Archive for November, 2013

Final update on the All Tab

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Hello again, AskAwayers,

We have an update to our earlier communications on the All tab.

Further inquiries tell us that the utility of the All tab has changed due to our shift to institutional queues, and it is no longer a reliable way to view your colleagues’ questions. According to QuestionPoint, and supported thus far by reports from the field, the All tab now functions as follows:

If you are from an institution that is using an institutional queue, your All tab will show only questions from your institution’s patrons
If you are not from an institution with an institutional queue, your All tab will only show questions that are not from institutional queue patrons

However, if you are not from an institutional queue, you may see patrons from institutions that have institutional queues appearing in your All tab, if nobody from their institution is currently online. Suffice to say, the All tab will not show you an accurate count of how many questions are being handled by your colleagues.

What does this mean for queue management?

Before the institutional queues came along, the All tab showed all active questions. AskAwayers have been trained to use this as a way to see how busy their colleagues are and to help determine how many questions they should be handling at once. However, now that the All tab only shows a small proportion of ongoing sessions, it is no longer a useful tool for queue management.

The Librarians tab lists all AskAwayers currently online, the number of queues they are monitoring, and the number of sessions they are currently handling. This will give you a better idea of how busy the service is, and how comparatively full your plate is. This provides an accurate picture of the service at a glance, and is a highly useful queue management tool.

For more detail, you can use the Chat Monitoring Tool, found on your QuestionPoint home page. This tool lists everyone who’s on, and all of the questions currently being handled. It’s a very useful way to get a picture of the service.

As always, please email the Admin Centre if you have any questions or notice any other issues with the service or our tools.

Thanks, and happy AskAwaying!


Critical Procedures for Closing Shifts

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

For those of you that work closing shifts on AskAway, here’s some critical procedures to remember:

1. Queue Management. During your shift check the Librarians () tab or Chat Monitoring Tool for question loads and offer in Campfire to assist or take transfers if necessary.  More information on the AskAway Blog: All Tab Display Issues in QuestionPoint: An Update! (2013).  Remember some librarians may have more questions than expected due to the institution queues.

2. Closing Related Scripts. Use the Begin – We’re Closing Soon script to remind patrons that we’re closing soon if you pick-up research questions 5-15 minutes before closing.  Use the Close – Sorry We’re Closed script on questions picked-up after closing but before everyone has left the queue.

3. Coordinate Closing the Queue. At closing time communicate with your colleagues in Campfire about a coordinated exit from the queue.  How do you exit from the queue while finishing up on-going questions? At closing time (1) Click on the Queue link at the top of the chat monitor and (2) Uncheck and Save the list of Queue’s monitored to zero (0), even if you have live chats in progress. The service will close when every librarian has left the AskAway Queue. The Qwidget and Fullscreen Chat links on library web pages will close allowing you to wrap up your current questions without new questions being queued.

4. Offer assistance to Your Colleagues. If you’re all wrapped-up and everyone has left the queue try checking how many questions your colleagues still have via the Chat Monitoring Tool or Campfire.  We can’t always stay a few minutes late to wrap-up but, if possible, try to be considerate and offer to help with any research for ongoing questions at closing. It isn’t necessary to take a transfer (and sometimes isn’t desirable) but offering to find a few guides or resources can help everyone wrap-up faster!

5. Logout Properly. Please remember to click the top-right Logout link in the chat monitor, and the Exit button in the My QuestionPoint window at the end of your shift. Closing the browser window does not log you out of QuestionPoint, and the service may stay open all night as a result.

IMPORTANT: If you are unable to log out properly due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. computer crash, power failure, etc.) please contact the AskAway Coordinator, Sunni, immediately at this number: 778-237-6276.  She can then log you out properly. Remember the AskAway service does not close until all service providers have left the queue!

Let the AskAway Admin Centre know if you have any questions about this! / 778-782-5419.

All Tab Display Issues in QuestionPoint: An Update!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Many AskAway service providers have reported that the All () tab in QuestionPoint no longer displays an accurate count of your colleagues ongoing questions since the addition of the new BME Queues (see below for example). We’ve reported the issue to QuestionPoint and the investigation is ongoing but in the meantime there’s other ways to deal with queue management!

With the addition of the Institutional BME Queues your colleagues may suddenly display many questions ongoing that never even made it to the Primary queue. This is because incoming questions for that Institution are offered for 40 seconds to those service providers first before they roll up into the Primary queue. Due to this your colleagues may be handling many more questions than expected.  In some cases they may also only be monitoring their own BME queue (check the Queues column for more information) and are unavailable for Primary queue questions.

Check the Librarians tab and Chat Monitoring Tool frequently for updates.

All Tabs in QuestionPoint

  1. Check the Librarians () Tab instead! This tab is updated with all ongoing question counts including those you may never see arrive in the New () tab as they were picked up directly from a BME queue.
  2. Communicate in Campfire! Please remember to login to Campfire to communicate with your colleagues even if you’re only monitoring your own BME queue.
  3. Check the Chat Monitoring Tool for in-depth information! From your QuestionPoint Home page you can click the Chat Monitoring Tool link in the top menu or below the Launch Chat link for more information on all ongoing questions.

Chat Monitoring Tool Link

For additional information on the All () Tab check AskAway Blog: All About the All Tab (2012) and AskAway Blog: QuestionPoint All Tab Display Issues (2013).  Questions or comments? Contact the AskAway Administrative Centre.