What your library's patrons see
This section describes what your patrons experience while using your Web-based reference service. Use this section to consider ways that your library can improve the experience for them.
The following are some suggestions for you to consider as you read this section:
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The following table lists what patrons need and why they need it:
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For its Web-based reference service, your library provides on or more of the following options on its Web site:
Your library may also have multiple forms to meet different patron needs. For example, the Library of Congress (LC) Hispanic division has forms in three languages:
By placing links to the forms where patrons may need assistance, your library can expand its assistance to patrons and increase the use of its Web-based reference service.
Your library can also encourage community groups and local government agencies to place links to the forms on their Web sites to provide your library's service to more people in your community.
Some examples below are taken from the LC Web site. LC has links to its forms on its home page and many other pages on its Web site. In the following illustration, the highlighted links on the LC home page lead to its forms or to pages containing links to those forms.
QuestionPoint subscription. If your library has a QuestionPoint subscription, it participates in QuestionPoint much as each LC reading room does. Each reading room has its own QuestionPoint subscription, which includes an institution account and profile. Each reading room also has its own question form, chat form, or both. Questions asked through a reading room's forms are captured and managed in that reading room's QuestionPoint account.
QuestionPoint group. If your library participates in a QuestionPoint group, your group can operate like the LC reading rooms do. They refer questions to each other to share their workloads and expertise, and provide more effective service to their patrons and Web site visitors.
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Your library uses the QuestionPoint forms manager to prepare and customize its question form.
Your library's question form contains:
The following illustrations show the question form for the LC Business Reference Services reading room.
Your library's question form may also contain:
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To ask a question using the question form, your patrons complete the required fields and click the Submit button. Then they receive:
When the patron submits a question, QuestionPoint displays a screen that acknowledges the question.
Customize. Your institution administrator can customize this screen.
QuestionPoint sends to the patron's e-mail address a message that acknowledges the question. The following example shows the message that a patron receives if the patron had submitted other questions previously.
Customize. Your institution administrator can customize e-mail messages to patrons.
The first time that a patron submits a question, QuestionPoint creates an account for the patron in the Patron interface. If your institution wants to inform the patron of the patron account, it also sends the patron an acknowledgment e-mail message with account information.
The acknowledgment message with account information contains:
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When your library (or another library answering a question for your library) sends its response to the question in the QuestionPoint Ask a Librarian module, the patron receives an e-mail message containing the answer or a request for clarification.
The patron has two methods for responding to the e-mail message:
Your library can create a patron survey form to gather information about your patrons' experiences with QuestionPoint.
If a patron clicks a link to the form in an e-mail message, the form appears in a browser window. The patron can choose a response for each question, type additional comments, and click Submit to send the response to QuestionPoint. The system displays a message thanking the patron.
Your institution administrator creates the patron survey form in the Administration module and can choose to send it with:
You can view a patron's survey response with its related Full Question record in the Ask a Librarian module. Your institution administrator can view survey reports in the Administration module.
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Full subscriber: Your library's group administrator can use the QuestionPoint chat form manager to provide a chat form for your library's patrons.
Fields on a chat form: If your library provides a chat form, it contains one or more of the following fields. You or your group manager decides which of these fields to include on the chat form. You also decide which of these fields are optional and which are required for patrons to complete in order to chat with a librarian.
Anonymous chat: A patron can leave the E-mail address field and Name field blank and chat anonymously if your library does not require those fields.
A chat form also contains:
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To start a chat session using the chat form, a patron completes the form's fields and clicks the Connect button.
Chat available: If your library or another library in your chat coverage group is monitoring chat sessions in the Ask a Librarian module, the patron sees an open chat form.
The screen displays the patron name and e-mail address to the librarian if the patron provided them. It displays "Library Patron" if the patron did not provide a name.
Chat not available: If no one is monitoring the chat queue assigned to your library, the patron sees a screen that states chat is not available currently. The library can customize the "closed" message visible to the patron
When a librarian joins the chat session and greets the patron, the screen changes so the patron can see messages from the librarian and type and send messages to the librarian.
The chat session continues in that screen. The librarian and the patron send messages and the librarian can push Web pages to the patron.
The librarian can push Web pages to the patron during a chat session. When a librarian sends a URL in a message, the patron either sees the page in the attached viewport (if made available by the library, or can click on the url and it will open a separate browser window open containing the Web page. Also, they both see a link to the page in the transcript on the chat screen.
When the patron or the librarian clicks End Session, the patron sees the final session screen.
End of a chat session
When a chat session ends, QuestionPoint sends a message containing a transcript of the session to the patron's e-mail address. Any Web site links included in the chat session also appear in the transcript.
The message includes a custom message from your library if your institution administrator provided custom reply text in the QuestionPoint Administration module.
QuestionPoint also adds the transcript in the answered questions list in the Patron interface and includes a link to the Patron interface in the message, if the patron provided an e-mail address on the chat form. Also, if the patron does not already have an account for the Patron interface, QuestionPoint creates one and sends the patron an e-mail message with account information similar to the acknowledgment e-mail message for a patron's first question.
The transcript message may also contain a link to your library's patron survey form that gathers information about your patrons' experiences with QuestionPoint. The link appears only if your institution administrator creates the survey form in the Administration module.
If the patron replies to the transcript message, the reply is sent to the message's From address or added to the question history in the Ask a Librarian module as specified by your institution administrator.
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In the QuestionPoint Patron interface, patrons can view questions they have asked and the answers your library has provided. QuestionPoint sends information about the Patron interface in the acknowledgment e-mail message for a patron's first question.
If your library sends a message to the patron asking for clarification of a question, the patron may enter the clarification in the Patron interface so the information appears in your library's QuestionPoint account.
If your institution administrator does not accept e-mail replies, patrons must use the Patron interface to respond to your library's messages about a question.
If the Patron interface is accessed at its standard address (http://questionpoint.org/crs/html/home/patron_authorize.htm), patrons enter their e-mail addresses and passwords and may also enter a question ID to log on.
The first time that a patron submits a question, QuestionPoint creates an account for the patron in the Patron interface. QuestionPoint includes the account's initial password in the e-mail message that acknowledges the question.
If the Patron interface is accessed by clicking a link in a message about a particular question, patrons do not enter their e-mail address and go directly to information about the question after entering their password, because the link in the message contains the e-mail address and question ID.
QuestionPoint provides assistance to patrons with forgotten passwords. If a patron clicks Click Here on a Patron Logon screen, QuestionPoint sends a message containing the password to the patron's e-mail address.
The first time the account is accessed, the patron is prompted to change the password.
The patron receives an e-mail message confirming the password change.
The Patron interface contains lists of the patron's answered, unanswered, and closed questions. Chat transcripts are included in the list of answered questions. Each list contains similar information.
In any list, the patron can click on a question to see the My Response screen containing more information about the question.
The patron can also click Settings to edit the patron name associated with the account and can click Password to change the password.
On any screen in the Patron interface, the patron can click Terms of Service to view the QuestionPoint patron terms and conditions.
On any screen in the Patron interface, the patron can click Help to view online help. The Patron Help is also available from the QuestionPoint website.
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