Diana Sussman, Lori Bell, Joe Thompson, Crystal Lentz, Pat Price, Bonnie Farrier, Linda Rossman, Redemer, John Mugford, Will Reed, and Mollyne Honor
Statistics and Usage Report (John Mugford, NM)
John Mugford reported the statistics for January 05. There were 19 questions in January, which was a jump upward from previous months. There were more questions in January than there had been since last July when 23 questions had been reported. The average response time was 40.21 hours, but John said this figure was skewed by the fact that there were a higher number of questions than usual that came in on the Friday and Saturday of Martin Luther King holiday weekend. John reported that all questions were email. Diana commented that it was a bit disturbing that no questions were coming in "live" through iVocalize and reminded all participants that, if we do get iVocalize "live chat" questions, we should remember to send the transcript of the session to the listserve so that John can post them to Questionpoint. John reported the busiest service days as Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Web Page Design Discussion (Heather Muller, WA)
Diana showed the proposed new web page to everyone, and a lengthy discussion ensued. Diana asked if there were any suggestions for the design of the web page, which Heather from Washington, has been working on. Questions were brought up as to whether there was any way to make the "Live Vocalize Chat" links more prominent so that people would use the "live" service more often instead of just using email. Some suggestions were made in terms of making some of the language on the web page simpler and less confusing. Suggestions included: Having links to both the email and "talking live" in a small row on both the top and bottom of the screen so that people would know right away there is more than one option.
Also Diana and Joe suggested that the "live" language should be changed to the following "Talk Live With a Librarian Over the Internet!" Diana suggested the second statement under email option about "if you are having technical difficulty..." could just be replaced with a link for help and the more complicated language could be on the next layer. Also there was a suggestion that the "If you need immediate assistance" language should be moved under the hours.
John Mugford suggested that maybe we should send a script encouraging people to remember to try talking live to the librarian each time we work on an email reference question. Diana encouraged all the participants to work on some simple language for this and post to the list.
Will cautioned that it was very important to make sure links were descriptive enough so people would know what they were about. (i.e., "by appointment" is a vague link) Diana said these links should be examined more carefully and some hyperlinks might need extending. Heather will work on the suggested changes and post to list for comment within a certain defined period. Changes could still, however, be made on an ongoing basis when needed.
It was also pointed out by a couple of people that the web page would look better if it were left-justified. In addition, Will pointed out that you don't really know what the project is about until you're way down the page. Diana asked that people work on a simple, short description of the project without using confusing terminology, such as "virtual reference."
Link on Web Page for Each Participating Institution
Diana stressed the importance of each participating institution having a link on its own web page for the Infoeyes service. This is very important to publicize the service to all library users from each participating state.
Diana suggested that people can let her know if they have ideas for standardization of language for the links.
Nomination of Officials:
Someone to co-coordinate (or co-direct) project with Diana. This position is flexible in regard to specific titles; it is very important to have this position filled so that we can be assured of coverage and not dependent on just one person's leadership and knowledge. Duties include: correspond with other coordinators regarding key issues, maintain understanding of issues and progress, answer questions, and provide leadership.
Two people have offered to share the position of Secretary to take meeting minutes:
Linda Rossman from Massachusetts and Crystal Lenttz from Washington will alternate coverage for meetings. Diana asked that they coordinate the coverage schedule.
Other positions needing coverage are:
Trainers/mentors to train incoming libraries and a publicity coordinator, who would publicize our activities to blind listservs and other venues. In addition, there is need for people to serve on a Patron Advocacy Committee to advocate for accessible reference products. Two ideas were to possibly adapt the advocacy training module on the AFB website or to draft sample advocacy letters. Lori Bell said she would work on this committee. Diana suggested that people should let her know if they would like to be involved in this advocacy committee.
Joe Thompson said that when he gets his team oriented in Maryland, someone from his library may be interested in one of the posts.
Although Diana had asked that people try contacting the virtual reference consortia in their own states, no one had reported taking that action as yet.
Wrap Up and Next Meetings:
Upcoming Advisory meetings are scheduled for the following dates: March 10, April 21, May 19th.