As an alternative to in-person research help drop-in hours, Research Instruction librarians provided research help services to students and faculty using virtual chat and the Library’s Ask a Question form, a service that directs patrons to submit a question which would be answered via email.
Students were still able to meet face-to-face with librarians for more involved research consultations, but the meetings would be conducted virtually. Initially, Google Hangouts or G-Chat were the options offered, because students had access to these platforms without the need for any new technology. Not long afterward, when the College purchased a “deluxe” Zoom subscription, more consultations took place there. Leah Root, Library IT/Web Services Developer, embedded a Zoom link in the consultation confirmation to make it easy for students to join.
Librarians also set to work updating/creating some LibGuides for the remote-only era, addressing common questions and basics of self-help. Topics included:
- Linking to content in the databases
- Accessing databases while off-campus
- Using IDS, with more explicit directions on how to fill out a request form and what to do if a redirect to another database doesn’t work
- Basic database searching strategies along with some vendor tutorials