AskUs! Reference Service

AskUs! Overview

  • AskUs service available to all library patrons
  • Common questions include:
    • Troubleshooting access problems
    • Requests for consultations
    • Assistance with navigating databases and the library website
    • Specific research queries
      • Does Agent Orange cause acid reflux?
      • How can I find quantitative based research?
      • Does the library have access to [     ] database?
      • What kind of classes does the library offer?
      • Does the library have access to this article?
      • Some shifts yield more phone calls than emails or chats and vice versa
      • Email, chat, and phone calls seem to be more prevalent than walk-ins (in my experience so far)
      • Some queries are easily answered within five minutes, others can take much longer
        • Several phone calls that required in-depth searching (over an hour’s worth), in addition to follow up
        • When you’re out of your depth – defer to staff in EdRef
        • Participate in follow-up sessions with John to go over answers
        • Ensure stats are recorded for each transaction (phone calls and walk-ins included)
        • Answer queries in “reference librarian” mode
          • Deciphering the question: what does the user really want to know?
          • Important to know when to forward a question on to someone else
          • Try to teach user how to find the answer for themselves, but also ensure that they get the information they need
          • Important to know when to recommend scheduling a consultation
            • User asked for assistance with their research topic after spending 7-8 hours on their own with no results
            • Most responses to questions are “original,” but there are canned responses, indexed by subject matter

[Shaun Baber]