Archive for November, 2006

Fridge magnets

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I just returned from my local public library, where they have a stack of nifty AskAway fridge magnets. I was tempted to take a bunch but managed to restrict myself to just one. Are there any magnets for academic libraries to give our patrons so I won’t have to continue to resist temptation?
– Ross Tyner (Okanagan College)

QP fixes coming this weekend

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Update to the message below: The upload has been delayed a week. Also, of course, our service is closed as of yesterday, so you won’t get to try these features until January.
Great news! The QuestionPoint upgrade scheduled for this weekend should fix a number of minor annoyances. Here’s a partial list of the fixes:
1. Better response time: I’m not sure exactly what they’ve done, but they say, “Chat librarians will notice a significant improvement in response time.” One thing you will notice is that your Sent messages appear in the transcript box immediately.
2. Focus goes to end of transcript: Each time the librarian switches to a different patron, the focus automatically goes to the end of the transcripts, rather than the beginning.
3. Indicators show patron connection status: Colour symbols to the left of the patron name indicate connection status: when a patron is connected (green square), when the system has received no response from the patron for an extended time (yellow diamond), and when the connection between patron and system is broken (red circle).
4. Warning message when the librarian’s QuestionPoint session is closed: A pop-up window will alert the librarian if the QuestionPoint session was inadvertently exited. Also there will be a red “Monitoring no queues” message. I hope — but I’m not sure — this will get triggered during browser freezes as well.
5. Queue monitoring and IM statuses visible on monitor interface: There will be a small number next to the Queue and IM options in the upper right corner of the screen. The number will indicate the number of queues being monitored and the number of IM sessions currently open.
6. New preview mouse-over window under “My Active” tab: When switching between patrons, the librarian can mouse over the patron name to see a green box with the last message. This can reorient the librarian to where the exchange left off.
7. Queue selection simplified: You return to begin monitoring immediately after confirming your selection.
Great news!

Monday November 27th

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Most post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are closed today due to weather conditions. While this may not affect AskAway staff that are able to work from home, some AskAwayers may not be able to make their shifts. However, with so many students at home today, there may be increased traffic. Here’s our strategy:
There will be a notice on the patron login page warning them that service may be affected today due to weather conditions.
If you are not able to make your shift, please send an email to the servprov listserv letting everyone know.
If you are able to work your shift today, please check the blog and your email frequently for updates on the service today.
If you are staffing the service and find that you are all alone or swamped, please take the time to send an email to the servprov listserv letting us know so that we can come and help. Remember to make use of the We’re Swamped! webpage (see Gordon’s blog posting to push to the patrons letting them know we are swamped.
If you are able to help out with some extra time today, please log onto AskAway and check to see if help is needed.
This may be AskAway’s day to be a shining example of the power of province-wide collaboration! :)

Tip for Speeding Up QuestionPoint

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

The following tip comes from the AskAway public library service …
QuestionPoint speed tactics
Some suggestions have been made that QuestionPoint runs much faster if you don’t have many Internet Explorer browser windows open. Jane Lucas (one of our Supp Staff) has found that if she runs only the Chat Monitor (and co-browse windows) in IE and then runs all of her other browser tasks from Firefox, she gets much better performance. Perhaps a few of you can try this out and let us all know if that seems to improve chat and IM response.

Comments feature now turned on

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Hi folks. The Comments feature on the blog has now been turned on.
If someone posted a question or comment to the blog, and you’d like to reply immediately (and publicly), here’s what you do:
1. Click the Comments button.
2. Under “Post a Comment”, hit the orange Sign in link.
3. You’ll be taken to a TypeKey screen. On the left, enter the Name and Password. They are exactly the same as the name and password combo for posting entries to the blog. See my email of Nov. 14 for those.
4. Type your comment in the appropriate box. Include your name and position at the bottom of your message, because all postings appear with a generic “AskAway” author. When you’re done, hit Post.
5. You’ll see your comment displayed below the original entry. Make sure to hit the orange Sign Out link.
Let me know if you have any trouble with this. Unfortunately, for the two questions recently posted to the list, it doesn’t seem to be possible to add comments to them, so you’ll have to reply directly to those authors, or perhaps they can repost their questions.
Gordon Coleman
BC Electronic Library Network