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Meeting Minutes: September 21, 2006

InfoEyes Advisory Committee Meeting


Debbie Aggertt, Catherine Durivage, Tracey Morsek, Karen Odean, Linda Rossman, Robin Rousu, Sharon Ruda, Diana Sussman, Joe Thompson


Online iVocalize Room


2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central

1. Statistical Report

The current report is now on the website. There were 33 questions submitted in August. This is the 2nd highest number for one month we've ever seen. We are on track to exceed the high total for the past 2 years for this month in September. Catherine noted how fabulous the responses she's seen have been. Great job. Linda agrees. We are getting on average a question a day now.

We are seeing new customers we haven't seen before. Catherine will look at the surveys to see if the past surveys shed any light on how people have been finding out about the service.

Joe suggested that we could change the survey to ask a question about how people found out about the service. Catherine will look at QP to see how to do this.

2. OCLC/Web Hosting Costs for Next Contract Year

Catherine provided the costs for OCLC's QuestionPoint service for the next subscription year, starting October 2006. The contract costs are split between the participating states. The costs for providing InfoEyes also will include splitting evenly the web hosting fee for the web address. It is currently expected that $351.56 will be the cost for each state if we keep the same membership we have now.

Catherine will send communication about this to the listserv and is expecting a reply back by e-mail from participating libraries to confirm their continuation. She will also need contact information for billing for each state. The request for payment will be delivered from the Southern Illinois Talking Book Center. Please e-mail Catherine with this information at

Joe suggested that maybe we could take this also as an opportunity to ask for new states to become involved. Catherine will send this message to the talking book libraries listserv and also copy Joe so that he can put it out on DIGREF.

3. Using/Purchasing Subscription(s) to Proprietary Databases

Diana suggested that maybe one of us look at contacting one of the database vendors about subscriptions. Diana said that the idea came from reading an article about inexpensive proprietary databases that we potentially could share. Currently we don't subscribe to any databases as a group. We have tended to use our own databases at our own discretion as needed.

Robin suggested that once we start asking our customers for their geographic area, we will then begin to be able to start referring people to the databases available through their local library.

Linda asked about an OCLC subscription. Diana said that it wasn't affordable for what we provide. Diana is suggesting this as something we might investigate, but not necessarily recommending that we actually follow through on forming our own InfoEyes database agreements if we don't find anything that fits our needs.

Joe noted that the traffic we are seeing on InfoEyes may not currently be enough to really warrant our own subscriptions. Sharon agreed and also asked about a new Thomson Gale service that points people ideally to the databases available through their own local libraries.

Diana suggests that if we can't answer a question because you don't have the resources, then send it out to the listserv to see if someone else can take it and provide service from their InfoEyes partner library.

Joe suggested that referral could be done to our collaborative partners as well. Recently we successfully made Maryland AskUsNow! a cooperative referral partner from InfoEyes a few weeks ago. Higher level questions that can't be answered by InfoEyes libraries (for example: Law) could be referred to Maryland in these cases. To make a referral of this kind, the librarian would use the --Refer To-- menu and select the "Partner (Cooperative)" option. On the next screen the librarian would use the --Select Partner-- menu and select "MARYLAND ASKUSNOW!"

4. Virtual Reference Training Issues

Joe has offered to do some training on quality control and reference practices. We've also talked about having some live practice sessions in iVocalize. Catherine suggests that we should probably decide to hold training at certain times. It has also been suggested that maybe on months that we don't have a meeting, that we hold a training session on that 3rd Thursday. These online classes might cover topics such as: iVocalize refresher, good reference practices, etc.

Diana talked about her particular iVocalize room, where any participant is set up as a Moderator. Each state might want to claim a session to train others. Linda supported this idea. Catherine recommended that we proceed with having each state select a topic from a suggested list, including:

Diana suggested that practice on iVocalize would be better done one-on-one with another person rather than in a group. Diana offered that we could use her iVocalize room, the person acting as the librarian just needs to make sure to turn on "co-browse" in the Moderator menu. Diana's room is available at and click on Southern Illinois Talking Book Center. Joe and Sharon also offered that the OPAL rooms available to their libraries could be used for training.

Catherine resolved that iVocalize refresher is better done one-on-one locally. Linda also suggested that we might call on Buff Hirko and Mary Bucher Ross in Washington State who wrote the book, Virtual Reference Training: The Complete Guide to Providing Anytime Anywhere Answers. Debbie and Sharon also recommended Louise Greene in Illinois as someone who could provide virtual reference training.

On the 3rd Thursday of the month when we do not hold an InfoEyes meeting we will arrange for training. This will start in the next calendar year of 2007. We will use the InfoEyes room we are currently using for meetings.

Each state should consider it their responsibility to offer one training session. The session doesn't need to come from InfoEyes providers, but can come from other knowledgeable staff in that state.

5. Status of Live Chat Form

Catherine has contacted Ann Hay regarding the live chat from. Ann's turn as webmaster for InfoEyes is up in October and she'll need to step out of that role.

Joe offered that if someone is willing to take over as secretary, he could probably take the webmaster position, but not both. This starts as of October. Debbie suggested that a state might take the minutes in lieu of offering a training class. Catherine felt that we would take Joe up on the offer to become the web person. We should have an easier time fining a secretary. Ann will train the new webmaster. (Update: Shortly after this meeting a Sharon asked the webmaster for the Illinois State Library if she would take on the InfoEyes webmaster duties and she agreed. Joe will continue as secretary.)

6. Co-Coordinator Positions & Schedules

Catherine and Linda are both willing to continue as co-coordinators of InfoEyes. The group concurred and very much supported their joint continuance in this role.

Catherine asked if there was interest in changing the schedule, but no one asked for any changes. We will keep the schedule as is for now.

7. Other Business

Issue of privacy: When questions come into the InfoEyes QuestionPoint account the question is also currently being sent as a copy out to the entire InfoEyes listserv. What we have recently found is that the listserv for the InfoEyes group was an open list and the messages were being collected on a web page. This has been corrected. The listserv archives have been made private now. We are also now looking at whether we should be having the questions be sent as a copy out to the entire listserv, or to only the librarians who would potentially answer the questions. We want to make sure we are ensuring patron privacy as well as possible.

Diana said that according to Joe we could set up QuestionPoint so that a list of personal e-mail addresses could receive the alerts rather than the entire listserv. There may be some people who no longer are using their logins, but hopefully they would let us know if they do not want to receive these alerts. This would help us to clean up the old unused logins. Catherine has already removed some logins that are obviously no longer in use. Catherine will make this change following the meeting.

Debbie received an update about the accessibility of QuestionPoint's chat from OCLC's Jeff Penka. He said that by Oct.-Dec. 2007 we should have full accessibility of the QP chat. Customer side accessibility will be the first priority. Jeff is looking for more beta testers of this accessible chat platform. Anyone interested should e-mail Jeff at

Meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m. ET

Next Meeting:

November 16, 2006 at 2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central
(Meetings are held every-other month)

Minutes submitted by Joe Thompson