Archive for November, 2009

Camosun Network Issues

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Please note if you are helping Camosun students:

Camosun is Experiencing Networking Problems

  1. Off Campus access – When students try to access a database the system times out. They may get a Cannot Display Webpage message or a Time Out Message. This is intermittent for most databases and the best thing is to suggest the student try again in a while. Three sites are simply NOT working OFF campus – Natural Standard, BC Stats Secure, and ABC-CLIO books. Students must be on campus to access these.
  2. Wireless access ON Campus – Many users are not able to get to databases via the ON Campus wireless but are able to access the databases via OFF Campus wireless. Suggest the student use a wired machine on campus or go off campus.

– Richard Baer
Camosun College

UFV – off campus access to research databases

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The server between UFV registration and the library’s databases is being worked on. This is effecting off campus access to the library’s databases for only SOME of our students.
A workaround this problem until our server is fixed is:
1. try logging in using your student number and the default date of birth password (YYMMDD).
2. change your password in MyUFV to force synchronization, and then wait a couple of hours for the system to update your account.
If students cannot login from off campus using this workaround, please contact the UFV library at (604) 854-4545 or UFV ITS directly (604-864-4610 ;
Thank you,
Mary-Anne MacDougall

Set Amount of Disk Space To Use

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

To ensure that your browser is operating at maximum efficiency to handle all those AskAway calls coming in, do the following in your browser:
If you are using FIrefox to staff AskAway, do this in Firefox:

  1. In the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Under Advanced, click on the Network tab and make sure that Offline Storage is set to 50 MB. (This is critical! Higher settings will affect the speed at which you see and are able to pick up new patrons coming in.)

If you are using Internet Explorer to staff AskAway, do this in IE:

  1. Go to the Tools menu > Internet Options > Settings (under “Temporary Internet Files” or “Browsing History”).
  2. Make sure that “Check for newer versions of cached pages…on every visit to the page” is selected.
  3. Ensure “Amount of disk space to use” is set to 1 MB [50 MB if you are using IE 7]. (This is critical! Higher settings will affect the speed at which you see and are able to pick up new patrons coming in.)
  4. Click OK to return to the Internet Options dialog.
  5. Click OK to close the Internet Options dialog.

This will ensure that you are seeing the patron calls coming in as quickly as the rest of your colleagues.
– Sunni

Q & As for Handling Multiple Patrons

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Some very useful questions from a service provider around handling multiple patrons, with my answers:
How do we know which patron is first in the line-up?

Patrons will be listed in the New tab in the order in which they come in, with newest at the top and oldest at the bottom. The Time column will tell you how many seconds the patron has been waiting.

I know I get anxious when I’m helping someone and keep hearing the pinging announcement of a new patron or patrons. Does the ping only happen once when a new patron arrives or does it keep pinging until one or several patrons are helped?

The pinging is set to go off continuously as long as a patron is in the New tab and hasn’t been picked up by anyone. Annoying, but it makes sure that no one forgets them! ;-)

If I’m in the middle of assisting someone, and without going back to the active screen, how do I know if there are several new patrons, or just one that is patiently waiting?

The only way to know how many patrons there are waiting to be picked up is to go to the New tab. You won’t lose your connection with your patron if you check the New tab during your call – just go back to the My Active tab and click on your patrons name to go back to chatting with your patron.

When you pick up another patron from the New tab and send them the Swamped script, they will sit in the list in your My Active tab until you can come back to them. To switch between patrons in your My Active tab, just click on them – it will take a few seconds for the chat transcript to load. Then you can chat with them as normal.

I’m often too worried of losing a connection if I’m in a database or catalogue to go back to the screen to send out a message to a new patron. Is there a way that the system can recognize when we’re swamped and the system can send out the messages automatically to the folks waiting?

I wish that we had this feature in QP! It is on our list of development requests for QP, so we’ll keep asking QP for a timeline on this.

It’s not possible, is it, for a patron to get a couple of swamped messages at the same time from several of the librarians on duty?

No, it isn’t possible for a patron to get multiple swamped messages. They will only get messages from the librarian that has picked them up.

If I send swamped messages to two or three patrons, are they relegated to my tab only and so am I then committed to helping all of them or can another librarian who might be finished before me have access to that tab to pick them up?

Yes, once you have picked them up and they show up in your My Active tab then you are committed to dealing with them in some way, whether it is to send them the Swamped script, help them later, or transfer them to another librarian.

Let me know if you have any other questions!
– Sunni

Rules of Engagement for Busy Times

Friday, November 13th, 2009

We’ve reached the busy peak of this term – on average we’re handling 130 – 160 calls per day, 10-20 per hour. Our busiest hour so far was Tuesday Nov 3 from 2-3 PM when 27 calls came in!
As we get busier, things get stressful for our patrons and for us. Here’s some coping strategies:
Rules of Engagement for Patrons
As of yet there are no built-in software indicators to patrons when the service is busy, so we need to create a ‘virtual line-up’. Use of the Swamped scripts is critical to quickly let patrons know we are busy and that they’ll need to wait.

  1. Try not to leave patrons waiting in the New tab for longer than 60 seconds. On average patrons will only wait 60 seconds before they give up in frustration.
  2. Even if you are already handling as many calls as you can, please pick up patrons as soon as possible and send them one of the Swamped scripts (see below). Then you can leave them until you are ready to help them or can transfer them to another librarian.

Based on your feedback, I’ve modified the Swamped script – there are now two scripts. One encourages the patron to wait because you’ll be able to get back to them in a few minutes, the other encourages them to come back later or try emailing their question.

Swamped – Short Term: Hello, and welcome to AskAway. Unfortunately, we’re really busy right now, and I am currently working on questions I received before your call. I should be able to get back to you in about 5 [modify number as needed] minutes. Would you like to wait, or come back later when it is less busy?

Swamped – Long Term: Hello, and welcome to AskAway. Unfortunately, we’re really busy right now, and are currently working on questions we received before your call. It may be some time before we can help you. Would you like to come back later when it is less busy, or send in your question by email?

Rules of Engagement for Service Providers

  1. Be respectful of your colleagues and their different comfort levels/technology skills. If you think a colleague may be experiencing technical issues, LET ME KNOW and I will follow-up – this will help to avoid feelings of discomfort and ‘being monitored’.
  2. Check your browser settings! If your browser settings aren’t correct, you won’t see as many calls coming in as your colleagues, or you won’t be able to pick them up, frustrating for you and your colleagues. Browser settings instructions are available here:
  3. If you and your colleagues are feeling completely overwhelmed by the number of calls coming in, put out a call for help to the eln-vrefservprov listserv. If you are able to help, please jump in – we will all benefit from consistently great customer service to our patrons.

Let me know if you have any feedback and/or other suggestions for coping with busy times!
– Sunni