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Meeting Minutes: May 31, 2007

InfoEyes Advisory Committee Meeting


Minnesota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped OPAL Online Room


2:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm CT / 12:00 p.m. MT / 11:00 a.m. PT


Donna Cirenza, Kathie Corrigan, Catherine Durivage, Jeff Penka, Tom Pgh, Linda Rossman, Robin Rousu, Sharon Ruda, Julie Strange, Joe Thompson, Larry Weyhrich

Catherine welcomed Jeff Penka of OCLC QuestionPoint as a guest. He will be providing a presentation shortly.

1. Statistics Report

The InfoEyes web site has just been updated for April. May will be up soon as well. We've seen a little drop in usage lately. There were 26 questions in April, with many of these repeat customers. There are 95 questions with 98 answers so far this year.

2. Update on Accessible Chat Patron Interface - Jeff Penka, OCLC

Jeff shared upcoming enhancements relating to the new "Chat 2 (Preview)" Patron Interface that OCLC QuestionPoint is developing. In June it will be made available as a "preview" release to QuestionPoint subscribers. It will be production ready, simple to publicize with one URL that can be posted anywhere, optimized for screen readers and accessibility, provide patron preferences (chime, fonts, colors, languages) and linked URLs. Features are expected to include an optional integrated page/image push and co-browsing; configurable Web Form items, brand, and defaults via Form Manager; and authentication and SPAM control options. It has been optimized for a universal patron interface for all users. Much of what has resulted comes out of work and communication with Stephen at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in Baltimore as well as InfoEyes.

The install will take place this Sunday. Many of these are improvements that have been planned for a while. It is being called Chat 2 for now and can be further developed as the next generation chat interface. It is being called a preview release, but is in fact production-ready for libraries that need to provide it now.

In house at OCLC there have been 3 rounds of usability testing with JAWS. In the future there will be page pushing and co-browsing options. In the future libraries will also be able to develop their own viewport. In the future it is also expected that geolocation will be able to be used as a first round of authentication, which will help to point people to the virtual reference service available in their area.

Jeff shared screenshots to show what some of the capabilities will look like. A supervisor would log in to QP, then select Admin > Institution > Form Settings Area > Chat 2. There you will find your library's Chat 2 URL.

The intake form has been tested with multiple browsers and screen readers. It is designed to work with mobile devices as well. There's an appointment with NFB to do anther round of testing in June or July. The developers have been able to remove the problem of the transcript "blinking," which had been a problem related to the session transcript always updating. Updating in Chat 2 will only happen when the patron or librarian has sent a message. The question is kept at the top with newest messages built in below. When there's a new message there is also a sound chime. Attention is gathered both visually and by sound. The "Send" button is also detected by JAWS. To avoid people accidentally logging out, the "Exit Chat" is a link that is much less prominent than the "Send" button.

Preferences have been designed with accessibility and usability in mind. Preference settings are maintained throughout the session and into the survey. The goal really is for this to be the next generation chat platform once further developed.

Catherine asked how a service like this would be used by InfoEyes, a service that currently doesn't offer scheduled chat. Jeff said that if you put the URL out there on the InfoEyes page but there are no librarians monitoring, the patron would get a message letting them know that the service isn't available. If InfoEyes become part of the 24/7 Reference cooperative in the future, then there would be other chat librarians available to pick up these questions seamlessly. Linda noted that becoming involved in 24/7 Reference coop would need to be point of discussion for us in the future. Jeff said that we could arrange appointments in a service like this as well if we wanted to. It would be up to us how we represent it on our public web site. Catherine noted that a leading goal for us is in having the same service for all.

After this goes into production this weekend, there will be further testing by NFB and people in Washington State. You can find out more about it during the ALA Conference in June also. More info will be on the QP blog. Catherine thanked Jeff for offering to have this added to the agenda and sharing this information with us. Jeff noted how great a partnership this has been with InfoEyes.

3. Upcoming InfoEyes costs

Our InfoEyes contract with OCLC renews in October. Information will be shared after July 1 about costs for each InfoEyes partner state.

4. Training Issues- Suggestions for upcoming training and training dates

Last month, in April, we had Tom Peters train us on the new version of the Talking Communities software.

Linda suggested we hold off until September for another training, since people will be unavailable a lot in summer. Joe agreed and suggested we might do future trainings as OPAL programs open to all, not just for us who are involved in InfoEyes.

Robin suggested a program on finding material in accessible formats.

Catherine volunteered to do a future program. Donna and Julie also volunteered to help. Catherine will be in touch with Donna and Julie by e-mail to set this up.

5. QuestionPoint and the Knowledge Base

Robin has slowly been adding questions to the KB. Most other people are only closing their questions but not adding them as records in the KB, although they are indeed encouraged to do so. There are 118 records currently in our local InfoEyes KB. When a closed question has the barrel icon, this means that it has been added to the KB. Please add any that you think could potentially be a reoccurring question. The Global KB and Maryland AskUsNow! KB are also searchable.

6. Publicity - Western/Midland Conference & Health Providers Listserv

Catherine spoke about InfoEyes at the Western/Midland Conference and encouraged libraries to link to the service and have their patrons use it. We get some new users occasionally, but many of our users are repeat customers.

An OPAL program in September could be good publicity for the service. Linda had also put out some info on a Health Info listserv about InfoEyes.

7. Other Business

Linda said that the next meeting would fall in July. Ordinarily we would meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month, but several people are not available then. We will tentatively meet instead on July 12. [Note: The next meeting has since been moved to July 26]

Robin asked about adding location and time zone to intake form. Catherine said that this was put on the backburner when the new InfoEyes webmaster took over, but will be brought back. Catherine said she'd be in touch with the webmaster about this, as well as looking at adding a link to the new accessible chat.

The meeting adjourned at 2:57 p.m. ET.

Next Meeting:

July, 26, 2007 at 2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central

Minutes submitted by Joe Thompson.