AskAway Update: January 12th

AA News:
New Improved Service Provider Experience
On November 23, QuestionPoint installed a software update that changed the look and feel of the chat monitor. The new version improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the service provider experience, giving SPs more ability to customise the layout of information in the chat monitor. The new version requires your computer to have the latest version of Flash. For more information about this exciting
upgrade, see New Look For the Chat Monitor.
Qwidgets Are Here
QP recently launched the Qwidget, a mini chat box that can be placed on any library website page, allowing patrons to access AskAway at point-of-need. Six AskAway libraries have now placed Qwidgets on their library websites: BCIT, Douglas College, North Island College, UBC, Okanagan College, and University of the Fraser Valley. Implementations are underway at several other AskAway libraries. Preliminary results from the pilot project run in the fall have shown patron requests can double or even triple with just 4-5 placements of the Qwidget on the library website. Learn more about the Qwidget
on the Portal.
Sustainability Survey Results Available
Results of the Sustainability Survey that AskAway administrators filled out in September are available on the Portal. Results are being used to create an AskAway Adds Value Toolkit, available soon.
Marie Radford coming to the BC Library Conference!
We are pleased to confirm that Marie Radford will be presenting a pre-conference session and a conference session at the 2009 BC Library Conference. Marie is a professor at SCILS, Rutgers University and is co-principal investigator of the international study Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-user, and Librarian Perspectives. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear this internationally renowned and engaging speaker. The pre-conference session, aimed at both f2f and VR reference practitioners, will “challenge you to consider the possibility of outstanding and personalized service to every library user,” inspiring you and reaffirming excellent service as a core library value. Learn more on the BC Library Conference website.
Patron Exit Survey Results Now Available by Institution
We’ve been able to add a question to our patron exit survey asking which institution the patron attends. This allows us to sort our patron survey responses by institution. Have a look at what YOUR patrons are saying about AskAway: Patron Exit Survey Results
Firefox or Internet Explorer?
If you will not be cobrowsing with patrons, feel free to use Firefox as your browser when staffing AskAway. Everything in the chat monitor will work as normal except for co-browse. QP has not as yet provided any documentation for using QP in Firefox, so our ability to provide technical support is limited, but we’ll do our best!
If you do wish to co-browse with patrons, remember that you need to be using Internet Explorer as your browser. The necessary IE settings are detailed here: Check Settings Handout
In December, Microsoft issued a critical security patch for IE which you must have installed in order to cobrowse with a patron; find out more here: IE Security Patch
Cobrowse will not work with the latest Sun Java update (JRE 1.6.0_11), so refrain from updating Java if you wish to continue cobrowsing with patrons. Find out more here: Java Update
How do I…Review My Own Transcripts?

  1. Login to your QP account.
  2. In the top right-hand corner, in the Select Service menu, choose Ask.
  3. Under the Questions tab, click on All in the blue navigation bar.
  4. In the right-hand corner, under Limit To, choose your name to view all of your transcripts from the past 90 days
  5. Transcripts from more than 90 days ago will appear under the Service History tab.

Questions about transcripts? Contact Sunni
AA Stats
Patron calls to AskAway are up! From September – December 2007 we averaged 42.8 calls per day; September – December 2008 we averaged 49.5 calls per day. The increase in calls was shown even before October 15, when the Qwidget began to show up on library websites.
Of the AskAway patrons that responded to the exit survey:

  • 65% indicated they have never used AskAway before
  • 59% indicated that they chose to use AskAway because they were searching for online resources; 33% indicated it was because they preferred online services
  • 53% indicated that they chose to use AskAway because of their distance from the library
  • 85% found out about AskAway via the link on their library’s website
  • 98% indicated that they would use AskAway again

For more exit survey results, and for statistics up to and including December 2008, see the For Local Administrators tab of the Portal.
Have questions about statistics? Ask Sunni:
Absolutely Amazing Patron Feedback
“Wonderful service, very helpful in finding ways to search that I could not think of.”
“Great service. A valuable tool in the fight against distance-based educational restraints. Keep up the good work!”
“I never knew about this service, but I'm glad I found it. I was completely lost looking for online resources and this helped a lot! Even though some Librarians weren't able to answer my question, they gave a lot of options for me to explore and were completely dedicated to helping me find some answers!”
“I wish I had discovered this service sooner, then I wouldn't have wasted so much time searching in the wrong place. I was nervous as I have very little experience with on-line chat, but she was very nice.”
“I've used askAway for a little while now and librarians are awesome!
Nice, polite, friendly and efficient. I love it!”
“This service is amazing. I am so pleased I was told about it. I am extremely happy with the help I received, and will recommend this to other students.”
In answer to the question “Why did you choose to use AskAway,” patrons

  • “I wanted to try it out and I hoped my questions would have relatively easy answers”
  • “its right there on the page!”
  • “easier than phoning”
  • “I needed answers right away!”
  • “The librarians were all busy and didn't answer the phone.”
  • “I wanted to try it for first time.”
  • “wanted authoritative help quickly”
  • “convenience and minimize unnecessary travel time”
  • “I thought it might be more easily understood in writing.”
  • “I couldn't leave my stuff unattended for too long and it's not easy to find a space”
  • “I like the chat format as it gives a written reference”
  • “i wanted a quick answer and didnt want to go to the desk”
  • “also studying at home--have young family--difficult to get to library”

Want to know what YOUR patrons are saying about AskAway? Results from
the Patron Exit Survey are available on the Portal, sorted by
institution: Patron Exit Survey Results
Questions about this update or suggestions for future ones? Let
me know!
- Sunni