Remote Reference Training

California State University Los Angeles

Remote Reference Training

Key Info | Troubleshooting Q & A | Recommended Scripts | Database Testing Results | Miscellaneous Comments


Key Information

Troubleshooting Q & A

Q: . One of the biggest complaints we get is that after you click on a patron's name in the waiting room, you receive a message that the customer has disconnected, and the only choice the software willingly gives you is a button to "exit session."

A: The truth is that the customer has usually not disconnected!! The software has failed to connect the two of you, and the patron is out there somewhere! The correct procedure is to take note of the patron's name, and quickly close the session by using the browser X. Yes, I know, you have heard over and over not to use that browser close method. This is the only time you must, however!! Next, go back to the session in box, and you should see at the top of the box a "sessions in progress" notation with a red triangle. Click there and you will get a list of open sessions. Your lost patron should show up there. If you click on them, you should be able to successfully connect. If you get the same "customer disconnected" info, try the procedure again. I have sometimes made it work by the third try. If after three tries it doesn't work, it's not going to and you should use the "exit session" button presented to you.

Q: . "Escort isn't working"

A: Just because you don't see anything in the window after you hit "Escort" doesn't mean it's not working! OK, I admit that sounds like a dodge, but it's true. Before you give up, look for the following: a) If the top of your browser goes blank, or gray, it may be working. Wait 10 seconds and go to the screens tab and enter a url using a script. If you get a message saying updating customer info, wait a few more seconds and try again. If you still don't see anything, ask the patron if their browser changed. They may see the pages and you can't. If you see the hipbone logo in the upper right corner of the shared content window it should be working. Clicking "Escort" more than once will not help the situation. It will almost certainly foul everything up! The only time to click "Escort" again is if you are sure that you, in fact, did not really click it the first time. If all else fails, cut and paste the urls that you want to show into the chat window so that the patron has a list of urls to visit later.

Q: , "refresh" and "autolog out."

A: By now you should have heard and or seen several messages regarding the possibility of the software to log you out automatically. We are still seeing many cases of librarians unaware that they are logged out. The session inbox it the key to success here. You must never close the session inbox. Frankly, I never minimize it either. When you click on session inbox after logging in, be sure to open it in a separate window. You do this by clicking on the tiny red and white box next to the words, not on the underlined words themselves. You will know that you have done this correctly because you will still have a main page window in the task bar at the bottom of you monitor screen. After you select your categories to monitor, and click monitor you will also see the session inbox in the task bar as well. If you need to open a second browser window to do research, make sure that you open the window by whichever method your version of Windows uses to open it in a new window, and that it does not take over an existing window! (If you use windows 98 or 2000, use the smail Internet Explorer icon in the quick launch bar at the lower left of your screen) When the system refreshes, it sends a message to the session inbox that says "done". This happens every few seconds. If the refresh is stuck, you will not see "done", but rather a long string of letters and symbols in the bottom of the session inbox window, that stays there, stuck! If you see that, you must refresh manually, by hitting the F5 key, or right clicking and choosing refresh. You will get a message saying logging out, and then you will have to reselect your categories from the session inbox. We have placed a small green happy face icon in the upper left corner of the session inbox to help you notice a refresh problem. If the happy face blinks every 7-10 seconds, all is well. If it stays solid green or worse, solid red, then refresh got stuck and you are logged out or on the verge of being so. Please reselect your categories. Please keep your eye on the session inbox. This is the only place that you can tell if you are still logged in and monitoring if you are not actively in session. If you are in a session and you get logged out, you may see the attendees box disappear. This is a clue that you may be logging out. You should still be able to complete your session, but make sure you check your session inbox after you complete the session, so that you can log back in.

Q: How about if my browser crashes during a session?

A: . If for some reason, your browser crashes during a session, you should check the session inbox for sessions in progress. You may be able to resurrect the session there, like a "customer disconnect". Similarly, if you have incorrectly closed a session by using the browser "X" at the end of a session, you may be able to see your session in "sessions in progress" and go back and close it correctly. (Be careful not to close anyone else's session that may show up there.) If your inbox has a session in progress showing and you think that you should not have one, check it out! Maybe there is an old session of yours lingering there, improperly closed for whatever reason. A last reminder, please be sure to check your computer's Internet Explorer settings as against the manual in the workstations settings page, to make sure that you have your browser properly configured to run the software. You need to do this on each new machine that you test.

