Descriptive Tags

Descriptive tags allow the service to track what kinds of questions are being asked and paint an accurate picture of students' chat reference needs. Tags are customised for AskAway and have been selected to capture evaluative information of use to the AskAway service as a whole.

How to Apply Tags

  • Apply descriptive tags to every chat session if possible
  • You can apply tags during the session or at the end of a session
  • At a minimum, apply at least one Primary tag
  • Add additional tags as needed (using as many codes as applicable gives a stronger picture of how the service is being used)
  • Apply up to four tags to each session
  • If you select a tag by accident, click the "x" to the left of the tag to remove it

Given the definitions below, AskAway service providers should use their own judgement when deciding if a tag is an appropriate description for their call or not. If you have any questions about tags or suggestions for additions / deletion, please contact the AskAway Admin Centre.

Descriptive Tags


Primary tags
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 Questions in which a campus or library map/floor plan may be consulted. Also applies to library hours.
eResources 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. 

For example, "How can I find a book that the library doesn't have?" Or "I need a copy of On the Origin of Species."

The session may also include locating specific book titles or journal titles at the library.

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

The question involves interpretation or instruction at an advanced level. For example, "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 tags
Class Visit When it appears that an instructor 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 Begin - Closing Soon script.

This will help us capture turn-away statistics.



  • Questions about using the library and its services during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. can I access print books at the library right now?)
  • Questions that we wouldn't typically see but that are being asked due to current circumstances (e.g. will summer courses be in-person or online?)

Note: When appropriate, please also add a regular tag that describes the type of question asked. For example, if the question is about returns during building closures, add the "covid-19" tag AND the "circulation" tag. 

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.
Follow-up Do not use this tag. This is a system tag and AskAway does not currently use the email follow-up feature.
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 participating AskAway library.
Practice Anytime a service provider is practicing.
Referred When a patron is referred to any place or service that is not at the home library (e.g. the registrar's office, a public library).
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 - Swamped script to the patron and 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 (e.g. thesis statements, grammar checks, formatting) and/or they have been referred to a Learning / Writing Centre.