Resolution and Descriptive Codes

These are the resolution and description codes that AskAway staff can apply to their AskAway sessions as they exit the session. 

Resolution codes are determined by the software, and only one resolution code may be applied to each session. These codes allow us to track technical problems, and to exclude practice calls from our statistics.

Descriptive codes are customised for AskAway. They have been selected to capture evaluative information of use to the AskAway service as a whole. Up to four descriptive codes may be applied to each session.

Descriptive codes allow us to track what kinds of questions are being asked, and get an accurate picture of students' virtual reference needs.

Please apply descriptive codes to every chat if possible, with at least one Primary descriptive code at a minimum (when applicable). Using as many codes as apply can give us a strong picture of how the service is being used.

If you have any suggestions for additions or deletions to the descriptive codes, please let the AskAway Administrative Centre know. The Admin Centre can also help local coordinators to create descriptive codes specific to their institutions.

Given the definitions below, AskAway service providers should use their own judgement when deciding
if a descriptive code is an appropriate description for their call or not. Contact the AskAway Administrative Centre with any questions about descriptive codes.

Resolution Code


Answered Use this code for all sessions unless one of the other two situations apply.
Lost Call Use this code if you were unable to complete the session due to technical difficulties.
Practice Use this code if you are practicing or if a librarian is testing the service.
All other resolution codes Please do not use any other resolution codes.
The Followup resolution codes will adversely affect statistics.

Descriptive Code


Primary descriptive codes
Circulation Questions concerning renewing books, holds on books, fines, course reserves material, item requests, and patron records.
Citation Questions concerning any type of citation style.
Directional Any questions in which a campus or library map/floor plan may be consulted. Includes "Where's the toilet?" Also applies to library hours.
e-Resources Access Questions concerning access or login to electronic resources, on or off-campus. Often accompanies Research questions.
Inappropriate / Prank When a patron is asking an unreasonable question or is being rude or offensive.
Ready Reference When a service provider gives any recommendation, interpretation or instruction in the use of one or more information resources at a basic level. 

e.g.: "How can I find a book that the library doesn't have?" Or, "I need a copy of The Origin of Species."

This session may also include locating specific book titles or journal titles in the catalogue.

Research When an in-depth question involves searches in a database or catalogue, or consulting multiple websites or reference materials.

The question involves interpretation or instruction at an advanced level, e.g. "I need articles on how television influences children."

This session could also include familiarity with course assignments, subject knowledge, discussion of resources and recommendations of research strategies.


Questions relating to software, computer equipment, or printers.

Additional descriptive codes
Class Visit When it appears that an instructor from any school (ie: K-12 or post-secondary) has recommended the entire class login to try AskAway.
Closed Script Used

When a service provider picks up a new call after closing time, and uses the "Close - Sorry we are closed" script.

This will help us capture turn-away statistics.

Crisis/Security When a patron has indicated they are in crisis or require Security services, and/or the service provider uses either the "Problem - Crisis Centre" or the "Problem - Contact Security" scripts.
Disconnected When the connection with a patron is lost before the session reaches a clear end. 
Duplicate Question When it appears that the same question is being submitted repeatedly and multiple service providers are answering the same question at the same time.
Example for Training When a service provider feels the transaction would be a useful learning opportunity for future AskAway training. Transcripts will be stripped of all identifying information before being used for training purposes.
Feedback If a patron gives any feedback, positive or negative, regarding AskAway or the library.
First Time User When a patron states that this is their first time using AskAway.
Interlibrary Loan Anytime a patron inquires about interlibrary loan services, or is referred to ILL.

No Question

When a patron is picked up from the queue and a question is never asked.
Non-affiliated When it seems the patron is not affiliated with a BC post-secondary institution.
Referred When a patron is referred to any place or service that is not at the home library, ie: registrar's office.
Referred to Home Library When a patron is referred to their home library.
Swamped Whenever the service was so busy that the patron was asked to return later, and/or the service provider sent the Begin - Busy Swamped script to the patron, and the service provider was not able to return to help the patron.
Test Anytime a service provider is testing the service.
Writing Help When a student asks for any type of editing or writing help for term papers, (ie. thesis statements, grammar checks, formatting) and/or they have been referred to a Learning / Writing Centre.