Archive for September, 2012

Large UBC Engineering Classes

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Here is a message from Eugene Barsky at UBC, alerting AskAwayers that some large classes of engineering students may be on AskAway:

Hello Colleagues:

Starting with this week, we are teaching approximately 1,500 UBC engineering students in a number of big classes – Engineering Cases (APSC 150), Engineering Communication (APSC 176) and Technical Communication (APSC 201).

If you get those students coming to AskAway, please help them by starting with our SciEng homepage –, where you will see links to the appropriate course pages – APSC 150, APSC 201, APSC 176, APSC 263 and APSC 262.

Please refer any questions you may have with these students to Ursula Ellis ( or me (

Many thanks,


Eugene Barsky
Science & Engineering Librarian, University of British Columbia

Reminder: Check-out your Qwidgets each Term!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Just a reminder to update and check-out all your qwidgets each term! AskAway Qwidgets provided on your Library web pages, Libguides and EBSCO & ProQuest databases can be very useful to patrons but occasionally some are missed in the update each term.  We’ve had a few reports of out-dated qwidgets and closed qwidgets that don’t display all of the offline message.

Here’s some reminder tips to help:

  1. Update your qwidget each term in every resource or location when you receive the Preparation for Term Start message from the listserv.
  2. Don’t forget to also check-out the closed/offline message display before the service opens!  Qwidgets with long closed messages or larger font sizes may not display the entire message to the patron.  You may need to Create/Update your Qwidget and replace the code if you make changes to qwidget size, colour etc.
  3. Does your qwidget display differently or incorrectly in a particular browser (eg. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox)?  Check your web page for snippets of out-dated qwidget code that may be hidden from sight but interfering with the display.

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

Biology Assignments at UBC

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

A note below, from Katherine Miller about BIOL assignments at UBC:

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks everyone in advance for your support of our biology undergraduates.

We are starting to see BIOL 140 and BIOL 200 students at our Woodward Reference Desk in and we anticipate they will be visiting AskAway soon too!

The BIOL 140 assignment this term is on salt water/marine organisms. Students are looking for information on their organism, its habitat and abiotic factors that affect its growth, survival, reproduction, and behaviour. A good place to start is the course page We list recommended databases (the core database is Zoological Record) and suggest student try a search for the common and scientific names for the organism – narrowed by terms such as habitat OR ecology. If a student is not finding very much information about their specific species such as Gnorimosphaeroma oregonensis, try a broader search for the genus Gnorimosphaeroma.

The BIOL 200 assignment asks the students to research controversial topics in cell biology. They are asked to formulate their own opinion and argue either for or against the topic (not both), based on scientific research. There is a course page at: The students need to find a primary research article, a popular article and a review article. The core database for this assignment is Biosis Previews. A search of their topic narrowed by the search term cell* gets to the most useful information.

Please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks!

Kind regards,
Katherine Miller, MLIS
 Reference Librarian
Undergraduate Programs in Biology, Forestry, Land & Food Systems
Woodward Library University of British Columbia

Logging out of QuestionPoint at the end of the day

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Attention: folks who work the last shift of the day.

This is a reminder in response to questions about logging out of your shift at closing time (9:00pm every day except Fridays and Saturdays, 5:00pm).

If you are working the last shift of the day, please close your session as normal; there aren’t any special procedures to follow. When there are no AskAwayers logged on, users will automatically see a notice on the Qwidget or question form page that lets them know the service is closed.

If a user asks a question within around 15 minutes of the time when the service will close for the day, and you feel it cannot be answered in the time available, you may ask the user to come back the next day or refer them to their library.

If you are still helping a user at the time of service closure, it is your decision whether to stay on and finish the session or to refer them. However, remember that the service stays open until the last librarian logs off, so new user may continue to come into the service.

Questions or Comments? Feel free to contact me at the AskAway Admin Centre.

– Reece, BC ELN

Selkirk College Students and Proquest Databases Issue

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

A note below, from Selkirk College librarian Danielle Cossarini about a known issue with remote access to Proquest databases for their students:

The new Proquest platform does not support Selkirk College Library’s current (and ancient) version of EZProxy, which means that Selkirk students will not be able to access our Proquest databases from off-campus. This includes CBCA Complete and Canadian Newsstand.

We are currently in the process of upgrading our EZProxy server; however, there is no time-line for when this will be complete. I will send out another email when off-campus access to these databases is restored.

If you are helping a Selkirk student, please advise them of the problem and direct them to another of our databases. Academic Search Complete would be the next likely choice.