Archive for November, 2011

Embedding an AskAway Chat Qwidget in IronPoint

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Many ELN libraries use a Content Management System (CMS), such as IronPoint, to deliver their Institutional and Library web pages.

Check-out the new Embedding an AskAway Chat Qwidget into a Web Page Using the IronPoint Content Management System” tutorial compiled by Roën Janyk (Web Services Librarian at Okanagan College) and ELN for assistance in embedding the Qwidget in your IronPoint CMS and possibly other CMS websites.

You can follow the steps and links outlined in the tutorial, located in the AskAway Portal under Qwidget Administrator Tools, OR skip directly to the video version to learn how to embed an AskAway Qwidget in your IronPoint web pages.

ELN would like to extend a big thank you to Roën Janyk and Okanagan College for producing this excellent video tutorial for AskAway Institutions!

Chat Transcripts and User Privacy

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

We wanted to clarify the policy around AskAway transcripts and user privacy, and put together a short FAQ on the subject.

Can AskAway transcripts be re-sent, at the user’s request?
If a user asks for a transcript to be re-sent, we unfortunately have no way of verifying the identity of the person asking, so re-sending the transcript violates the patron’s privacy.

How could this violate a user’s privacy if we don’t ask for personal details?
The policy was put in place in part to protect students who do ask questions about sensitive topics or who, despite our best efforts, reveal personal or identifying information. Though the majority of the questions do not fall into this category, the seriousness of a violation of a student’s privacy is enough that we’ve opted not to re-send transcripts.

But if the person asking for the transcript knows about the chat session, wouldn’t that identify her? How else could she find out about the details of the session?
There are a couple of ways we could think of that someone could get information about another person’s chat session, and doubtless many others that we are unaware of. A student who leaves a public computer without logging out, or offers her own computer to a classmate could leave information related to her AskAway session available for others to view.

How does AskAway policy fit within post-secondary libraries’ policies?
Many post-secondary libraries have policies about confidentiality between learners and librarians, and AskAway needs a similar policy to fit the expectations of students, librarians, and institutions.

How can we help students who ask for the transcript to be sent again?
Fortunately we can provide for students’ information needs without sending a transcript. If the person asking for the transcript knows the question which was originally asked, and wants to have the same links or names of information resources sent to her, there is no issue with checking the transcript to see which resources were originally recommended, and then passing along those links or resources.

If you notice that this is a repeated issue (e.g., that multiple patrons are reporting that they have not received their transcripts), or have questions or comments, please contact the AskAway Admin Centre.

— Reece, BC ELN

Swamped Tool Update

Friday, November 18th, 2011

We have updated the swamped button – our new tool that allows you to quickly send an email to the listserv when AskAway is swamped. We’re pleased to say that it now works with both web-based email and email clients (so that should be everyone)!

The swamped button remains in the same place on the AskAway Portal – Staff Tools page, but will now lead you to a form. Just enter your institutional email (the one that is subscribed to the listserv), click “send” and an email asking other AskAwayers to help out will be sent.

Feel free to contact the AskAway Admin Centre – aaoffice@eln.bc.ca with questions.

— Reece, BC ELN

AskAway Transcripts: Advanced Keyword Search

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Keyword Searching AskAway transcripts may be useful for monitoring trends in question subjects, or just taking a glance at how frequently a session contains a key topic. As an example, we searched the entire system (all AskAway questions for the past 90 days) and found 39 questions mentioning “copyright”

To keyword search transcripts from your patrons:

1)    Log in to your Question Point Admin account (9-digit login).

2)    Select “Ask” from the drop-down box at the top right of the screen.

3)    Verify the active tab is “Questions”

4)    Click on the link “Advanced Search” (under the basic search box, on the right)

5)     To limit to your library’s patrons, verify that “Owned by my library” is selected from the drop-down box called “Transactions Owned by”.

6)    Search! Note that it’s possible to limit by time period, and transaction type (Qwidget/full screen).

What can you do with the results?

View in a table:

1)    Adjust the “Results per page” in the drop-down box at the top of the page so that all results are on one page, if possible. If you have over 50 results, complete the steps below for each page of results.

2)    Select the results you wish to view by checking the box beside the result. To select all, tick on the box at the bottom of the page of results.

3)    Click the grey button “View Checked Transactions”

The transactions may be copied and pasted into Excel or saved as an .html file.  A print version is available by clicking the link at the upper right of the page of transactions.

Each library can search transcripts connected to their institution, whether it is their students asking the questions, or their librarians answering them. Transcripts are only keyword search-able for 90 days after being created, but it is possible to bulk-download older questions. Feel free to contact us for instructions if you are interested in bulk-downloading.

Feel free to contact us with questions or comments!

— Reece, BC ELN

New BC Business Resource

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

When answering business questions on AskAway, institution-specific guides and resources are the first place to check; if you are looking for additional information, though, a great new resource called Small Business Accelerator (SBA) may be the next place to look.

It helps with queries such as:

  • What is the economic forecast for accountants in BC?
  • Where can I find a sample business plan for a bicycle courier business?
  • How do I research the retail industry in BC?

SBA is an online tool designed to provide access to industry-specific resources and information. Business librarians curate the SBA, and ensure resources are relevant to B.C., current and accurate. AskAway Librarians are likely to find SBA useful for business students creating business plans or doing industry research. It would also be useful for students writing grants, even for some outside of the business sector, as SBA is a gateway to funding sources including grants for heritage and arts, specific populations, and people who live in rural or northern B.C.

The SBA contains Accelerator Guides for over 100 specific industries – Coffee Shop Business, Martial Arts School and Doula Business are a few. The guides point users toward resources such as sample industry-specific business plans, relevant free and subscription databases (the ones available at most B.C. public and academic libraries), and tailored funding information. The guides section information resources into four slices- one on beginning to think about a new business and three separate research areas on industry, competition and customers. Each Accelerator Guide assists users with what types of questions they may want to find answers for at each step of forming  a new business, and then directs the users toward resources that can provide those answers. In addition to the industry-specific guide, SBA includes standard business plan templates, resources and information applicable to all industries and businesses

The Small Business Accelerator is available here: http://www.sba-bc.ca/
A short video tutorial demonstrating how you can use the SBA is available.

— Reece, BC ELN