• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Social distancing? Try a better way to work remotely on your online files. Dokkio, a new product from PBworks, can help your team find, organize, and collaborate on your Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, Box, and Slack files. Sign up for free.


Tips and Tricks

Page history last edited by Wren 1 year ago



Share, Cooperate, Communicate 




Questionpoint.org : Success Stories



  In the Community

    Events and Conferences 


     Promote Your Service


    Share Your Story


    Tips and Tricks   


         Qwidget Tips


         Scripts You Can Use 


    User Groups 





















Videos illustrating basic functions within ShiftPlanning's new Humanity interface


Our Cooperative scheduling tool, ShiftPlanning, has a new interface called Humanity.

These training videos were created for the Ask-WA librarians, but may be useful to other librarians in the Cooperative:


Dropping shifts

Picking up shifts

Vacation leave when your library is closed


--Nono Burling, Ask-WA



Sharing Screenshots


Several librarians in the 24/7 Reference Cooperative have experienced great success using the http://snag.gy website to share screenshots with patrons. However, a Snag.gy URL now includes an ad whenever the URL is shared.


Alternatively, try using the similar website Pasteboard: http://pasteboard.co (yes, .co is correct), which is ad-free as of April 2016.


1) Take a screenshot. The website http://www.take-a-screenshot.org provides instructions for a variety of operating systems.

2) Go to the Pasteboard website and paste the screenshot.

3) Copy the resulting image URL.

4) Paste the image URL in your message to the patron. When the patron views the URL, the patron will see the librarian's screenshot.


Patrons can use the same process to send screenshots to librarians!


Please note: We recommend that you do not include private or sensitive information in the screenshot.


--Wren Spangler, QuestionPoint Cooperative Coordinator



Modifying Images before Sharing with Patrons


Cooperative librarians have shared ideas for how to modify images before sharing the images with patrons:


"I highly recommend the Snagit Chrome Extension which allows for annotations, drawings, and downloads to a Google Drive folder. Also allows for the creation of animated gifs which is very cool." --Julian Prentice, City College of San Francisco


"If a [chat] provider has access to a program like Paint on their computers, they can edit the image with any highlighting or arrows prior to uploading it to Pasteboard." --Becca Starr, Maryland AskUsNow!


"I first capture the image using the Windows Snipping Tool. Then, I use the standalone Greenshot tool to quickly add arrows and annotations prior to sharing images." --Wren Spangler, QuestionPoint Cooperative Coordinator


Microsoft's Snipping Tool "has editing tools (pens, highlighter, and eraser) built in.  I do screen captures with it first, edit, and then copy into Pasteboard." --Frank Wilmot, Denver Public Library


"I use the Chrome extension Find and Send Screen Shots. It has annotation tools (text boxes, arrows, circles, etc.) and it allows you to upload the image to imgur with a single click and gives you back a link you can paste into the chat window. It’s like SnagIt but with less browser permissions required."

--Lacey Mamek, Normandale Community College




Screensharing Tools


In addition to the Screenleap tool, GoToMeeting Free is "super easy and it requires no software install on either end.  It’s not quite co-browse but it allows you to see what is happening on the patron’s end and to demo something to them." --Nono Burling, Ask-WA



Adding HTML Code to a Policy Page


It is helpful to format your policy page content in a way that is easy for the chatting librarians to read. Use headings, subheadings, and plenty of line breaks for text.  To start a new line, you must use the HTML code <br>.  It is easier to read a list than a paragraph of text. You can use this website to create WYSIWYG formatting and then paste the HTML code into the policy page: http://www.unit-conversion.info/texttools/text-to-html .


--Wren Spangler, QuestionPoint Cooperative Coordinator



Determining a Public Library Branch/Location


Several weeks ago I chatted with someone who was identified as a patron of the Ramapo Catskill Library System, who was looking for a specific book. When I clicked on the "info" tab in the bottom left of the chat screen, it showed this as the referral page: http://monroefreelibrary.org/2009/index.html. I copied and pasted that URL into another browser window, and it showed me that the patron had come from the website of the Monroe Free Library, so I showed them which copies of the book were specifically at that branch.

I think things like this can create a "wow" experience for the patron, because not only do we know which library system they are from, but we can identify their branch as well, without us having to ask them for the information. Of course, this does not always work, in cases where individual branches do not have their own website, or if the patron comes from a general website for the whole library system. But it can be a useful tip in some cases.


