I'm very excited for our upcoming software transition on November 16th. If someone at your library hasn't heard from me with detailed upgrading instructions, please contact me as soon as possible at email@example.com or (503) 988-5438 or through spark.
Lists of what is different for patrons and librarians are online at
Sorry for long urls! If you can't click these, go to www.oregonlibraries.net/blog and scroll down a few posts.
Talk to you soon!
On November 16, no one is scheduled for L-net shifts.
Our chat service will be unavailable from 3am-5am while the server is upgraded.
Starting at about 8am, I am going to upgrade the L-net website. It is a good opportunity since the service is already planned to be down.
L-net service will resume at 6pm on November 16.
After November 16, you will need the new version of Spark,
'SparkRef' to answer chat reference questions. If you have the old version, resolution codes will not work.
How to upgrade Spark:
1. Completely uninstall Spark on your computer
2. Delete your Spark Profile
on Windows XP, delete the folder at C:\Documents and Settings\
on Macintosh, delete the folder called Spark in your home directory
3. Download SparkRef from www.oregonlibraries.net/spark. Find the installers under the heading 'Download SparkRef'.
4. Login as usual using your username and password and the server chat.knowitnow.org. Check the version number. On Macintosh, look in the SparkRef menu for 'About SparkRef'. On Windows, look in the Help menu for 'About'. You should be using SparkRef version 1.1.0.
Please ask questions, often and early.
A year ago, in October 2008, L-net had just over 3,000 questions. 156 of them, or 5%, were from people identifying themselves as patrons of academic libraries.
This October, L-net had about 3,700 questions, and 23% came from the same group. Academic library questions on L-net increased by 440%.
Without the growth in use from academic library patrons, L-net's traffic would be about the same as last year.
What's going on?
Chiefly, L-net Local (www.oregonlibraries.net/local) is going on. Central Oregon Community College, Marylhurst University, Oregon Health & Sciene University, the Oregon Institute of technology, Portland State University and Southern Oregon University are all using L-net's software to deliver chat reference service to their patrons directly.
Now, to come clean, PSU alone accounted for just about half of the academic library questions last month, and only about 25% of PSU's questions came to L-net or AfterDark. The rest were answered by PSU staff. All of this reinforces my convication that providing a local chat reference service is an excellent way to reach out to your patrons.
Oregon State University, Portland Community College, University of Oregon and Western Oregon University all do the same thing, except they don't use L-net Local to do it (and that's okay, we just can't count it in our statistics).
L-net Local isn't just for academic libraries, either. The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and the Oregon State Library both use L-net local as well.
I thought you'd be interested to know.
Tired of watching video of the 2009 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit on your computer screen (www.oregonlibraries.net/summit/2009/program)?
Well now you can have your very own copy of The Compleat 2009 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit DVD, FREE, to view on your big-screen TV or to add to your library's collection.
No, seriously, here is a great opportunity to re-live your cherished day of sitting in chairs at the stylish and urbane McMenamin's Kennedy School in Portland.
Featured speakers include:
* Eva Miller on User Experience Design
* Two-time Oregon Book Award recipient Sara Ryan facilitates
a panel on kids, libraries and L-net called "The other
side of the screen"
* Ahniwa Ferrari, Allie Flanary and Carrie Ottow talk about
creating buy-in for reference service in "Face to Space".
* Lightning Talks!
* And much, much more!
Order now! If you missed the event, you surely won't want to miss this DVD.
You may notice sometimes that patrons from outside of Oregon use our service. It is just fine.
A patron recently wrote,
I've used other online/chat reference services
and this has been my best experience so far...
While part of official policy is to answer questions by Oregonians and questions about Oregon (which are usually genealogy or local history), I have seen chat questions from California, Nebraska, Canada, Norway, and especially New Zealand.
Have you tried a Google search for 'chat librarian' lately? In September, about 10% of our chats (192) were initiated from a Google search results page. In October, it was 6%, though the actual number was a little higher (221).
Some patrons come to us through the L-net conversation archive (www.oregonlibraries.net/archive), which is what we intended. The problem is that we can't guarantee they are Oregonians.
A patron recenlty commented about his experience with this part of our
I tried it just because I was desperate, didn't really
expect helpful information. but reading one of the
cached conversations suggested that I could possibly
really get help here and I *did*! Refreshingly
excellent service. Thanks very much.
An L-net Marketing Plan team is getting started soon to figure out how to reach Oregonians on the internet.
