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Meeting Minutes: March 18, 2004

InfoEyes Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Time: 1:00pm central; 2:00pm eastern.

Libraries/states/organizations represented:

Visitors present:

Libraries/states/organizations unable to attend:

1) Welcome (Diana)

2) Discussion of 3/12 accessibility meeting with OCLC (Diana / Lori / Tom)

Minutes from that meeting were provided to the group in a separate document. Minutes were reviewed. Highlights from 3/12/04 meeting:

It was recommended that we not be shy about reporting technical problems to the listserv.

3) Review of the role of Question Point basic chat & Question Point Enhanced (Lori / Diana)

4) Publicity (Lori)

At the time of this meeting there had been seven email questions in the last 24 hours. Some interaction has been with librarians. Libraries being interested is great.

Listserv publicity: Lori Bell sent messages to the following listservs regarding InfoEyes: blindnews, blindbooks, electrobooks, access-l, livereference, dig-ref, web4lib. Barry Levine saw InfoEyes publicity posted on the ACBL list and another list. Barry has not seen discussion about it on the lists. We have received some email responses from people who have noticed publicity.

Review of program structure/origins:

Barry Levine's comments as to the importance of this project (summarized): It's cutting edge technology and for once the visually impaired community will be keeping up with the rest of the population. It melds and merges with what the rest of the world is doing. Pursuit of information is lacking in the blind community. Regarding public (print) libraries: "It has grown to be a psychological fear in the blind community." If this project succeeds, there should be no reason the reference librarian should need to know the virtual patron is blind. If it reaches that point, this will be true integration.

There has been interest from the mainstream library community. At the Library of Congress, Mary Mohr often serves blind patrons using QPS chat. She comments that if we get to where we don't need to know if the patron is blind, then we'll know we've succeeded. Stacey Hathaway-Bell (TX) asked about virtual reference software. She found their interface very easy to use, a "smoother ride" (although she is not blind and doesn't use a screen reader). She asked if there are advantages to using QP over She contacted to ask about accessibility, but they didn't know how to answer her question. Answer from Lori Bell (M. IL): With there is an accessibility problem with the frames. Frames cause problems for screen readers. It's not totally accessible. She and Diana Sussman (S. IL) met with prior to this project. Both QP (OCLC) and have expressed interest in accessibility, but OCLC offered the free trial. Diana: when we last spoke with they said they were moving away from a windows/explorer-based interface to create more stability in their product so that they don't experience problems with every windows update. However, screen readers are built around the windows environment, so moving away from that could actually further complicate accessibility. is planning to include voice over IP, but they report that they don't see it as important.

A good contact for John Fallon, President of company: email:

Lori Bell: The IMLS grant is not written specifically for use with QP. Nothing is quite accessible. It will be interesting to see what comes out in the fall. We could even switch and do two different software pieces during the IMLS grant period.

GW Micro (Window Eyes) told Barry Levine that they would contact the software providers regarding problems with downloading QPE.

5) Revisiting guidelines for when to refer a patron to their home library. (Diana)

  1. At our last advisory committee meeting we decided: Refer the patron to their home library for follow up if you cannot answer their question. Follow up is to be in the hands of the patron's home state.
  2. However, this question has come up (from Linda Rossman at Perkins): Under usual reference circumstances, we try to get the answer for a patron as quickly as possible; but often we have to do a more in-depth search and for many questions we end up taking the patron's number and giving a call back. If, in this project, we can't locate the immediate answer while the patron is "on the line" and need more time to do a more thorough search, are we supposed to offer to call the patron back or just refer them back to their own home library?
    • What procedures can we establish in instances like this when you can answer a question, but it will take more time?

Points Diana (S. IL) brought to consider:

  1. Consider what best serves the patron
  2. Consider our own work flow in this equation
  3. Limit on amount of time given to a single reference question before referring it to the patron's home library?
  4. What follow-up method to use? Phone? Email? Patron 'call back' into InfoEyes? Other?
  5. Method of referral to home library? Ask patron to contact home library? Contact home library for patron: by phone? By emailing session text chat? Other?
  6. Other issues to consider?


Concern expressed about answering questions that are not disability related:

Accessibility of sites on the internet:

6) Referral of email questions from Lori to people working on the InfoEyes desk (Lori)

  1. How will we keep track of who has taken care of email questions?
  2. Do all questions posed via the email link go into the QPS queue?

7) Sharing the patron's web browser (Diana)

  1. Advantages (easier for the patron; no double scroll bars for them).
  2. Disadvantages (patron has to give librarian permission to take control: buttons for that need to be bigger)

8) Procedure for when a person is not responding to text chat:

  1. Turn on URL share and send them this page: (page can be added to your scripts for easy access)
  2. Say aloud, "It seems like you are having trouble. I have just sent you a web page with instructions to help you communicate with me." (This should also be added to scripts for easy recall)
  3. Once the patron gets into the box, remember to turn off URL share before doing any App. Share.

9) Future issues to address: (Tom Peters)

10) Any other issues needing clarification, either now or in future meetings? (Diana)

11) Comments, suggestions, questions, resolutions about project launch? (Diana)

Please share epiphanies about nice tricks and good web sites.