Archive for May, 2007

Sample Questions added to Viewport

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

As suggested by AskAway patrons, a list of sample questions has just been linked from the viewport (i.e. the page that patrons see when they ask a question on AskAway).
There are two kinds, Sample Questions and Sample Questions for which we can provide limited assistance.
If you’d like to see them, here is the link:
It says across the top of the page that these are only sample questions, and if the patron has a question that is not on the list, they should try it anyway. So if any patrons ask about it, you can refer them to that note.

Brown-bag lunch: Virtual Reference Wiki Pilot Project

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Askaway’s 14th brown-bag lunch session will introduce the Virtual Reference Wiki Pilot Project.
The Virtual Reference Wiki was created by LIBR 530 students at UBC’s SLAIS, and currently contains 16 subject guides specifically designed for the virtual reference environment
AskAway staff are currently adding some multi-disciplinary guides, such as a list of open-access databases.
The brown-bag lunch will cover:

  • What is a wiki
  • How to use the Virtual Reference Wiki
  • How to add to the Virtual Reference Wiki

The presentation will take place Monday, June 4th, 12:15 to 12:45. A recording will be made for those unable to attend at that time.
An email has been sent to the listservs which includes the link to the presentation. If you have not received this email, please let me know at: nikib(at)eln(dot)bc(dot)ca
For more information, including system requirements and FAQs, visit:

Recording of brown-bag lunch: Orientation to the TWU Library Website

Monday, May 28th, 2007

A recording of the Askaway Brown-bag lunch presentation:
Orientation to the TWU Library Website
is now available on the Askaway portal:
To view the recordings, you will need a browser that has the Flash Player plugin (IE or Firefox work best), and a pair of headphones or speakers.
Thanks very much to William Badke of TWU for his time and effort in creating this presentation!

Forest science question – patron may return

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Hello all, on Saturday, May 26th, a patron from UNBC was looking for the heating values of softwoods and hardwoods, specifically:

  • White Spruce: Picea glauca
  • Lodgepole Pine: Pinus contorta Watts or Pinus contorta latifolia
  • Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides
  • Black Cottonwood: Populus trichocarpa

He is not interested in the BTU (British Thermal Units), but wants the metric measure, which is the calorific value. He has a book from 1981, and we did find an article from 1977 (, but he is looking for recent information.
Biological and Agricultural Index Plus and Agricola were not helpful, but ScienceDirect was more useful. However, the patron had to log out before we found any useful articles.
We were searching for “heating values” in ScienceDirect, but “calorific values” might have worked better as a keyword. The journal: Energy Conversion and Management seemed to be particularly useful.
The best info was found by searches in Google:

  • “calorific values” spruce aspen pine

so maybe continue with the cottonwood search?
or try those keywords in ScienceDirect
Here is some info that we found after he had logged off:

Given the amount of time it took to get this far, we thought we’d pass on the info for whoever gets this question in future!
Angela and Niki

AskAway Brochure for Faculty

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Today Trish Rosseel and I demo’d AskAway to enthusiastic faculty and staff from institutions around the province at the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) Spring Workshop in Kamloops. Their excitement and interest in the service reminded me how important it is to market the service to the educators at our institutions.
The Marketing Materials tab of the Portal has several tools targeted to faculty and staff at your institutions, including an Announcement for Faculty, and the new AskAway Brochure which Niki has produced for us.
The AskAway brochure features some amazing examples of actual questions handled by AskAway service providers, samples of feedback from faculty, and highlights the service’s benefits to learners, educators and researchers. Please print it out and use for your internal marketing. BTW, the brochure consists of two PDFs (front & back).
– Sunni