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LibAnswers: Best Practices

Best Practices for LibAnswers Responses

1. Never say No

Refer the patron to someone who can help or provide the information.

2. Ask for Help

We all get stuck sometimes. It often helps to have another person or two work on a question.

3. Respond with 24 Hours

At least send the patron a response or follow-up questions. If the answer is going to take time, let the patron know you are working on their question.

4. Use Persistent Links

5. Read the question thoroughly

Sometimes the most important part of the question is at the end.  Check the original question in library.reference or chat.

6. Consider the level of the question

Is the question from a freshman, graduate student, or faculty member? Answer accordingly.

7. Go beyond full text searching

Offer subject searches, search strategies, and other professional tips to patrons.  Explain search strategies to patrons so they can understand them. Include a link to searches if possible.

8. Google Scholar

It can be a great resource but it can also be overwhelming. Describe advanced search options and techniques to focus search. Include a link to searches. Be sure to mention Scholar Preferences!

9. Check the results of the searches

Recommend searches where relevant articles are at the beginning of the results.

10. Give call numbers and locations of books

If you are suggesting a book from the Healey Library, provide the patron with the call number and floor. The main stacks are confusing so providing the location is helpful.

Healey Library | University of Massachusetts Boston | 100 Morrissey Blvd | Boston, MA | 02125-3393 | 617-287-5900