Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Summer schedules

I don’t know about you, but today’s warm weather has me thinking of summer.

LIAISONS: If your library is going to be closed for upcoming holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day) and/or summer break, please remember to give notification.

  • Full Partner Libraries: Use Humanity to Request Leave (instructions on page 9 of this document). When you do so, all of your library’s chat shifts during that time will also be dropped.
  • Referral Partner Libraries: Send me an email.

CHAT LIBRARIANS: If you are going on vacation and are therefore unable to cover your chat shift, please use Humanity to drop your shift and pick up a replacement shift. Instructions are on pages 6 and 8 in this document.

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Statewide resources

When answering Answerland questions, don’t forget to direct patrons to available statewide resources – including databases via Libraries of Oregon and the law libraries databases. These can be especially useful for patrons who do not have a library card, or whose library does not have the information they are looking for.

You can find information about these resources, including tip sheets and access information, on answerland.org > For Librarians > Reference & Policies > Statewide resources.

You can also find this information in the “Answerland – Academic Libraries” and “Answerland – Public & School Libraries” policy pages in QuestionPoint. To view these policy pages outside of chat, go to QuestionPoint > Quick Links (in left column) > Search Policy Pages, and search for “Answerland.”

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Spanish chat queue

QuestionPoint’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative has a Spanish chat queue, staffed by bilingual librarians from participating libraries.

These Spanish-speaking librarians are not on chat at all times, but when they are, you can transfer active sessions to them. To do so:

  1. Click Transfer
  2. Click Queues, to see if the Spanish queue appears*
  3. Click Spanish queue, and the session will be transferred

Here are these directions with screenshots.

*If the Spanish queue does not appear when you click Queues, then there are no bilingual librarians monitoring the Spanish queue at that time.

The Cooperative is always looking for bilingual librarians to help staff the Spanish queue. If any of you speak Spanish and are willing to monitor the queue, please let the Answerland Coordinator know!

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Working with K-12 students

It’s that time of year again, when Answerland receives a lot of visits from K-12 students doing class research projects. Here are some tips for working with these patrons:

  • At times you might find chat overwhelmed by a barrage of similar student requests. We commonly refer to this as a ‘class bomb’ – where an entire class is logging into Answerland at the same time (usually at the behest of their instructor) and asking questions. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a ‘class bomb,’ don’t panic! You only have to pick up one patron at a time. If you want to pick up more than one, use the “Class Visit” script. You can also use the IM feature within chat to give a fellow librarian a shout-out for help.
  • Use OSLIS. Not only does it have databases, but also information literacy tips and tutorials and citation makers. See the Statewide Resources pages for info about accessing the databases.
  • Don’t hesitate to report inappropriate behavior to the Answerland Coordinator. We have had success reaching out to teachers and media specialists who are grateful for the heads up and can remind students about online etiquette.
Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Dealing with pranksters on the 24/7 queue

We’ve posted before about dealing with Answerland pranksters, but the situation can be a little different when you’re staffing the 24/7 Cooperative queues.

In Answerland, we use the Descriptive Code “prank” to mark sessions. However, you will recall from the training and documentation that when working with a non-Answerland patron, you do not want to use Descriptive Codes. The Cooperative’s policy is that Descriptive Codes are assigned only to sessions or transactions with one’s own patrons.

So how do you mark a 24/7 Coop session as a “prank”? The Coop’s recommendation is to use the Resolution Code “Followup by Patron’s Library” and then add a note for the librarian. This way the library is made aware of the situation. You can read more advice in the Persistent Repeat Patron policy.

Of course, as always, you can also report situations to the Answerland Coordinator who will followup with QuestionPoint.

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Configuring IE for QP

Is your library using Internet Explorer to access QuestionPoint? If so, here are some recommended settings (for IE 11) to ensure that chat works well.

  • Set up the browser history to be automatically cleared.
    • Under Tools > Internet Options, on the General tab, check the box that says Delete browsing history on exit.
  • Allow popups. There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on your IE setup:
    • Go to Tools > Pop-up Blocker, and select Turn off Pop-up Blocker.
    • Or, go to Tools > Internet Options > Privacy tab, and under Pop-up Blocker make sure Turn on Popup Blocker is not checked. If you want to keep your pop-up blocker enabled, on the Privacy Tab, select Settings next to Pop-up Blocker and add www.questionpoint.org to the list of allowed sites.
  • Use tabs.
    • Under Tools > Internet Options > General tab, click on Tabs. Under When a Popup is encountered, select Always open popups in a new tab.

Thanks to Eugene Public Library for this week’s tip!

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: You’ve ended a chat, but…

Have you ever ended a chat session with another library’s patron, and then realized you selected the wrong Resolution Code or forgot to add a note for the librarian?

Never fear! While you can’t change the Resolution Code of a session after the fact, you have a few options for followup:

  • If you still have the library’s policy page up, click on the email address in the Policy Page Email Contact. Use the form that appears to send a note to the library.
  • Search for the question in your library’s question lists. If it appears, use Send Message to Librarian to add a note for library. More about this here.
  • If you selected Followup By Me by accident, locate the question in your library’s question list and click Reject under Referred by. This will change the status of the question to New, so that it will now appear in the patron library’s New list, with a red question mark.

If none of these options work, you can always contact the Answerland Coordinator who will work with QuestionPoint’s Quality Team to get the library the needed information.

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Avoid jumping into sessions

You may have noticed the “All” tab in chat. On this tab you can monitor – and join – live sessions happening with your library’s patrons.

HOWEVER…with great power, comes great responsibility. The QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative recommends that we DO NOT just “jump” into chat sessions, as it can be disconcerting for both the patron and the chatting librarian.

Please review Cooperative Policy 5.4: Jumping into Sessions.

Here are two main things to remember:

1) If you see another librarian helping your patron and you wish to help, IM that librarian and ask them to transfer the session to you.

2) If you experience a local librarian incorrectly jumping into a session you are having with a patron, use the IM function to communicate with that librarian privately and then transfer the session to them. Do not close the chat session, or the chat session will be closed for everyone, including the patron.

More detailed guidance, including how to use IM and send notes to other librarians, can be found here: http://questionpoint.blogs.com/questionpoint_247_referen/2013/11/quality-tip-jumping-into-sessions-and-l2l-chat.html

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Legal questions

From time to time, Answerland receives legal questions from patrons. Luckily, we have law library partners that not only provide stellar legal reference, but also enjoy answering these types of questions!

So if your library gets a legal reference question, don’t hesitate to refer it to them. You can do so in two ways:

  • If you are chatting with a patron, let the patron know that you are referring their question to a law librarian for followup, end the session, and add the Descriptive Code Law Libraries. That will alert me to refer the question to them.
  • If you have a follow-up, email, or text question, refer the question to Partner (Subscription) and then select Oregon Law Libraries from the drop-down menu. The law librarians will receive an alert that there is a question that needs their attention.
Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Scripts

If you use a particular phrase or website often in chat or messages, you may want to create a script.

In QuestionPoint, you can create scripts both for yourself and for your institution (QP admins have this ability). QuestionPoint has a scripts clearinghouse to get ideas.

Scripts can be used both during chat and in email/text/followup responses. When helping another library’s patron in chat, be sure to use that library’s scripts, not your own.

I have imported statewide scripts from our old system. You can view them at Ask > Settings > Shared Scripts. If have any suggestions or comments, please let the Answerland Coordinator know!