Almost 200 QuestionPoint librarians attended the Virtual User Group meeting the second week in February. The QuestionPoint update was offered in three sessions to accommodate the worldwide time zones of the members. During the QuestionPoint community update, we reminded members of the monthly update that is now published on this blog, which covers membership, usage, Cooperative activity, and Global Knowledge Base submittals.
The QP team representative reviewed the software changes that were installed in September and December of 2010, including the ability to configure just how and when your chat users can be picked up by someone else in your group or the 24/7 Cooperative, customizing the messages your chat users see while they wait for a librarian, and how to close your queue at the end of your shift. During those installs we also increased the number of attachments that you can send with an emailed answer, and we were able to add and revise a number of fields for the 24/7 Cooperative policy page template.
The update led into an announcement of the Qwidget roll up program, now open to all 24/7 Cooperative members who request it, and the limits governing its use—that is, maintenance of an overall 75% answering percentage (number of chat sessions of any kind picked up by your librarians, divided by the number of sessions requested by your patrons).
Although it was completed in the summer of 2010, we had not yet fully reported on the survey that 773 of you responded to. In these sessions, we briefly covered the demographics of respondents and their familiarity with QuestionPoint and its components. Noting that the three highest priorities you indicated for development were Search Transcripts, Custom Chat Wait Messages, and Optimization for Mobile Devices, we reported that all three were “in the works” or completed. In fact, in the What’s Next slide, availability of a new Search Transcripts feature was announced for May.
Each update was followed by discussion on topics that varied from session to session. Below we synthesize all discussion into one list.
Reporting: The need for more robust reporting options in QuestionPoint. One discussion centered on being able to determine turnaround time of email questions based on an individual library’s business hours. Another focused on reports by day of week. Both options are in the QuestionPoint enhancement requests tracking system but have not yet been scheduled for implementation. One user asked about reporting by the hour; a fourth comment was that we need to make a clearer distinction between local and cooperative traffic in reports, and a fifth asking how to report on older data. In one session we were able to go live to show users the daily reports in the QP Reports module and where one can see local versus Cooperative traffic breakdown; this brief demo also went to the Ask >> Review Transcripts >> Offline module to show service history reporting. (The recording of the Reports Webinar in June 2010 is available at http://questionpoint.org/education/index.html.)
Question Tagging: Tagging questions in more than one way, so that librarians could, for example, pull up especially urgent questions and also categorize them by subject specialty. Descriptive Codes, now completely customizable, were discussed in this context as one possible option already available to users.
Multiple simultaneous referral options: QuestionPoint should allow referral to more than resource at a time. This means too much time can pass before a suitable answer is crafted for the waiting user. This is a workflow problem logged in the QuestionPoint enhancements list.
Library Visibility: What can the larger Cooperative community do to help raise the awareness of libraries? In the age of one commercial ask-a service after another, young users are already forming their lifetime habits for finding information and thus overlooking one of the best, most reliable, and least expensive (i.e., free), sources. Joanne John talked about how the Enquire (UK) libraries partner with Yahoo Answers as a Knowledge Partner. Enquire librarians answer questions in two subject areas. Having been named over and over again the best Knowledge Partner, based on user voting, Enquire is garnering national awareness by Internet users. Jo will consider doing a presentation for other users on this relationship with Yahoo and its outcomes. Susan McGlamery also pointed to the link placement brochure (http://www.oclc.org/us/en/services/brochures/214348usb_QuestionPoint_Link_Placement.pdf) introduced last summer, as a guideline to visibility on your own website.
QuestionPoint as an assessment tool: Some members responded positively to the idea that the new Search Transcripts feature may be able to facilitate this.
National Virtual Reference service: Susan McGlamery addressed this topic best and suggests interested librarians read the overview (in this blog) of the ALA program on the topic. You can also visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-VR/195251883818304 or follow and participate in Twitter discussion on the subject, using the hash tag #nationalvr.
- Update QuestionPoint UI, making it less text-based, possibly using embedded videos
- Include a site map on the Wiki page and in QuestionPoint.org to facilitate finding materials
- More control of when and how surveys are distributed to the user
- Mechanism to preserve checked items when attempting to execute a bulk activity (such as Delete) from a questions list but leaving the list to view the full record
Miscellaneous notes on answers to questions:
- Queue roll up clarification. Roll up of the Qwidget to the 24/7 Cooperative level is under the control of QuestionPoint team members. It cannot be done by administrators. But group administrators can control the roll up of an individual Qwidget monitored by one group to the larger group of which it is a member (in the case of Maryland). Although Qwidgets are implemented at the institution level, roll up is controlled by the queue to which an institution belongs; it is not controlled on an institution by institution basis. Also, a private queue for which a Qwidget has been implemented can be rolled up (by the group administrator) to the group.
- Maryland is initiating a program to recognize its librarians and their best transcripts. The program is to be called Rock Stars and will utilize the Descriptive Codes feature to identify "Rock Star" librarians.
- The fact that an email-partner referral that has been replied to is still sending a Recall message to the original partner upon a second referral is a bug. It has been logged.
To listen to a recording of the Virtual User Group meeting, please use this link: https://oclc.webex.com/oclc/lsr.php?AT=dw&SP=MC&rID=46461367&rKey=824ca245d923456e
Below are just the slides.
For questions regarding this or other Virtual User Group meetings, contact Paula Rumbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.