QuestionPoint

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A

24/7
Digital reference service or feature that is always available to patrons (24 hours per day, 7 days per week), for example always-available live chat.

Administration module
QuestionPoint system area used by the administrator of an institution or cooperative group to implement and manage the use of QuestionPoint for the institution or group.

administrator
Person who leads the implementation and management of QuestionPoint for an institution or cooperative group.

answer
Response to a question believed to meet the need expressed by the question.

application sharing
Joint use of one or more computer applications, by a librarian and a patron on separate computers in different physical locations, with shared mouse and keyboard control. The application does not have to be installed on both computers for the participants to share it. The librarian and patron can collaborate on the application, as long as the person sharing the application gives permission. See also co-browsing; escorting; page pushing; URL sharing.

Ask a Librarian module
QuestionPoint system area used to manage questions: view questions and monitor their status, monitor chat, send responses to patrons, assign questions, refer questions, close questions, and prepare scripts.

assign a question
An administrator designates a librarian in his or her institution to answer a question.
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B

best match routing
Method used to refer a question to an institution in the Global Reference Network. Data about each question submitted to the Global Network is compared to the profiles of participating institutions to find the one best able to answer the question. See also Global Reference Network; profile.
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C


chat
Communication by computer in real time between a librarian and patron in different locations. They type and send messages and URLs. The messages, URLs and related Web pages appear on both participants' computer screens.

chat form
Form that an institution adds to its Web site to let patrons request chat sessions. See also local files; question form.

chat monitor
QuestionPoint system area used to watch for, and respond to, patron requests for chat sessions.

chat transcript
Record of the messages and URLs sent during a chat session. In QuestionPoint, the transcript is sent to the patron in an e-mail message after the chat session and stored in the Ask a Librarian module for librarian follow-up.

clarification request
Follow-up response from a librarian to a patron requesting additional information needed to answer the patron's question.

co-browsing
Joint use, by a librarian and a patron in different locations, of a Web browser to access Web pages, databases, forms and records, with shared mouse and keyboard control. Lets the librarian and the patron navigate the Web together remotely, viewing the same Web pages and databases. See also application sharing; escorting; page pushing; URL sharing.

collaborative reference
Reference service that lets librarians from different institutions share resources and expertise with each other and with their patrons.

contribution
Assistance provided to all QuestionPoint institutions by one institution. An institution contributes by:
  • Answering questions sent to it by the Global Reference Network.
  • Submitting questions and answers to the global knowledge base.
  • Editing questions and answers for the global knowledge base.

See also Global Reference Network; knowledge base.


cooperative coverage
Shared effort by a group of institutions to respond to chat requests and Web-form questions submitted by their patrons. When an institution in the group is unavailable to respond, the system automatically refers chat requests and questions to other institutions in the group. See also chat; Web-form question.

cooperative group
Two or more institutions working together to answer questions for their patrons using one or more of the following methods:
  • Referring questions among themselves.
  • Providing cooperative coverage for chat requests.
  • Providing cooperative coverage for Web-form questions.

See also cooperative coverage; public subscription group; subscription group; virtual group.

cooperative reference
See collaborative reference.

CSD
See OCLC Customer Services Division (CSD).

customization
Modification by an institution of aspects of a digital reference service to meet the institution's individual specifications. Customizable aspects usually include local files and messages for patrons. See also download page; local files; scripts.
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D

digital reference
Using computer and communications technology to provide reference service to patrons anytime and anywhere. Types of digital reference include:
  • Asynchronous digital reference, such as e-mail and Web-form questions, in which the patron submits a question and the librarian responds at a later time.
  • Synchronous digital reference, such as chat and voice over IP, in which the patron and librarian communicate in real time.

See also chat; e-mail question; voice over IP (Internet Protocol); Web-form question.

download page
On an institution's Web site: Page from which a patron downloads a plug-in needed to use a particular service feature. See also customization; enhanced communications; local files; plug-in; scripts.
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E

e-mail question
Question submitted to an institution by a patron in an e-mail message. Such questions may be added manually to the institution's digital reference service. See also Web-form question.

escorting
A librarian leads a patron around the Web; when the librarian clicks a link in his or her browser to go to a Web site, the patron's browser goes to the same site. See also application sharing; co-browsing; page pushing; URL sharing.
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F

full subscription with enhanced communications
QuestionPoint subscription that lets an institution offer more technology choices, in addition to those available through a full subscription with standard communications. Enables an institution to:
  • Offer its patrons virtual interview capabilities so a patron can see a librarian on the screen and hear the librarian over the Web.
  • Share software applications with its patrons so a patron and a librarian can see each other's applications. This lets the institution help patrons search databases, the institution's online catalog, or any Web site.

