Monthly Archives: October 2013

British Library Day Four: QuestionPoint, BL Catalogue, and Qatar Project


My first activity this morning was a run through of QuestionPoint with Lynn. QuestionPoint is the system which is supposed to have replaced email for enquiries to reading rooms, yet somehow it’s still mixed. No-one knows where people are getting the email address from as it is no longer on the site etc. but they are willing to answer questions from everywhere. Email queries then have to be transferred to QuestionPoint later for statistic keeping.

Readers can submit their query through a form on the British Library website, and it goes straight into the program, where it adds to the total number of active questions displayed on the system, and importantly adds to the ‘unassigned’ tally where staff members can claim it to answer if they wish.

I was run through how to use the system to answer and track queries and stats and even got to try a sample one of my own. It seems pretty straightforward, however there are a few quirks, such as when a query is referred to another team it cannot be deleted off either team’s account until closed, or resolved, or it will disappear for good.

KnowledgeBase is and offshoot of this program, and allows for both interesting and common queries to be saved for easier reference than going through the QuestionPoint archive (which does keep questions when the client approves the option, stripping all identifying info except who the team member who answered was).

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British Library Day Three: Rare Books and Music, Plus an Overview of Reference Services


Today I spent the morning in the Rare Books and Music reading room, which was exciting.

Chris took me through the music collection and a few specific procedures when I started shadowing on the music desk (technically the rare books and music teams had merged, but people still tend to favour one speciality, and regular readers are used to the old set up). He was extremely well prepared for shadowing, and had an agenda. Apparently shadowing is something the library regularly does with new and even established staff to promote inter-team understanding and co-operation, or to introduce new staff to their role. I had been asked the previous day a few times whether I was starting work, and this now made a lot more sense. Continue reading

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