Archive for April, 2012

March Statistics and User Feedback

Friday, April 13th, 2012

AskAway’s March form fields, usage statistics and survey information are now available on the AskAway Portal.
Compared to last March, we engaged in 7% more sessions. This translates to over 230 additional sessions, and a total of 3758 sessions, or over 118 sessions per day.

March usage statistics are available here:

The trends highlighted in recent months by the form fields descriptive codes feature have continued this month, research being the most often applied descriptive code.
2050 sessions were labelled with at least one descriptive codes by AskAwayers this month; about 2/3 of the total sessions.
Of these questions:
38% were research
17% were ready-reference
16% were citation or writing help
8% were e-resources access or technical help

Other questions were referrals, circulation questions, directional queries and more.
Form Fields for March are available here:

We received exit survey responses from these institutions: BCIT, CC, CC, CU, DC, JIBC, KPU, LC, NIC, OC, SC, SFU, TRU, UBC, UFV, UNBC, UVic, VCC, VIU
Below are some of the comments we received this month. Full survey results are available here:

“it was my 1st time using ask away, and [Librarian's name] helped me. he made it a lot easier for me to work on my assignment! thank you, and keep it up guyz! Thank you! :)  I’m definitely coming back when i need to.”  — Simon Fraser University learner

“I’ve used this service about 3 times and all times the librarian has been quick at coming online and quick in responding and very helpful. It’s much easier than calling in and/or driving to school! ” — University of the Fraser Valley graduate learner

“I really enjoyed talking to the librarian because I felt reassured I was doing all my work accurately, thank you librarian!” — BC Institute of Technology learner

“I really appreciated online librarian service. It was the easiest way to ask a librarian for advice.”  — University of BC learner

As always, feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

— Reece, BC ELN

Embedding an AskAway Chat Qwidget in ProQuest Databases – Updated!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

ProQuest has now added the option to embed custom widgets into their databases!

UPDATE: The option to delete the qwidget is now available!

Already have an AskAway Qwidget in your EBSCO databases or library web pages? Why not check-out the new option in ProQuest to add a custom widget to all your standard-platform ProQuest databases like CBCA (the options to select individual databases or non-standard platforms like Chadwyck are not currently available).

You can re-use your already existing AskAway qwidget code OR create/update your AskAway qwidget code to embed in ProQuest.

To add your AskAway qwidget code to your ProQuest databases:

  1. Create or update your AskAway qwidget code to embed using the instructions located on the AskAway Portal in Administrator Tools –> Qwidget –> Create/Update a Qwidget for Your Library Website.
  2. Login to your ProQuest Admin Module (PAM) and navigate to the –> User Interface –> Branding –> the Tab labeled Widgets.
  3. Fill out the required fields and insert your AskAway qwidget code.
  4. The AskAway Qwidget can be embedded into the search interface or as a linked pop-up window.

Check out the Local Coordinators Wiki –> Embedding the Qwidget –> ProQuest Databases for information on which libraries are using the AskAway Qwidget in ProQuest databases as well as their tips.

Please note: To our knowledge, this has not been implemented by any AskAway libraries and documentation/instructions have not been created by ELN or ProQuest yet. Testing and trouble-shooting will be necessary. Please add your feedback & tips to the Local Coordinators Wiki or send them to the AskAway Admin Centre.

Connect & Customize Widgets with ProQuest
Connect & Customize Widgets with ProQuest

Ending an AskAway Session: How else can we help?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Knowing when to end an AskAway session can be tough sometimes. When AskAway is swamped, or the patron has been uncommunicative for awhile, or perhaps appears to be disconnecting from the session… How can we successfully close the session for the patron?

Here’s a few tips!  Make use of the many scripts available to consistently handle these situations. Located under Staff Tools >> Tools for your shift >> Scripts & URLs AND in your chat monitor.

  1. Let the patron know we’re handling multiple questions but their question is important to us. If we’re swamped handling in-depth questions can be difficult!  Use Scripts: Begin – Busy Swamped, Begin – Multiple Questions & Queue – Multiple Questions
  2. Offer additional options early on in the chat session. Letting them know additional Reference options are available can ease frustration. Use Scripts: Refer – Home Library, Refer – Subject Specialist & Queue – Impatient patron
  3. Make sure you check the patron has enough to get started. Ask if they’d like any additional assistance with their original question or if they have any other questions before closing. Use Scripts: Close – Anything else?
  4. Has your patron stopped communicating? Check-out the Patron Status Indicators in the chat monitor for current info on them. Try to wait for the “Patron is no longer connected.” message before closing the session and send them additional resources if possible. Use Scripts: TechTrouble – Refresh Browser & TechProb – More Resources
  5. Inform them you’re going to end the chat. Give them a chance to respond before closing the session and if your shift is ending try to transfer any idle questions to new librarians to follow-up or close. Use Scripts: Close – Left Session
  6. Tell your patron early on about the Email Transcript option. Patrons often return to the closed session and may feel frustrated it ended without explanation. If they accidentally disconnect or you need to close their session they’ll receive the transcript explaining what happened! Use Scripts: Begin – Transcript or Begin – Transcript (Qwidget) scripts

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the AskAway Admin Centre.