Thursday, May 7, 2009

MassAnswers Users Group Meeting

The "hot" news from OCLCs Susan McGlamery was that ALL Massachusetts Libraries can add a Qwidget for QuestionPoint on their web sites. Question Point is the software behind MassAnswers. But how does the average Massachusetts Library without an OCLC account for QuestionPoint get the codes to add this helpful widget? A call to your regional tech guru should be a first contact. For details on how to set up Qwidget, go to

Installing a Qwidget within a website seems to be the best advertising for MassAnswers because it allows a direct link to QuestionPoint and presents a chatbox.

When you add the Qwidget (QuestionPoint widget) on your library web pages, patrons can easily enter your service. The patron simply sends a message through the Qwidget if chat is available and it goes directly to the MassAnswersQuestionPoint.

OCLC is working on software to allow texting and facbook inquiries to go directly to QuestionPoint, so more patrons will be arriving via web-based services.

The Users Group Meeting was also the venue for the MassAnswers Administrative Team to present reports on usage from academic representative Julie Jersyk and public library representative Eleanor Sathan. Monthly reports show that usage is up, but in addition to encouraging libraries to add a Qwidget to website, it was suggestedthat libraries spread the word by speaking to civic groups.

An interesting statistic from the public library reports was the percentage of questions: 10-24% received between 9 PM and 8 AM.13 minutes average length of questions.

Michael Colford of the Boston Public Library discussed top priorities, including funding issues, which may be changing in this economy.

Speakers: Michael Colford, Regional Administrator, Boston Regional Library System; Julie Jersyk, Coordinator of Reference Services, Northeastern University; Susan Mc-Glamery, Director of QuestionPoint Programs, OCLC; Eleanor Sathan, Coordinator of Reference Services and Regional Reference Librarian, Memorial Hall Library, Andover

No comments: