Archive for October, 2012

University Canada West Resources Demo

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Update: Here is the recorded session
Note that it works best in IE, and may not function with other browsers.

University Canada West offered to provide a quick online demo of how to access their resources for any AskAwayers who are interested. We will record it to make available to those who can’t attend.

Date: November 2, 2012

Time: 12:00 pm

Length: 15 minutes


Demo Details:

University Canada West is holding a brief (approx. 15 mins) but informative session on how to access UCW’s Library Resources behind the MyUCW portal. This session will review how to log into the MyUCW portal, what resource are available, and how to access them. UCW is pleased to be an active member of BC ELN and the AskAway service. We want to ensure that everyone has the necessary information to help UCW students when they take advantage of the AskAway service. Please bring any questions or concerns you may have to the session or feel free to contact me directly at

About Adobe Connect:

  • No need to RSVP, just join in!
  • To connect to the meeting, go to:
  • Enter your name to join as a guest.
  • To participate fully in the meeting, you would ideally have a headset with microphone for your computer.  Relying on an external microphone and speakers results in feedback issues.
  • If you don’t have a headset with microphone, you can still participate with just earphones, using the chat function instead of a microphone.

    UVic Library’s Help Videos

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

    What do Gumby, Bugs Bunny, and mini-horses have to do with UVic? They each feature in one of UVic library’s instructional videos- 2-minute YouTube clips that cover topics such as academic integrity, scholarly vs. popular sources, and defining a thesis statement. The videos give step-by-step instructions with visuals of the library’s catalogue, website, and databases when relevant.

    The videos are available on UVic library’s YouTube channel as well as on their Help Videos page.

    My favourite one features cleverly clipped vintage Dracula footage in the video Using Wikipedia, with the memorable line “Make critical thinking your garlic!”

    Another video not to miss is Research Help from your Librarian, which inserts the UVic Library website and information into a clip of a 1940s film on librarianship.

    Feel free to direct UVic students to the appropriate video(s) while helping them on AskAway, and let us know if your library has something similar.

    – Reece, BC ELN

    Marketing AskAway on Social Media Sites

    Friday, October 19th, 2012

    Looking for fresh content for your library’s Twitter or Facebook updates? We have some ideas for how to find interesting tidbits to share with learners in 140 characters or fewer.

    • Share the website to publicize the service

    Want library or research help? Help with citations or journal articles? Try AskAway online chat –

    • Post a comment about AskAway from your learners. To access comments from the exit survey, go to the Survey page of the AskAway Portal. Check to make sure users from your institution provided feedback using the column on the right, then download a survey from the column on the left. User comments are on the furthest right field of the survey. Sample update:

    From one of our students: “I really appreciate the AskAway service. It is a lifesaver for those of us that are hours and miles away from a physical library!”

    • Let them in on a secret: AskAway is less busy on weekday mornings, and they will be more likely to get the fastest help if they use the service then.

    Like to chat but hate to wait? AskAway library chat is least busy on weekday mornings. Get help with research, journal articles, citations, and more.

    • Search transcripts for interesting questions your students have asked. This gives students an idea of the breadth of questions and topics AskAway can help with. You could search for current events, recent projects, or other interesting topics. For instructions on using the keyword search, see the blog post AskAway Transcripts: Advanced Keyword Search.

    Search term: social media:
    A student asked for this on AskAway chat:
    “I need some resources about the charity use of social media and business impacts.”
    What are you wondering about?

    Want to add the Qwidget to your library’s Facebook page? Here are the instructions on the QuestionPoint wiki.
    Please let us know it’s there – we would love screenshots of Qwidgets on library Facebook pages!

    Tips for Busy Times – Tip #4

    Friday, October 5th, 2012

    We have reached the end of the week, and our final tip on ways to run the service smoothly when it gets busy.

    Tip #4: Use referrals!

    Refer, refer, refer! During busy times, you may not have the time to give every patron the in-depth help you’d like to give them. If you can’t transfer them to another available service provider, and the wait it too long, don’t hesitate to refer the patron to email, telephone or in-person reference at their home library.

    In-depth questions may also be better served by their other available institution and library resources – referral is a very important part of the service we provide!

    Use the library policy page to supply the patron with as much contact information as you can.

    Questions or comments? Always feel free to contact us at the AskAway Admin Centre!

    – Reece, BC ELN

    Tips for Busy Times – Tip #3

    Thursday, October 4th, 2012

    If you haven’t noticed from our previous Tips posts - Tip#1 and Tip#2, you probably have noticed on your shift that it’s already getting busy at AskAway this year. Here is our third tip this week on ways to make busy shifts go smoother for service providers and users.

    Tip #3:

    Log in everywhere, and early!

    Login to both QuestionPoint and Campfire a few minutes early. Offering to take transfers and pick-up new questions around shift-change really relieves service providers who need to leave as soon as their shift ends. Service providers logging in a few minutes early can also save you from getting stuck after the end of your shift! A few minutes early can create a seamless experience for patrons and ease a busy burden at shift-change for everyone!

    Please be sure to log in to Campfire. In Campfire you’re able to quickly communicate with all your AskAway colleagues online. Update the other service providers with your availability for new questions or transfers and ask for help searching multiple resources on difficult questions! The ability to communicate your status, manage repeat patrons & technical trouble as well as collaborate on patron questions and queue flow is invaluable. This tool is vital, especially for busy times.

    If you have questions about logging in to Campfire, or any general comments or questions, please contact the Admin Centre.

    - Reece, BC ELN