See also enhanced communications; full subscription with standard communications; global-only subscription.

full subscription with standard communications
QuestionPoint subscription that lets an institution:
  • Offer its patrons virtual reference support directly from its Web page by chat, e-mail, and Web forms.
  • Create its own local knowledge base of already-answered questions, while also accessing the global knowledge base built by all QuestionPoint institutions.
  • Refer unanswered questions to other libraries in its local reference network or to the global network of all QuestionPoint institutions.

See also full subscription with enhanced communications; global-only subscription.

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G

Global Reference Network
Libraries and organizations worldwide committed to collaborative, digital reference and to sharing their expert resources to answer questions for patrons worldwide. The Global Network uses best match routing to find the institution best able to answer a question and builds and maintains a global knowledge base of previously asked and answered reference questions. See also best match routing; collaborative reference; digital reference; knowledge base.

global-only subscription
QuestionPoint subscription that lets an institution:
  • Submit questions to and receive questions from libraries using the worldwide network.
  • Access the global knowledge base built by all QuestionPoint institutions.

See also full subscription with enhanced communications; full subscription with standard communications.

group
See cooperative group.
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H

Home module
QuestionPoint system area used to select the options, change the password, and view the privileges for an individual librarian or administrator account within an institution.

host
Server that stores a software application and its data. Some applications, such as QuestionPoint, use a remote host maintained centrally for all its users. Others use local hosts maintained by each user.
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I

institution
A library, a library system, an organization, or a part of a library, library system, or organization.
In QuestionPoint, "institution" is synonymous with "subscriber." Each QuestionPoint institution has a subscription and profile. For example, a university library system might include several departmental or campus libraries. The libraries decide whether each of them will become a QuestionPoint institution with its own subscription and profile, or they will become a single QuestionPoint institution, sharing one subscription and profile. See also profile.

integrated reference management
See question management.
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K

knowledge base
Database of questions and answers and descriptive metadata that can be searched or browsed to help answer questions.

QuestionPoint institutions build and access two types of knowledge bases:

  • The global knowledge base is available to all institutions that participate in QuestionPoint and the Global Reference Network.
  • A local knowledge base is available to each full subscriber, either individually or as part of a subscription group. A local knowledge base is also available to each global-only subscriber that joins a public subscription group.

See also Global Reference Network; public subscription group.

knowledge base editor
Person who reviews questions and answers submitted to a knowledge base, edits them as needed and makes them available for searching and browsing by librarians and administrators. See also contribution.

Knowledge Base module
QuestionPoint system area where knowledge bases are searched, browsed, viewed, and edited.
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L

LC
See Library of Congress.

librarian
Person who answers and manages questions and searches and browses knowledge bases.

library
See institution.

Library of Congress
The research arm of the Congress of the United States, established in 1800 and located in Washington, D.C. Although not officially a national library, the Library of Congress (LC) provides services appropriate to a national library. LC also administers the U.S. copyright system, serving as the nation's copyright depository.

LC is the primary source of original cataloging in the United States. Machine-readable cataloging (MARC) and cataloging-in-publication (CIP) programs originated at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress works with OCLC, using input from participating members of the Global Reference Network, to develop and enhance QuestionPoint.

local files
Web pages, forms, images, download pages and other computer files that an institution adds to its Web site to inform patrons about its digital reference service and to let patrons submit questions and request chat sessions and enhanced communications sessions. Although some aspects of these files are required for proper operation of the service, an institution may customize other aspects to request additional information from patrons, provide information for patrons, and integrate the reference service into the institution's Web site. See also chat form; customization; download page; enhanced communications; question form.
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M

management, question
See question management.

monitor chat
Watch for, and respond to, patron requests for chat sessions.
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O

OCLC
Previously called Online Computer Library Center, Inc. and Ohio College Library Center. Nonprofit membership organization serving libraries around the world to further access to the world's information and reduce library costs by offering services for libraries and their users.
OCLC works with the Library of Congress, using input from participating members of the Global Reference Network, to develop and enhance QuestionPoint. Also, OCLC markets the QuestionPoint service and hosts the QuestionPoint system.

