update to Descriptive and Resolution Codes

Thu, 2014-06-12 16:13
We have recently updated the Resolution and Descriptive Codes page to provide a clearer explanation of which codes should be applied in which situations. The page outlines the codes that are available, with explanations for when they should be applied. You can find it here: Descriptive codes provide valuable information about the kinds of questions [...]

OutLook OnLine Outage Sunday March 23rd

Fri, 2014-03-21 13:59
Just a heads-up that OutLook OnLine, the service you may use to help patrons discover items held at BC public or post-secondary libraries, will be offline on Sunday, March 23rd from 9 AM – 6 PM.  While OutLook is offline, the alternative will be to search library catalogues individually.  It will [...]

Ethical Dilemmas survey

Fri, 2014-01-31 14:32
Something that came up on the DIGI_REF listserv that might be of interest to AskAwayers. Here’s a chance to contribute some data points to a study on ethics in reference work… Dear colleagues, I cordially invite you to complete a brief survey that seeks to study reference librarians’ experience with ethical dilemmas at work. It will only [...]

Mobile Options for AskAway Virtual Reference

Sat, 2014-01-25 14:22
With the expanding use of tablets and smart phones, increasing mobile options for patrons has become a priority for many post-secondary libraries. These mobile-friendly versions of online library services include simplified web design and page layouts optimized for viewing on mobile screens. Examples include simplified versions of home pages, search interfaces and chat-based reference services. While [...]