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February 28, 2011

Science Direct update-

Hello, Science Direct is now available.

Science Direct unavailable

Please note that the Science Direct platform is unavailable.

email from Elsevier:

An unexpected issue occurred. We are aware of the situation and are addressing the issue as we speak.

Our IT departments have not provided a time line. If we receive any updates, we will be sure to let you know. We hope for access to be restored shortly.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding.


I will update when we get more information.


February 24, 2011

Chat Best Practices

chat.pngHi all,

I can't remember if I've ever offered a list of best practices for communicating with patrons via chat, but better late than never, I suppose. These are practices that I've adapted from other sources and personally found useful over the seven years that I've provided chat reference services. Take them for what they're worth, and please add comments with your own suggestions, tricks and techniques if you have anything to add.


Best Practices for Chat

  • Greet users when beginning a chat session. Consider using their name, as this helps to establish an initial rapport.

  • If the initial question is complex, let the patron know you're reading the question.

  • Don't hesitate to ask questions if the patron's needs are unclear, just as you would with any other reference interview. Because chat is so stripped of human context, it's easy to make assumptions that may be incorrect.

  • Provide an explanation of the search steps you are performing as you search. This lets the patron know what you're up to and relieves "hold anxiety." (I've found this a very useful technique. It also allows you to do a bit of instruction with the patron.)

  • When referring to a specific database or resource, be clear about its name and access path. I use the forward carat symbol to identify these quickly (e.g. www.biomed.lib.umn.edu > Services menu > Interlibrary Loan). Be aware that this might not work for all patrons; some need more hand holding than others.

  • Avoid jargon in general - it's easy to fall into using it during a chat, but patrons may have no idea what we're referring to.

  • If you're juggling multiple patrons, don't hesitate to let the chatter on the other end know. Offer to follow up by email if they don't have time to wait.

  • Some chat questions are just too complex for this communication mode. Feel free to offer to follow up with email, or offer a consultation or literature search, if appropriate. I have asked patrons to call me on the phone many times with success, too.

  • Before signing off with a patron, make sure to ask if they have any additional questions. They often will. If they don't, encourage them to stop back for assistance in the future.

February 18, 2011

NLM Updates MeSH Interface!

Maybe I'm the last one in the know about this, but NLM has updated the MeSH search interface. A number of things are different, including how MeSH terms are pushed through to PubMed. Instead of selecting, "Send to Search with AND," look for the "Add to search builder" button on the right. See what you think (I think they made a significant improvement)...


February 11, 2011

linking to articles and wireless

There have been confirmed reports of wireless users not being able to link directly to articles in Journals@Ovid from the Find it link in PubMed. Instead they are taken to the Ovid Resources page. A ticket has been opened to resolve the problem and Ovid has been alerted as well.


February 2, 2011

Wireless Updates

Also, this note (via the All-Staff list)...

Laptop users may be getting a pop-up for this update in the near future. (You should go ahead and click yes to this particular update.)
Please see note below from OIT, which was in today's U of M Brief.
If you have any questions or run into problems, feel free to contact autosys.
Libraries Computer Support Helpdesk

From: U of M Brief

UPDATE YOUR WIRELESS CONFIGURATION TO AVOID INTERRUPTION. This applies to UMTC, UMR, and some extension sites. Those who use the U of M Secure wireless network on the Twin Cities campus will need to make a slight configuration change to continue connecting to the network. In February, OIT engineers are installing a new security certificate, used to authenticate the network, "wireless.netaccess.umn.edu." This means users must change their computer configuration settings to "trust" the "AddTrust External CA Root" certificate authority. After February, users may remove trust configurations for the previously used "Thawte Premium Server CA" certificate authority. For help configuring your computer, see wireless setup guides. For help, call 1-HELP, or see OIT support.

Problem with PDFs and Macs (? - possibly browser-related instead of platform-related)

Just putting this note from Scott Marsalis (which came through the AskUs list) in a central place where we can find it later if necessary...

"I've become aware in the past couple of days of a number of people suddenly having problems opening articles in pdf when using a Mac. At least one of these is able to open successfully when using Firefox, but not Safari. Another user was using Chrome when she had the problem.

So, if you get questions about problems opening articles, make sure to ask if they are on a Mac, and if so, ask if they can try using Firefox, and see if that solves the problem.

Any Mac users out there who can experiment, please share your findings!

An update - It also is a problem when using Chrome on my PC, not IE or Firefox, so it seems browser-related, rather than platform."