OCLC Customer Services Division (CSD)
OCLC's user assistance and support contact desk that provides support for telecommunications, hardware, and software. Formerly called OCLC User and Network Support (UNS).

OCLC User and Network Support (UNS)
See OCLC Customer Services Division (CSD).
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P

page pushing
Automatic display of a Web page on a patron's computer screen by sending the page's URL to the patron during a chat session. See also application sharing; co-browsing; escorting; URL sharing.

patron
Person with a question or a need for information.

patron form
See local files.

Patron interface
QuestionPoint system area where patrons can check the status of questions they have asked and view their chat transcripts.

patron survey
See survey of patrons.

plug-in
Software that a patron or librarian downloads and installs on his or her computer in order to use a particular service feature.

QuestionPoint enhanced communications requires plug-ins. Patrons download and install a patron plug-in that works with Web browser software. Librarians download and install a librarian standalone application.

profile
QuestionPoint uses the information in best match routing to select an institution to receive a question. Acceptance and activation of the profile by an administrator is required for the use of some service features. See also best match routing.

Profile module
QuestionPoint system area where profile information is entered, submitted, approved, and updated.

public subscription group
A QuestionPoint subscription group that opens its membership to other institutions so they can join it online. See also cooperative group; subscription group.

push pages
See page pushing.
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Q

question
Statement of a patron's information need.

question form
Form that an institution adds to its Web site to let patrons submit questions. See also chat form; local files.

question management
Ability to use a digital reference service to receive, store, answer, clarify, assign, refer, find, monitor, count, and delete questions no matter how or where they are asked, and to maintain, provide and use status information about them. See also digital reference.

QuestionPoint
An OCLC service that provides real-time online (or "virtual") reference services through cooperating libraries. Originated in a Library of Congress/OCLC project designed to provide professional reference service to researchers anytime (24/7), anywhere, through an international, digital network of libraries and related institutions. Also includes a component designed to facilitate local reference sharing cooperatives.
See also Administration module; Ask a Librarian module; Global Reference Network; Home module; Knowledge Base module; Patron interface; Profile module
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R

refer a question
Request that another institution or an expert outside of an institution provide an answer to a question.

reference librarian
See librarian.

referral partner
Another institution in its cooperative group to which an institution may refer a question.

remote control
See application sharing.

route a question
See best match routing.
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S

scripts
Frequently used information stored in a system so it can be easily selected and inserted into messages to reduce typing time and to speed communications.

seat
A librarian or administrator using a service in a licensing/pricing arrangement based on the maximum number of seats at an institution that may use the service simultaneously.

QuestionPoint does not use seat licensing/pricing arrangements. Librarians and administrators at an institution may use QuestionPoint without simultaneous user considerations.

statistics
Numerical data about an institution or group's use of a digital reference service.

subscriber
See institution.

subscription group
Cooperative group formed when multiple institutions subscribe to QuestionPoint together.

survey of patrons
Survey form sent to patrons with answers and chat transcripts to gather information about patron satisfaction and service usage. Also, reports containing summaries of patron responses to the survey form.
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U

UNS
See OCLC Customer Services Division (CSD).

URI
Uniform Resource Identifier. Provides electronic access data in a standard syntax. The URI is located in field 856, subfield ‡u and can be used during batchload matching.

URL
Uniform Resource Locator. Address or location of a Web page or other electronic resource.

URL push
See page pushing.

URL sharing
Synchronization of the Web browsers of a patron and librarian. When the librarian or patron uses his or her browser to go to a URL, the other's browser goes to the same URL. See also application sharing; co-browsing; escorting; page pushing.
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V

video over IP (Internet Protocol)
Transmission of video images over the Internet using a computer, camera and software.

virtual group
Cooperative group formed when multiple institutions join the group online in QuestionPoint, rather than at the time of subscription. See also cooperative group; subscription group.

virtual reference
See digital reference.

voice over IP (Internet Protocol)
Transmission of live voice and sound over the Internet using a computer, microphone and software.
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W

Web-form question
Question submitted to an institution by a patron through the use of a Web-based form on the institution's Web site. The answer to a Web-form question is sent to the patron by e-mail from the digital reference service. See also e-mail question; question form.