--Jaclyn McKewan, Western New York Library Resources Council



Working in the IE Tabbed Environment



If you're using IE7 you may have had the following situation while working with QP:

·  You go into Outlook to read some e-mail.


·  You click on a link in the message.


·  Moments later, a QP session comes in and you can't find your chat window (but it keeps ringing!)


·  After looking around all over the place, you finally find it in a tab that isn't currently the active one...but you've missed the call.


·  Worse, you just close all your windows (even the one asking if you want to close all your tabs!) and then you just have to log back in again.  



Tabbed browsing is cool, but the fact that links from other programs (like your e-mail software) usually get sent to a new tab in the most recenlty-used window has caused problems for some librarians who are new to the tabbed environment in IE7.  Plus, if the Chat window isn't the "top" tab, its name won't display in the task bar, so if you have lots of windows open, you may have to dig around for Chat.


However, there's a simple fix!

·  In IE7, go to Tools/Internet Options. 


·  Under the General tab, look for the Tabs section and click on Settings


·  Look for the "Open Links from other programs in:"  section and select A new window  



This setting will keep your e-mail software, etc. from opening a new tab over your chat window.  It does , of course, open more windows on your desktop, so if that's more of an issue for you, then simply ignore this.


Hope this is helpful!


--Bill Pardue, Virtual Service Librarian, Arlington Heights Memorial Library


Making a Copy of a Question


Have you ever gotten a laundry list of questions on one question form and wanted a separate Q&A record for each?  Have you ever gotten a question that you wanted more than one librarian or more than one area to work on simultaneously?


With the Change Patron Email feature, you can easily make copies of questions.  Although the feature was originally implemented to facilitate follow up to "anonymous" chat sessions or to correct misspelled e-mail addresses, a copy of the question is created in the process.  If you use the default option to Leave Unchanged the original question (the other options are to Delete and to Close), the new question (with a new question ID) is put in the Active list along with the original.  All the question history to date is also copied, and if the original had been assigned, the copy is put into the queue of the same librarian.  From the Active list it can be opened to be assigned (or re-assigned), referred, or answered.


This copy feature also meets another frequent need: that of sending a copy of an answer to another person or address.  But don't use this option carelessly--once the new question (or copy) is in the system, only the institution administrator can delete.


--Michelle Cadoree Bradley, Business and Science Librarian, Library of Congress 


E-mailed Patron Replies


Many of you have noted that replies coming into QuestionPoint from outside (from patrons or from e-mail partners) are difficult to understand, and they repeat the transaction history over and over again.  QuestionPoint is not itself an e-mail server; rather, it passes text to an e-mail server and accepts text from that server.  It cannot recognize one kind of text from any other; that is, it cannot recognize a reply from the original text that initiated the reply.


Think of a reply from a patron as simply an e-mail message: if the patrons' e-mail client has the retain-previous-messages utility turned on, a reply will include all foregoing text in the e-mail message to which s/he is replying.  Most clients do work this way unless the user purposely turns it off.  If the foregoing text is not deleted before you save the patron's reply message, you will have two sets of the transaction history saved!  And when you respond again to the patron, everything in the history is sent, as usual, but now that history includes duplication.


To read a patron's or partner's reply, you need only look at the very top.  When you see the header --Original Message-- (or something similar) you are getting into "history" that is already recorded in QuestionPoint.  The easiest thing to do is to click on the Edit button, delete --Original Message-- and everything below it, and then click the Save button.  Now your history includes for this "incident" only the reply and not a duplication of everything the patron received as well. 


Putting Statistical Reports into Excel


 Those who work a lot with reports will notice that there are no longer Export buttons at the end of report sections or pages.  This button used to enable you to save the data to a delimited file, which you could then import into Excel using that program's import functionality.  A more efficient way to get your data from the QuestionPoint reports display into Excel is simply to highlight the data you want, copy it, then paste it directly into an Excel spreadsheet.  A little tweaking of the column formats, and you're ready to manipulate the data in any way you want.  Although you do not have a separate CSV file, the steps from QP display to Excel spreadsheet are far fewer, and the final result is not different.

A Basic How-To and Best Practices Video


Using a sample transcript new librarians are walked through the entire process of logging in to the shiftplanning tool and providing chat to a patron. How to use scripts and a policy page are part of the instruction.  QuestionPoint’s Best Practices are linked directly from the video. Here is where you can find it.


To see a style guide for editing these pages, click Style Guide for These Pages. 






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.