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Meeting Minutes: December 4, 2003

InfoEyes Informational Meeting


Joyce Spears, Texas; Martha LaBounty, Indiana; Bonnie, New York; Sharon Ruda, Illinois; Blaine Redemer, Illinois; Lori Bell, Illinois; Tom Peters; Barbara Mates, Cleveland; Mary Mohr, Library of Congress; Lissa Shanahan, Indiana; Bob McBrien, New York; Kim Charleson, Massachusetts; Laurie Bartolini, Illinois; Diana Sussman, Illinois; Jeff Penka, OCLC; Stella Cone, North Dakota; Stacey Hathaway-Bell, Texas; Will Reed, Cleveland; Venetia Demson, Wisconsin.

Jeff Penka from OCLC moderated the meeting.

He reviewed the project goals, the timeline, participant and OCLC responsibilities. Jeff Penka talked about challenges in the reference environment, how to make service better, and technical challenges for digital reference. He talked about cooperative reference (strength in numbers) and the Question Point vision - to help libraries provide professional reference services anywhere, anytime through collaborative web-based networks of libraries. He talked about how libraries could use Question Point and all the opportunities for patron - librarian interaction - email and web forms, live chat, and enhanced communications with audio, co-browsing, application sharing, etc.

Question asked of Jeff Penka:

What type of headphones, microphones, etc. are required for using Question Point Enhanced.
Answer: any microphone will do. Lori Bell responded that she uses an $8 - $10 microphone from Walmart, which works just fine. Diana responded that she prefers using a $20 headset w/ microphone on headset.

Question asked of Jeff Penka:

How, technically, does a librarian access the global network?
Answer: Within the web-based interface, a librarian can choose "best match route" to send the question to the most appropriate library in the network. Or the librarian can choose to see the top 5 matches for most appropriate library and choose one library to forward the question to. Or the librarian may select the library of his/her choice from within one's own cooperative group.

The importance of everyone's comfort with iVocalize was discussed, as we will be using the iVocalize chat room for monthly meetings. Kim Charlson planned to load some jaws scripts to improve her access to iVocalize chat.

Lori Bell and Tom Peters briefly discussed some of the features of the software and what features they used in a typical session. The patron side and the librarian side of the enhanced software were shown. Patrons with and without sight really like the audio feature.

Basics of answering a QP call, from Tom's overview of librarian side of software:

  1. Click "Answer call."
  2. Undock text chat so that it can be read by Jaws or other screenreaders.
  3. There is also a "large" button on text box tab which will make your own text box larger.
  4. Send welcome. Ask if they can hear you, if they have a microphone, and how you can help them.
  5. Explain URL Share, then open URL Share to do co-browsing.

Other aspects of Librarian side of software:

  1. Crashing of the system is rare, although we have found that if it does happen, it is while using the Application Share feature. Therefore, URL Share is preferable to Application Share. Both allow co-browsing.
  2. Keep the slide controls on "patron audio" and "librarian audio." These are not volume controls. They regulate the delay, and keeping them to the far left will minimize delay.
  3. You can set up what you would like to automatically pop up when you answer and end a call. For example, you can set the text chat to automatically launch upon answering a call. You can set the system to automatically prompt you to save the text chat.
  4. Default scripts can be edited and inserted. To do this, you just right click on the script you wish to edit.
  5. Your cooperative network can share a common set of scripts. You can also edit your own local scripts.
  6. You can transfer a call to another librarian or service provider.
  7. You can set the number of rings you hear when you have an incoming call.

A question was asked of OCLC: What is OCLC doing to make net-library ADA compliant? Jeff Penka gave examples of how OCLC has been researching this issue.

Diana Sussman discussed scheduling. Each library will staff the desk four hours. They can request one hour, two hour or four hour chunks of time. She will try and accommodate everyone. If libraries need to switch it is their responsibility. The schedule will be posted on the website.

Diana Sussman said there would be monthly online advisory meetings which will be held in the ivocalize room. Sessions will be recorded and posted on the web. Although each library can designate one person to vote on policy issues, everyone is welcome at the advisory meetings. OCLC staff will attend these meetings also so librarians can share problems.

Lori Bell talked about the project website. The website will have separate sections for library users, project participants, and other librarians. Participants will have input on the website and can link to it from their websites.

Diana Sussman discussed training and mentoring. Training will be done in January and February. OCLC will provide training via Placeware on Question Point enhanced, First Search and netLibrary. Following the training sessions, each participant librarian will be assigned a mentor to work one-on-one with until they feel comfortable with the software. Mentors will be Diana, Lori, and Tom Peters. Training will be scheduled according to a survey process once all participants are registered.

Jeff Penka discussed electronic resources which would be offered by OCLC for the pilot project. Selected First Search databases and electronic books from netLibrary will be made available for librarians to use along with the resources they already have access to.

Jeff Penka discussed which operating systems are compatible with Question Point Enhanced. Currently the software is not compatible with Macintosh.

Tom Peters discussed project evaluation and what we hope to learn from the project. Tom will be the "point person" for project evaluation, and asked that any opinions, complaints, or other evaluative issues be shared with him during the pilot project. He also stated that he will work with a group of interested librarians on an IMLS grant which is due February 1. Librarians who wish to participate in discussion of the grant should meet in the ivocalize room on December 16 at 10 a.m. central for a one-hour meeting.

Mary Mohr from the Library of Congress said she will serve as a member of the project team. She knows many of the librarians who attended since she worked in the talking book network and at NLS for four years. She is an advocate for accessibility and has worked in digital reference at LOC for two years. Recently, she has been assigned to work on a Question Point accessibility action plan full time for the next four months. She encouraged everyone to become involved. Mary Mohr can be contacted at: phone: 202-707-9381.

Lori Bell, Diana Sussman, and Mary Mohr discussed the value of researching and providing virtual reference service to print-impaired patrons at this time, as virtual reference is becoming a mainstream library service; therefore, ensuring and improving the accessibility of this service is vital.

Jeff Penka went over the next steps:

If anyone is not already on the InfoEyes listserv, please send a request to be added to Sharon Ruda: URL for recording of this meeting, and for the survey to confirm participation will be emailed to all meeting participants.