Sundays are important …


Why? Well, the library gets the most number of questions via LibAnswers on Sundays especially between 9am- 12pm.  Most questions that the library received revolved around the electronic resources issues as well as circulation issues.

Drilling down further the e-resources issues: they are mostly related to access issues such as broken links, site maintenance, links that went to a different location altogether etc etc.

With all these data, what can the library do to improve their services:

I thought of the following:

  • Knowledge audit of library staff on Reference services. Assist those that need further help by sending them for courses/webinars/conferences.
  • Mentorship for new library staff to understand the importance of Reference work
  • Create more LibGuides to address the frequently asked questions
  • Implement other avenues of submitting questions such as social media: Twitter and Facebook

More can be found in my slides here.


Most common inquiries received in our library’s Inbox


Our library uses LibAnswers to track and monitor all our library inquiries.  Inquiries received range from directional questions to complex ones such as access issues. Here are my findings on the most common questions received in the first quarter of 2017 (Jan – March 2017):

  • electronic resources questions
  • circulation and access questions


A quick breakdown of electronic resources issues:

  • access issues due to broken links, unsubscribed e-resources, outages, saving / downloading issues
  • linking issues related to link resolver services



On another note, circulation/access questions cover:

  • Users’ Log-in issues in the classic catalog
  • Missing books
  • Inability to locate print copies of book on the library shelves



These questions bring up further discussions on

  • library’s strategies on countering or empowering our users to resolve these issues,
  • training gaps of our internal library staff
  • improving our FAQs public interface

Stay tuned for more updates.



Managing user questions using cloud services: KAUST library experience

iMacMy paper for the previous Special Libraries Association / Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA / AGC) 2017 has been uploaded to our university library’s repository.  Here’s the link to the full paper.  It (paper) outlined the tasks undertaken to implement our virtual reference tool (LibAnswers) as well as the challenges faced.

One of the benefits that we reaped after implementing this:

  • Eliminate chaos in tracking, replying and monitoring all questions coming via email / online forms
  • Better statistics management
  • Tagging feature
  • Public-Facing FAQ website for our users

Moving forward, we are taking a look at implementing the Ref Analytics feature.