1. Major New Features
1.1 Administrators: More flexible reporting
Offline Reports on current 90-day transactions. A new option to request that a report be run offline offers more flexibility than is available online. With the new option, you’ll build the report you need, give it a title that makes sense to you, and notify whomever you wish that it is ready for download. The pages to define the report are similar to the Ask/Reports, but have additional features that can save, schedule, and hold reports for pick up.
Ask/Reports/Offline offers the following additional flexibility:
- Group administrators can get reports on all institutions together. S/he no longer needs to pull up one institution at a time to see patron-supplied data
- Request any report for a period of up to 90 days at a time.
- Request reports by Descriptive Code.
- Include Question field with patron data
- Request that report be sorted by any of numerous sorting options
- Save and run again at another time
- Save up to 25 reports, with up to 5 active (scheduled or completed) at any one time.
Users select limiting criteria and then the fields and report format they want. This is a two-step, two-page process. You must select Schedule and/or Save before it is possible to move on to the second, Field Selection page.
Reports are run during the night (Eastern Time, GMT -4) on the replication server to ensure no impact on system performance. If you provided an e-mail address, you are notified that your report is ready for you to download. To download, go to the Ask/Reports/Offline module, click on the Completed tab, and then on the Download link. From there, follow the standard instructions to save on your hard drive.
1.2 Administrators: Forms Manager
This release introduces the new Forms area in the Administration module, under the Institution tab. The Forms area is the first step toward a new Forms Management facility for QuestionPoint administrators. It consolidates various settings related to configuring your virtual reference presence
Now available in the Forms area are:
- Open WorldCat settings
- Question Form Location (for template based or locally hosted web forms)
- Viewport Location
- Practice Chat configuration (formerly Chat Form tab, see below for more)
- Chat 2 (Preview)
Future releases will incorporate new capabilities, including form customization and branding. Watch the QuestionPoint blog for information.
1.2.1 Chat 2 (Preview): Next generation patron interface
This release also introduces the Preview of the next generation patron interface with a working name of “Chat 2”. This Preview version is available for use with your production chat queues and includes
- A faster, lighter weight patron experience
- A single URL for easy placement and marketing
- An interface optimized to work universally for all patrons, including those with accessibility needs and those using screen readers
- Patron preferences, including colors scheme, font, and chime for new messages
In the coming months additional features will be incorporated into this next generation patron interface, including branding, form customization, page pushing and co-browse. Please watch the QuestionPoint blog for updates and to share your thoughts.
A view of the new form is available in Administration/Institution/Forms/Chat_2_(Preview). Administrators can use the URL provided there, which includes the institution’s ID, to try out the form and have others try it, or to use it as a link on the library’s web site. The form is a “production” form (i.e., it is not a practice form), so Flash-based chat users must select your Primary Queue to work with it. The form is currently also useable with the html-based chat monitor interface.
It is important to note that the librarian’s experience will be no different when chatting with a patron who is using this form. Both the standard form and this new form deliver the same experience for the librarian. And the library can link to both forms if they wish, from their portal page.
The following images illustrate what the patron sees or experiences. The last image shows the preferences the user may set once he has submitted his question. A chime alerts the user to a librarian response, so they do not need to be continually concentrating on the chat page. They can choose from 4 fonts and font sizes. They can also select different colors for the font and background, to facilitate viewing for those for whom black on white is not ideal.
1.2.2. Chat Form tab is renamed to Practice Chat
Administrators will see the newly renamed Practice Chat tab when they enter the Administration/Institution/Forms area.
Use this form to build a practice chat form. From the My QuestionPoint home page you can test what you configure here to see how the form will appear to your users, how it will be displayed in the QuestionPoint librarian’s interface, and how the various form elements can be reported on from the reports module.
You can configure a form of up to 10 fields. If you select from the top 13 fields, your reports can be handled in a standard way, and personal identity information will be dropped when the transaction is moved to Service History archive. If you choose to include your own labeled fields, all data will be displayed and retained in the Service History.
2. Additional New Features
2.1 Administrators: BME-level Announcements area on home page
On the My QuestionPoint home page, all users will now see three levels of “announcements.”
- A new group announcement area will follow the systems area, if your group administrator chooses to use it.
- The institution announcement area will be the third, with no changes from today’s functionality.
Because you may conceivably need to scroll down several times to read all the announcements, new links, showing the date of last posting, are added at the top. You can see immediately from the date whether a new announcement has been added and link immediately to it.
2.2 Ability to send e-mail to patron for notification purposes only
Librarians can now send information to a patron without changing the status of the question in QuestionPoint. This will be useful to let a patron know you are working on their question or that you have referred it to another library. This is done using the new Send Message button on the Answer Question page.
Note: Any patron attempt to reply to these messages will be received at the library's FROM address (the address set as the Outgoing Address in the Administration module), but the reply will not appear in the question history. This insures the status of the question will not change. You may wish to set up a script, if you intend to use this kind of notification, that cautions the patron to not reply to this message.
2.3 Administrators: Ability to send e-mail to all librarians within a BME
In Administration/Subscription Group/Reports/Current, administrators may select “List of Librarian Accounts” to see a list of all current librarians in the group, each with his or her e-mail address. This “report” can be exported, saved to an Excel file, and the e-mail column then saved as a distribution list in the administrator’s e-mail client.
2.4 Patrons who provide screen name but no e-mail
The term “anonymous” will no longer appear when the patron gives no e-mail address. Instead, “no email provided” is the indication.
2.5 Institution name and question date in public Knowledge Base records
Heretofore, knowledge base records, when searched by librarians who are not editors or by the public, did not show the institution(s) involved in the question and no dates. With this release, those shortcomings have been remedied.
2.6 Help on patron Logon page in other languages
The patron’s logon page will now link to Help in Dutch, Spanish, and French, if those languages are selected as the interface language.
2.7 Administrators Link to custom survey
Administrators can choose to display links to their own independent survey if they wish. This allows institutions to use surveys that were specially developed for them and that may be more general in nature than a response to a single question. Please note that answers to these surveys are not brought into QuestionPoint or in any way included in QuestionPoint survey reports.
2.8 All timestamps include seconds
All displays of timestamps now include seconds, e.g., 11:45:57. This change extends to reports, question lists, and displays of full questions/transcripts.
2.9 Retired News
The News feature within the QuestionPoint application has been discontinued. You will no longer see the News tab at the top of the My QuestionPoint home page. To keep up to date with QuestionPoint events, conferences, changes, and best practices, go to the blog at https://questionpoint.blogs.com.
2.10 New Descriptive Codes available
The following 5 new descriptive codes have been added:
1. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
2. Electronic Resources
3. Referred to home library
5. Item Request
3. User Apparent Fixes
3.1 Administrators: Edit an SUP policy pages
A BME administrator can once again edit the policy pages of any of the group members.
3.2 Export of reports
Librarians can once again export reports that are accessed via My QuestionPoint/Reports.
The IP address had inadvertently been overlooked in the last release when, for statistical purposes, we saved a “shell” of records that have been deleted. The IP address has now been removed, to insure privacy.
Librarians with permissions to view and/or edit their library’s profile will now see a “Search Policy Pages” link on the My QuestionPoint home page, lower left column.