learning center

Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement: October-December 2016

AskUsNow!:  Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement

FY 17

October-December 2016


Customer Emails and Referring For Follow-Up

It's important to get customer email addresses if follow-up is needed. This guide walks you though how to do that (and what to do if you didn't).

Fake News v. Real News Resources

Nationwide, libraries are taking "Fake News v. Real News" headlines seriously to the point that libraries and information literacy advocates have written articles and created research tools to help researchers determine how authoritative the news they found online is.  

Some points to consider when giving customers real news, or helping customers determine fake news versus real news include:

Quick Guide to Going Global

"Going global" means that during your AskUsNow! shift, you're accepting customers from outside of Maryland. The global queue is almost always busy and can be a little nerve-wracking to librarians who are unfamiliar with working with non-MD customers. We've put together this guide to help out.

Best Practices for E-Resource Questions

In this guide, I will be using "e-resources" to refer to eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, and other e-materials.  An "eBook" will represent any type of e-material.

Around 2010, virtual reference services suddenly began to receive question about e-resources (eBooks, eBook readers, PDF books...).  The questions were primarily about "How do I get an eBook?" or "What eBook reader do you think I should purchase?"

As e-resources have evolved, so have the questions (which are not limited to):

AskUsNow!: Persistent and "Interpretation" Online Customers

Dear Liaisons:

Yesterday I had multiple chat librarians make the right judgment calls in addressing concerns about a customer who was asking them to interpret passages/ask what the passages mean. 

The chat librarians were suspicious of the customer's online behavior because of these "red flags:"

  • The initial chat question made no sense.  Here are examples from yesterday:
    • a
    • dd

Local Service is possible, even for non-local librarians

Sometimes a local question may be difficult to answer, especially if you're not the local librarian! But there are some quick and easy things you can do to give them the best service possible.

What To Do With Local Account Questions

We sometimes hear that local account or PIN questions are among the least favorite of our AskUsNow! providers. It's a rare scenario when a customer logs in and is picked up by one of their own librarians who would have access to their library account information.

Is there anything we can do? Yes! An automatic "Send to Followup" response is not necessary. We should make every available attempt to solve the problem before offering followup as an option.

Best Practices for Database Access

In May 2016, a work group was convened to create a Best Practices for Database Access

document for members of the 24/7 Reference Cooperative.  The work group gathered data

Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement: July-September 2016

AskUsNow!:  Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement

FY 17

July-September 2016


The following commendations and improvement points are based off of praise and constructive criticism from 1) the Statewide Coordinator and Support for Operations, 2) Liaisons, and 3) QuestionPoint and out-of-state/country Liaisons


Top Five Chat Librarian Commendations:

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