Archive for February, 2011

UFV students

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

We have some feedback from an online instructor about the Askaway advice given to one of her students.

In her class, students are providing persistent links to articles, generally from PsycArticles or Academic Search Premier.  (Ebsco).  The simplest method is to copy and paste the “PERMALINK” provided on the right-side of the results screen in a detailed record.

For more information, UFV has a webpage with steps on creating Persistent Links.

The instructor also complained that the advice was sexist, because it assumed the instructor was a “he”.  I said I would pass this along to the Askaway Blog.

–          Patti Wilson, UFV Library

Intro to Summon

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Many libraries, including those at Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Island University and University of British Columbia, have added Summon to their websites. Here is a brief overview of Summon, based on notes from UBC’s Sheryl Adam. Her complete notes can be accessed here (PDF).

What is it?
Summon is a search engine that provides a single start point to find and access the majority of the library collections. It is a hosted service from Serials Solutions, with the Summon knowledge base and library content combined into one unified index.

What are its features?

  • Single search
    • Provides a Google-like search experience. Allows for Advanced Searching as well.
  • Relevant results
    • Delivers search results in a relevancy-ranked list so the most relevant results appear at the top of the list.
  • Results refinement
    • Navigate and narrow search result sets using multiple methods, such as filtering, faceting, and sorting.
  • View and Export Citations
    • Search results can be easily formatted and citations exported to bibliographic software like RefWorks or cut-and-paste into a Word document, printed or emailed.

**Continue reading for information on what is included and excluded from Summon, Summon search information and more**


Network Speeds- Tips

Monday, February 21st, 2011

One aspect of a regional service, with AskAwayers assisting patrons from all over BC and from Yukon, is that there are small technical differences between libraries which lead to varying network speeds.  There are also differences that may vary day-to-day, and affect some institutions sometimes and not other times. Due to differing speeds, it’s not  unusual for one service provider to be made aware of a patron before another service provider.  Here are a few tips, for AskAwayers who suspect they have network speeds at the higher or lower end of the spectrum, and for others who work with them.

If you notice you’re picking up calls more frequently than others, you may have a higher network speed, and may become aware of the patron several seconds before other AskAwayers. It can be difficult to hold back when you know there is a patron waiting for assistance, but it’s quite possible that holding back could help to provide a better AskAway experience; take the time to check which institution the patron is from, it may be the same as one of your AskAway colleagues. Though all service providers can often help all patrons, a librarian from the same institution as the patron may be able to offer some local knowledge.

If you notice you are unable to pick up calls because they have been claimed before you had the opportunity to pick them up, it’s likely that you have a slightly slower network speed. Even a small lag can make a big difference when hearing calls come in. In this situation, it works to use Campfire to let other AskAwayers know that you suspect their network speed is faster than yours, and ask them to hold back a moment to let you pick up calls.

Transferring calls is always an option as well; if you are missing calls due to slow network speeds, you can use Campfire to let your colleagues know that they can transfer a call to you. Conversely, if you are juggling a few calls and believe you may have been a little quick to pick up the last one, don’t be shy to ask another service provider if they would mind accepting a transfer.

BC ELN AskAway librarian Myfanwy Postgate compiled a great list of tips last year, many relevant to this situation:

  1. Hold-back a moment! When a new question appears check the institution it’s from and hold back a few seconds for the patron’s institutional librarian to pick-up… if one is available.
  2. Read the question! Take a moment to hover over and read the new question before picking up – this will give every librarian a moment to check it out.
  3. Transfer if needed. If they’re currently occupied or haven’t picked up within 30-60 seconds then go ahead and grab the question. You can always transfer it at the patron or librarian’s request.

If you’re interested, feel free to take a (second) look the full 10 Tips for Picking Up Patrons

Cheers! Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


2010 Fall Term Stats Available + Service Update

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Hi All,

The Fall 2010 full term statistics are now available on the AskAway Portal

Service Update
Fall 2010 term (Sept 20 – Dec 10)
•  Steady increase in fall traffic: AskAway’s biggest term to date, with 9272 sessions in total, a 12% increase over Fall 2009.
•  Qwidget usage increasing: 71% of traffic came via Qwidgets vs. 67% in Spring 2010. Several libraries have placed many more Qwidgets on their websites, usually while implementing a new website or LibGuides. Libraries seeing biggest increases since Fall 2009 include:

o JIBC: 433% increase; high AskAway visibility in LibGuides, and Qwidget on homepage
o ECUAD: 203% increase; new website with Qwidgets on every library page
o NLC: 144% increase; Qwidget on homepage and in LibGuides
o COTR: 94% increase: new website with Qwidget on every page
o VCC: 60% increase; new website with Qwidgets on all subject guides

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or feedback.

— Reece

Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes & Coordinator’s Report

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Hi all,

The Coordinator’s Report and meeting minutes for the January 24, 2011 Advisory Committee meeting are now available on the AskAway Portal.

The Coordinator’s Report gives a service update, including the increase in overall AskAway traffic in the Fall term, and an increase in traffic via Qwidget. It outlines trainings and collaborative efforts that took place during the Fall, including meeting and workshop briefs. The Coordinator’s Report provides a solid foundation of information about what AskAway is currently accomplishing, and has recently accomplished.

The Advisory Committee meeting minutes discusses future actions related to AskAway, and ongoing projects and committees. It includes an update on the newly formed Emerging Technologies Subcommittee, budgetary information and more.

— Reece