Archive for July, 2013

Reminder: Please log in for summer shifts

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

It’s summertime! And while the beach may be calling and tempting you to forget about the library, we would like to remind you of the importance of logging in for your AskAway shifts.

AskAway is minimally staffed over the summer, so missing a shift can seriously affect your fellow service providers.

Please take a moment to check the schedule, and make sure you know when you are expected on the service.

If you do find yourself alone on a shift, here are some steps you can take to get some assistance:

  • Look at the schedule, and see which institution you should be working with
  • Go to the institution’s policy page, and contact their AskAway Coordinator to let them know about their missed shift
  • If the number of questions is overwhelming, call for reinforcements by clicking the swamped button

-Brandon, AskAway Office

QuestionPoint Webinar on Transcript Assessment

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Dear QuestionPoint librarians

Join us for a free webinar on August 14 at noon ET (UTC-4) for a timely discussion on transcript assessment, presented by Cynthia Johnson and Caitlin Plovnik (both of UC Irvine).

In this webinar, Cynthia and Caitlin will use actual chat transcripts (anonymized) to demonstrate “good” and “great” examples of how librarians ask open ended questions and engage with their online patrons to provide the best possible service and answers in the virtual reference environment. This session will be interactive with polls and time to discuss what makes certain reference interactions go from “good” to “great.”

Title: Real Transcripts/Real Analysis: building blocks for online reference assessment and improvement

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time: Noon ET (UTC-4)

Presenters: Cynthia Johnson and Caitlin Plovnik, UC Irvine

This webinar is another in our series “Best Practices in Virtual Reference”.

To register: go to this link and click the REGISTER button.

Please email me if you have problems registering, and I’ll record it for those unable to attend.  You can view previous webinars in this series here.



Susan McGlamery

QuestionPoint product manager

AskAway: QuestionPoint Software License To Be Renewed

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Hi All,

Please see Todd’s announcement below about the recent AskAway software evaluation process:


On behalf of the AskAway Advisory Committee, I am pleased to announce that  on August 1, 2013 we will be renewing the license with OCLC QuestionPoint to provide virtual reference (VR) software for the AskAway service for another 3 years.

The Advisory Committee would like to extend thanks to all those AskAwayers who participated in the software evaluation process.

Software Evaluation Process

QuestionPoint was selected as the VR software provider after a software evaluation process initiated in February 2012.  A software evaluation committee was created to review available VR products, determine a list of functional requirements, and develop a Request for Quote (RFQ).  Committee members were:

  • Tina Bebbington, University of Victoria
  • Debra Flewelling, Douglas College (Chair)
  • Ben Harrison, College of the Rockies
  • Kealin MCCabe, University of Northern British Columbia
  • George Villavicencio, Capilano University
  • Sunni Nishimura, AskAway Admin Centre

Pricing and vendor references were evaluated and scored by myself and Anita Cocchia (BC ELN).

The Software Evaluation Committee compiled a shortlist of four platforms from a longlist of platforms contributed by the Emerging Technologies Committee.  The RFQ was submitted to the four vendors, each of whom responded: SpringShare’s LibChat, LivePerson, OCLC Questionpoint and Altarama’s RefChatter.

Vendors made presentations and provided trial access to the AskAway community, and community feedback informed the evaluation committee’s decision-making.  While all the platforms had merit, the committee felt only QuestionPoint met the needs of the AskAway service in compliance with privacy legislation, consortial administration/reporting, pricing, and maturity.  The committee’s recommendation to renew the QP software was approved by the AskAway Advisory Committee and endorsed by the BC ELN Steering Committee. The recommendation is available here:

Questions? Let me, the AskAway Admin Centre or any members of the Software Evaluation Committee know.


Todd Mundle

AskAway Advisory Committee Chair