Ask WA- Mobile Access is Here!


by Nono Burling

As the mother of a recent college grad and a former Community College librarian I’m convinced that most college students are walking around with a phone practically glued to their body. It’s is the tool they go to for almost everything; texting with their friends, taking pictures, using a calculator, checking the time, or their to-do list, you name it it’s all there. So wouldn’t it be nice if we could also be there? Well now there is a way to provide quick and easy 24/7 mobile access to a librarian. Yes I know there’s been an Ask WA app for quite a while but have you used it lately? For me anyway it’s always seems to crash (working on that!). It also assumes that the students want to download one more app and will remember what it’s called. Since QuestionPoint updated the qwidget a few years ago mobile access has been a bit complicated, but not anymore; my personal victory for the week was finally cracking the puzzle.

Here is a spreadsheet that contains the unique URL for each Community College. This can easily be turned into a QR code and plastered anywhere you wish. I fancy temporary tattoos but I’m not sure if the students would go for that. Never made a QR code? It’s easy. The URL will open on a smartphone to fill the screen with a chat box that links right to your library. Here’s a little video to show it in action

You can even take the URL and change it. For example, this is the link for Everett Community College (yours will look identical except for the institution ID):

http://www.questionpoint.org/crs/qwidgetV4/patronChatQwidget.jsp?langcode=1&instid=13153&ts=1407866734368&skin=green&size=standard&referer=null

You could change the color by changing the word “green” to blue, red, black or any of the choices that are available when you make a qwidget. You can make the size smaller or even fill the entire page by changing the word “standard” to small or fill. The link will reflect the choices you’ve made for your qwidget, (title, wait times, requiring an email etc). If you plan to use this link you might want to go in and set those choices. Here is a video that shows how to get there and make those choices.

Then because I love fiddling with this sort of thing AND want to make it as easy as possible to promote Ask WA, I made a few posters on which you can add your QR code. They should print on an 8.5 x11 piece of paper. One even has a Halloween theme.

This summer I’ve been studying the Ask WA “power user” libraries and am planning an online user’s group meeting this fall to share some of the things I’ve learned. Shoreline CC had a highly successful Ask WA marketing campaign last spring. They went from receiving very few questions to receiving more than any other school in the Academic queue during summer quarter. Mike Woods and Deanna Sukkar from Shoreline will join me to share their tips and tricks.

At the CLAMS conference I showed you how Jennifer Rohan from Green River had inserted a link to Ask WA within Primo results. I promised to share the how-to with all of you but there have been technical difficulties along the way. We want to work out all the kinks before we pass the information on. So stay tuned, it hasn’t been forgotten.

Your fearless leader Teresa invited me to come and speak at your fall conference so I hope to see many of you in October. Now get out and enjoy the rest of your summer sunshine.

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