Archive for February, 2013

UFV Wireless Internet – Updated

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Update: This situation is now resolved

Some students have come on to AskAway to ask about database problems. Below is a message from Diane Cruickshank at UFV:

Hello All,
Just want to let you know that UFV students who are using their laptop on campus find that they can’t get access to the library databases. So If you have a UFV student complaining about database access, please ask them if they are using the wireless on campus. If they are, please tell them to use a land based computer or off campus access at home.
Our database access is actually working normally but there are issues with the wireless. I hope that the issue will be solved by Feb 27th.

UFV Askaway Coordinator

Transcripts, Professionalism, and Protecting Personal Information

Monday, February 18th, 2013

The Admin Centre does not routinely evaluate AskAway transcripts, but from time to time a local coordinator or service provider will bring to our attention a transcript that concerns them.
Lately a couple of issues have come up:

  1. Requesting personal information from a patron
  2. Professional conduct

Requesting personal information from a patron such as name or email address is absolutely against AskAway policy and puts the service in contravention of BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy regulations. We cannot collect this information because the transcripts are saved on U.S. servers. More information is available in the AskAway Service Guidelines.
Balancing approachability with professionalism can be tricky, especially in an online environment where cues such as voice and facial expressions are lost. Students often leave positive comments about how they feel comfortable asking for help from AskAway service providers, and how the AskAwayer they talked to expressed kindness. Often it makes sense to take cues from patrons, such as deciding to use an emoticon after a patron has used one, or adjusting language or tone, but please think about when to draw the line in conversation, even if a patron crosses that line. Also please keep in mind:

  • Service providers are representing their own institution, and also other BC and Yukon institutions
  • All transcripts are visible to other service providers, the admin centre, and local coordinators – so please don’t have a conversation on AskAway that you wouldn’t want those groups of people to read
  • If a conversation does veer toward an unprofessional area, it’s your role to steer it back, or to lead the conversation to a close, e.g.,
"Thanks for sharing that joke. Did you have a chance to check out
that link that I sent you? Does it answer your question, or would
you like some more information?"
"Well, we should probably be getting back to your citation questions.
Could you tell me what style you are using (APA, MLA, etc.)? "
"I appreciate the movie recommendation - perhaps I will check it out.
Do you have any other course-related questions I can help with?"

These instances are not the norm; for the most part, AskAwayers protect personal information, display professionalism, and are greatly appreciated by patrons and all institutions. This is just a reminder to all in response to a couple of recent issues. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sunni or I at the Admin Centre.

– Reece, BC ELN

New Study on Accuracy in Chat Reference

Monday, February 18th, 2013

This article, published in January, may be of interest:

Radford, M. L. & Connaway, L. S. (2013). Not dead yet! A longitudinal
study of query type and ready reference accuracy in live chat and IM
reference. Library & Information Science Research 35(1), 2-13.

Brief Description:
Longitudinal results compare 2004-2006 transcript sample to 2010 sample
and show that ready reference questions are holding at about 30% of all VR
questions (!) and that accuracy has made a significant rise to approx. 90%

January 2013 Statistics and User Feedback

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

January AskAway stats are now available on the AskAway site:

January form fields statistics are available on the AskAway site:

In January 2013, 58% of AskAway survey respondents identified themselves as first-time AskAway users, up from 51% in January 2012, and a great way to start the new term!

January’s exit survey results are also available on the AskAway site:

Last month we received exit survey responses from these institutions: CC, DC, JIBC, SFU, TRU, UBC, UFV, UNBC, UVic, VCC, VIU

Here are a few comments from AskAway patrons:

I received a thorough AND fast response on a Saturday (Wow!). I would, without a shred of doubt, recommend this service to any college student.
– Douglas College learner

AskAway is a great resource and I recommend all of my classmates use it.
– Justice Institute of BC learner

The person who helped me was so nice and efficient… it really really helped!
– Simon Fraser University learner

A great service! Many thanks!
– University of Victoria graduate learner

Questions or comments? Please contact us at  the AskAway Administrative Centre
– Reece, BC ELN

Comments, Questions, Technical Issues? Please let us know

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Find a technical problem? Have a question about AskAway procedures? Comments, questions, or suggestions you would like to share? This blog entry gives examples of who to contact with different information or questions. Most importantly, though, please do contact us! If you’re not sure who to contact, no worries – your institution’s AskAway coordinator or the Admin Centre are two points of contact that can help direct you with who to contact if you are unsure.

Contact information is available here:

Guest Logins

If you notice another institution’s guest login is not working, please email the Admin Centre. When possible, please include details such as which resource(s) didn’t work, the institution, whether other AskAwayers were able to access this institution’s resources or not (if talked about on Campfire), and a description of what happened – an error message, timing out, etc.

QuestionPoint – Tech problems

If you notice repeated technical problems with QuestionPoint, e.g., repeated freezing of the screen or inability to login, – especially if it is also happening to your colleagues at different institutions (use Campfire to check), please email the Admin Centre, and include as much of the following info as possible: time, date, institution(s), browser and version, operating system, a description of the technical issue, and what was going on just before it happened.

QuestionPoint – Logout problems (emergency/non)

If a service provider is logged in on QuestionPoint but absent or unable to logout at closing time, the service will appear to be open. If you suspect this may happen (or it’s happening), please call Sunni on her phone, or call Reece on his cell phone so that the service can be correctly closed. If there is a logout problem during the day (not affecting the ability of the service to close) please email the Admin Centre, or phone Reece.

Logins – QuestionPoint and Campfire

If you no longer have your QuestionPoint or Campfire login, or one was never sent to you, please contact your institution’s AskAway coordinator. If your shift is beginning or about to begin, please contact Reece or Sunni by phone and/or your institution’s coordinator.

Campfire – Tech Problems

If Campfire is not working properly, please email the Admin Centre with as much of the following info as possible: time, date, institution(s), browser and version, operating system, a description of the technical issue, and what was going on just before it happened.

Library Policy Pages

If you notice a mistake or outdated information on your own policy page, please notify your local coordinator. If you notice it on another institution’s page, please email the Admin Centre with the name of the institution and the incorrect information.

AskAway Websites

If you notice a mistake or outdated information on the AskAway sites, please email Reece.

Procedures & Policies – General

If you are unsure about a general policy or procedure, please check the Policies and Procedures page, specifically including the Guidelines for Service Providers or contact your local coordinator.

Comments, Suggestions, Questions – General

Feel free to contact the Admin Centre and/or your local coordinator with general comments, suggestions or questions.