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Key QuestionPoint concepts

Reference Management Service

The Reference Management Service is one of the two elements of QuestionPoint. It provides the tools for:

  • Communicating with patrons in a virtual environment
  • Managing your library’s reference service

All libraries that participate in QuestionPoint use some or all of the tools in the Reference Management Service.

Interact with patrons at their point of need. Your library can:

  • Receive questions through a web form on your web site and answer them through e-mail.
  • Receive questions via an email address and answer them through e-mail.
  • Receive and answer patrons’ questions in real time through chat and the Qwidget (QuestionPoint widget).
  • Receive questions sent through select SMS texting partners and answer them through e-mail.
  • Record and follow up on questions received through telephone, fax, or at the reference desk.

Cooperate with colleagues locally, statewide, globally. You can collaborate with colleagues in:

  • Your library and institution
  • Local, statewide and regional groups of libraries

Build shared resources and experiences. Your library can share the results of its reference activities through:

  • A local knowledge base
  • The Global knowledge base

Manage, evaluate and improve reference service. Your library can manage its reference service through tools such as:

  • Account management
  • Analytic tools such as descriptive codes
  • Statistical reports, quality control reports, and transcripts
  • Patron surveys

24/7 Reference Cooperative

The 24/7 Reference Cooperative (the “Cooperative”) provides your patrons with a live help chat service, available 24/7/365. The Cooperative is staffed by participating libraries that agree to answer questions for each other in real time, using the QuestionPoint software. Working together, the participants provide round-the-clock reference coverage for their patrons and bolster reference service when and where it is needed most. Cooperating librarians are complemented by contracted back-up staff to guarantee failsafe coverage.

For more information about this add-on service, see 24/7 Cooperative Frequently Asked Questions.

Policy Pages

Policy Pages are another collaborative tool in the Reference Management Service. A Policy Page contains information that a library provides about itself and its policies. When chatting with a patron, any librarian can easily view the Policy Page of the patron's library to help answer the patron's questions.

Policy Pages are particularly important to the 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Each library that participates in the Cooperative must provide its Policy Page information and keep it up to date.

Base Management Environment (BME)

The Base Management Environment (BME) provides access to the entire suite of tools in the Reference Management Service, including chat forms), chat reference and followup, scripted messages, a local knowledge base, and access to the Global knowledge base.

Some libraries elect to have their own BME so they have sole use of the Reference Management Service tools and their own knowledge base.

Other libraries share a BME as part of a group. They share the tools and the fee for the tools. They work together in a shared chat queue to provide chat coverage. They can share followup duties, or each library can followup on its own patrons’ questions. They collaborate on a shared local knowledge base. The group administrator uses reports and statistics of group activities to monitor and manage the group.

Service Unit Profile (SUP)

The Service Unit Profile (SUP) establishes the identification of a library or department as a discrete reference work unit. Each library or work unit that has an SUP has access to its own e-mail management, question forms, Qwidget (the QuestionPoint chat widget), walk-up /phone reference tracking and follow-up, questions, chat transcripts, reports and statistics, policy information, librarian accounts, scripted messages, e-mail messages, chat form look and feel, etc.

Each BME has one or more SUPs associated with it. If a library has its own BME, that BME has one SUP associated with it. If a group of libraries shares a BME, that BME has multiple SUPs associated with it.

Some individual libraries choose to have more than one SUP in order to access separate reports and statistics for areas such as branch libraries, teen websites, campus libraries, academic department libraries, languages served, etc.

For the 24/7 Reference Cooperative, each library that has its own catalog or website must have at least one SUP.


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