AskAway Blog

Oregon Statewide Service Hosting VR Summit

The Oregon statewide reference service is hosting the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit in late May, open to all interested.

Here is the announcement:

I'm the coordinator for Oregon's statewide reference service and I am inviting you to register for our annual conference, the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit, www.oregonlibraries.net/summit. Though we admit to a regional focus, the conference is open to everyone.

January Statistics and Update

The first AskAway statistics and survey information of 2012 are now available on the AskAway Portal.

Compared to January, 2011, we engaged in an average of 10% more sessions per day. January of last year's daily average was 94.3 sessions, this year's was 103.3.
January usage statistics are available here.

New AskAway Scripts

We have added some new scripts in response to suggestions from AskAwayers.

Here they are, along with some context.

Close - Left Session
I haven’t heard from you in a while, so I am going to close this session. Thanks for using AskAway, and please feel free to come back if you have further questions.

When a user has not responded for an extended period of time, this is a quick way to let them know you are ending the session and inviting them to return again.

New Tool for Working with Patrons: Screenr

Screenr is a great new tool that many Ask-Awayers might find useful. It's a webcasting product which  allows you to create videos of website navigation. This type of thing can be helpful in a reference situation where there is a complicated set of steps a chatter must follow in order to navigate to a particular article or database, or in cases where the chatter is having trouble understanding your directions.

Embedding an AskAway Chat Qwidget in ProQuest Databases

ProQuest has now added the option to embed custom widgets into their databases!

Already have an AskAway Qwidget in your EBSCO databases or library web pages? Why not check-out the new option in ProQuest to add a custom widget to all your standard-platform ProQuest databases like CBCA (the options to select individual databases or non-standard platforms like Chadwyck are not currently available).

You can re-use your already existing AskAway qwidget code OR create/update your AskAway qwidget code to embed in ProQuest.

November and December 2011 Update

We have just completed another busy and successful semester! Our busiest day this semester was November 15, when we had a whopping 216 sessions! That's up 10% from last year's busiest day. The busiest hour was from 7:00pm - 8:00 pm on October 31, with 31 sessions. Spooky!

November and December's usage and form fields statistics are available on the AskAway webpages below:

Usage Statistics

Form Fields Statistics

Chat Transcripts and User Privacy

We wanted to clarify the policy around AskAway transcripts and user privacy, and put together a short FAQ on the subject.

Can AskAway transcripts be re-sent, at the user's request?
If a user asks for a transcript to be re-sent, we unfortunately have no way of verifying the identity of the person asking, so re-sending the transcript violates the patron's privacy.

Swamped Tool Update

We have updated the swamped button - our new tool that allows you to quickly send an email to the listserv when AskAway is swamped. We're pleased to say that it now works with both web-based email and email clients (so that should be everyone)!

The swamped button remains in the same place on the AskAway Portal - Staff Tools page, but will now lead you to a form. Just enter your institutional email (the one that is subscribed to the listserv), click "send" and an email asking other AskAwayers to help out will be sent.

AskAway Transcripts: Advanced Keyword Search

Keyword Searching AskAway transcripts may be useful for monitoring trends in question subjects, or just taking a glance at how frequently a session contains a key topic. As an example, we searched the entire system (all AskAway questions for the past 90 days) and found 39 questions mentioning “copyright”

To keyword search transcripts from your patrons:

1)    Log in to your Question Point Admin account (9-digit login).

2)    Select “Ask” from the drop-down box at the top right of the screen.

3)    Verify the active tab is “Questions”

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