In the meantime, my strong feeling is that as long as a few out-of-state questions don't interfere with our service to Oregonians, we should provide the same greate service to everyone.
I don't mean to pre-empt any strong feelings that you might have. What is your take on serving out-of-state patrons?
In the past, we've seen patrons consistently complain that librarians in Ohio are unable to help them. We still get some of that now and then, but they are now the exception.
Here are some of the positive things patrons have had to say recently about working with Ohio librarians:
I was surprised that an individual in Ohio was able to answer my question during the chat session. Pretty cool!
Chris from Ohio is awesome!
Noah was great and go right to the problem.. Great service!
a.d. Paul is the best ever , wow he is amazing helped me so much :) thank you!
Librarian assistant was very nice and helpful, even though she/he couldnt solve my problem right away for not being able to locate the item I was looking for. At least I found out it wasnt just that *I* was the one messing up the search terms!
The on-line 24 hr. librarian went above and beyond the call of duty and helped me with suggestions in addition to my question, which was awesome!
I'm rather excited about this service. It's quite handy to have someone there to answer questions and help guide you in the right direction at all hours of the day, especially when you end up studying a lot in the evenings after work!
ad.Douglas was very helpful. I'm new with the computer and it's hard getting around trying to find things in the library.
ad.simon was very kind and usefull, he kept sugesting to give me more information! This was very usefull
I was amazed at how knowledgable the librarian was about Portland, Or. as she was in Iowa for goodness sake. Very helpful and cooperative. An excellent service for weekends.
Thanks. Great idea. Readily available very accommodating respondent, ad.rjohn.
ad.chuck.. did amazing!! :D
And there was this gusher:
I talked with the most helpful person I think I have ever talked to before at a library. Ad.chuck was so wonderful and so helpful and I could never begin to express my gratitude and thankfulness for all the help Ad.chuck provided. I honestly believe that Ad.chuck went above and beyond what I asked for and deserves the highest praise a (and of course a Huge raise) for all the help given. Ad.chuck makes you believe in people again and gives you hope in your search for information when all hope was lost. Ad.chuck is definately a person who is not only dedicated to helping others but gives you the feeling that with their help there is nothing you can't do. I can not tell you how much I appriciate this person. Please someone/anyone let ad.chuck know how wonderful and helpful he is. You have a wonderful person in Ohio that cares very much (ad.chuck) and this Oregonian appriciates absoulutely everything about ad.chuck. Thank you soooo much. From who ad.chuck knows me as devoted. You are a TRUE ANGEL AD.CHUCK!!!! Thank you more then you will ever get credit for or know, for being here for me and helping me so much you are the BEST !!!!!!
There were lots of positive comments about Oregon librarians as well. Here are some the mention librarians by name. Please share these with your bosses:
Liisa is so awesome!
Even thought Alice was online in Salem, I got a quick response and some helpful suggestions for my problem that were excellent.
I love Pinn!
Sean was a wonderful, great, help to me. I found a relative, that I have never met, and now on the way to seeing him in the near future. What a wonderful experience I have had with Sean. Who done wonderful research for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Erin gave me the information I needed and is helping straighten out my billing.
Traci was very helpful and knowlegeable, able to answer my question precisely and quickly ywith a great, I assume, smile!
Erin at Hillsboro was very pleasant.
Rusty was so knowledgeable, so much better to chat with him than spend hours searching.
Just a huge thank you to your staff member, Kylie, for her efforts, promptness, cordiality and politeness. This is a terrific service.
Jack was awesome
Jennifer is great and gave me some good ideas
id like to tell u that i love this site and a man on here rilly helped me his name is Art thx by
Alice was great, offering extra effort with my search. Thank you
Jake, the librarian at Salem Library was very quick with the answer and gave me really relevant information
i liked that the person (sean) helped the best that he could and i think have good info for my research project keep this chat going
Steve was great! My only complaint is that the second we ended the chat, all of the sites he gave me to check out, and the phone numbers were lost when the page went BLANK!
Steph was great.
catherine was very helpful
I've used other online/chat reference services and this has been my best experience so far. The person helping me (Chris) was friendly (yes, I could tell by how s/he ""chatted"") and supplied the information I was looking for and then some
And in general, these are things you should know:
I like how my librarian ended the session with "Good luck on your assignment!" Even 5th graders love good manners!
i always use this and it always impreses me completley never have you guys let me down.
This is the best thing that ever happend to computerssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
Reference librarians are my heroes.