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LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Rachel Cheng University Librarian Eastern Michigan University Steve Bischof Resource Assessment &

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Presentation on theme: "LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Rachel Cheng University Librarian Eastern Michigan University Steve Bischof Resource Assessment &"— Presentation transcript:

1 LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Rachel Cheng University Librarian Eastern Michigan University Steve Bischof Resource Assessment & Science Librarian Wesleyan University

2 Copyright Statement Copyright Steven Bischof and Rachel J. Cheng, This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

3 Why We Need It In a Small Residential College The Plan The Reality What We Hope to Accomplish What We Have Learned So Far Unexpected Benefits Statistics Hardware and Software Configuration What Else is Out There LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

4 Why We Need It In a Small Residential College Graduate Liberal Study Program Undergraduates studying abroad and during breaks 60% of e-resources are used outside of libraries A lot of usage occurred while there is no staff on duty, i.e. after 10pm, and weekends To connect to our users whenever and wherever they may need help LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

5 The Plan Get a grant to fund a two-year pilot project Install hardware and software locally to facilitate live reference services Train existing librarians to provide digital reference services for their own institution during their regular reference hours Hire additional librarians to provide reference services during extended hours for a group of colleges – initially expand reference to 2AM weekdays and extended hours during weekends for Connecticut College and Wesleyan Recruit other colleges to participate in the project Phase in additional institutions to measure the service demands LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

6 The Reality Applied for a grant to fund the two-year project, March 2001 Received grant in late May 2001 Hired and trained 1.5 FTE librarians to provide live services during off-peak hours for participating institutions Installed server and software (summer, 2001) Trained all reference librarians to use the software, (September / October) Went live: Wesleyan October 15, 2001; Connecticut College, November 5, 2001 Smith College started on April 1st, 2002 Wellesley College will start in June 2002 and Vassar College in Spring of 2003 LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

7 What We Hope to Accomplish Study the long term impact of introducing a new type of reference services Find a way to calculate the demand of digital reference service Ascertain the feasibility of sharing collaborative live help during off-peak hours as a long term consortium service Calculate the real cost of providing reference services in an academic library Gain some insights to help us improve library user services LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

8 What We Have Learned So Far Needs as much PR as possible Digital reference is a service of convenience, not a substitute for traditional reference services Most reference services are local issues “Chat” is a LOT slower than talk. Need to get feedback / response from users constantly Sometimes it IS easier to send web pages, however, it is not always necessary. Take advantage of built-in features Expect typos, lots of them LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

9 Unexpected Benefits LiveHelp makes user services transparent to library staff Capturing and sharing the questions and user comments provide tangible evidence of the overall scope and end results we try to achieve as an organization to all library staff Transcripts help identify areas where new staff need more training, old staff need update on policies, procedures, etc Ability to follow up or transfer questions to subject specialists Web reference service CAN be a much more personal experience A good foundation toward creating a local knowledge database for users and staff LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

10 Statistics Beyond statistics captured by the LiveHelp software, we are recording the numbers whenever the link is clicked to see how many clicks translate into a real LiveHelp session LiveHelp captures Who, What, Where, When and How Blue Button captures Where, When and How LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

11 Statistics Wesleyan is collecting reference statistics on and off Reference Desk to study the long term impact of introducing new types of reference services in-person, phone, , LiveHelp date and time, time in minutes to answer a question, user type, name of librarian anticipated end results: average time to answer questions by services types, cost/question by service types, cost effectiveness of services by types, overall cost of providing reference services LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

12 Live Reference Services over the web: a college library consortium approach Hourly trends: Reference Questions by Hour of Day

13 Live Reference Services over the web: a college library consortium approach Hourly trends: Reference Questions by Hour of Day

14 Daily Trend: Reference Questions by Day of Week LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

15 Weekly Trends: Reference Questions by Week

16 Session breakdown by location of referring web pages LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Colleges and location or referring web pagesNumber of question Connecticut College: Online Catalog90 Connecticut College: Library Homepage162 Smith College*: Library Homepage52 Smith College: Off Campus10 Wesleyan University: Online Catalog226 Wesleyan University: Library web pages483** Wesleyan University: Off Campus143 Wesleyan University: Indexes and Databases via SFX1***

17 LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Clicks vs. Real Reference Requests by Hour of Day

18 Time spent answering reference questions at Wesleyan University LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Time in minutesIn-person at Ref. Desk Via Phone at Ref. Desk Reference Live Help Maximum min Avg min Median min Average, Median Minimum1111 % of total reference questions 79.5 %3.2%6.7%10.7%

19 Costs of answer reference question by type at Wesleyan University Library LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach Cost in dollar In-person at Ref. Desk Via Phone at Ref. Desk Reference LiveHelp with Wesleyan Librarian s LiveHelp with Grant funded librarians Maximum $ $ $ $ $ Average $ 2.30 $ 1.94 $ 4.85 $ 7.04 $ 5.11 Median $ 1.53$ 1.02$ 2.04$ 5.20$ 3.8 Minimum $ 0.51 $ 0.37

20 Ratio of clicks vs. real session by week LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach

21 Hardware and Software Configuration –Hardware: SUN250 –Software: eGain 5.0 What Else is Out There with chat, web page, etc. –Cisco’s WebLine –Expertcity’s DesktopStreaming –Library Systems and Services, LSSI –Docutek Eres –QuestionPoint –And Others… LiveHelp over the web: a Local Collaborative Approach


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