Q: Is the 24/7 software designed to handle librarians pushing/escorting screens to patrons using Macs? Do you anticipate that we will have any problems with this system mix?

A: I myself have a Mac at home, same setup as you do. The librarian who helped me reported that I showed up as a "B" patron. She had difficulty sending me any pages, but at the time, we were unable to determine whether the problem was hers, or mine. Even if you do show up as a "B", she should be able to send you pages, using the "send page' button. I recommend that you clear your temporary internet files (cache) before you begin, and that you have session cookies enabled. Please let me know the results of your test, because we have very little data about MAC users. Also, please make sure that the librarian has checked her computer settings as against the specs listed at under workstation settings, and that she/he also clears her cache.

Q: Can a Mac patron, use either Netscape or Explorer... does it make a difference?

A: It shouldn't. I tend to use Internet Explorer as it is the more forgiving browser

Q: How can we get the "Get Customer" button to work and what is it exactly?

A: The Get Customer button has no function in the normal course of usage. That is because we use waiting rooms and not Queues. With the waiting room, you click on the underlined CSLA which is a link, when there is a patron waiting. Get Customer is used when a patron is transferred to a personal queue. Please ignore the get customer button for now.

Q: Can we have access to the "meetings" function?

A: I will activate meetings for you

Q: Can we have access to build/share folders? We could not figure out how to do it if we currently have access.

A: The folder for building slideshows are active only at the administrative level for now. If you wish to have some powerpoints etc. loaded, please send them to me and I will load them for youl Share button is for sending screenshots, which is possible from your workstations. Please see the quickstart manual for instructions on how to use the share button.

Q: Can we have access to what MCLS and others have already developed in scripts?


Script Recommendations --

    Sample Scripts (.txt files) -- AskEric UCLA

  1. There need to be generic instructions for using the horizontal and vertical status bars in student mode. Necessary for NOVICE users.
  2. There need to be instructions regarding the meaning of hipbone for students. It's distracting...
  3. A student does NOT know if they have been disconnected or librarian has been disconnected

Database Testing Results

  1. WebSPIRS didn't work.
  2. While he was pushing Contemporary Literary Criticism, everything seemed to work fine in the beginning, then suddenly I got "program error" in the bottom taskbar and was kicked completely out of 24/7. The problem perhaps was not CLC because I understand that it tested okay this morning with BC and APS.
  3. Groves Dictionaries of Art and Music searches in both Groves were unsuccessful -- we'd get an error message each time
  4. Webspirs did not work and disconnected us
  5. Ebscohost worked fine and PDF files opened fine. Ebscohost PDF file opened fine on my computer, but did not work on Steve's. When he tried to open the file, he was disconnected.
  6. Library catalog worked fine.
  7. We could not get to Pharos at all from the Library Catalog tab /sites/default/files/library/opac/catalog.html _ (and the page does not wrap so it is not easy for the user to see the"all CSU" tab). The all CSU tab is /sites/default/files/library/opac/unioncat.html _ and it did not do anything within the software but it was working OK when _ we tested in a separate window.
  8. Ebscohost worked except PDF files
  9. today (linked from the old OED link). It worked fine, though Ying and I had problems with it a couple of weeks ago.
  10. Occupational Outlook handbook worked fine, even allowing us to bring up a pdf and print it. But it printed without headers for the document or the sections within it. Also, the URL on the bottom of the page was to mimas rather than Page URL: . Is that because we went through the proxy? Why is this behind the proxy when it is a public domain database.
  11. Began new session and was disconnected when using Britannica. Same message came up "IE has generated an error and will be closed by Windows.",
  12. Began new session and tried AccuNet. Patron was prompted for NIS account, then Librarian got message "IE has generated an error and will be closed by Windows"

Miscellaneous Comments & Challenges

  1. Once you get disconnected, it seems impossible to start a new session, even if you log off properly.
  2. We began a new session and had more problems. Patron got message "Page you are looking for is currently unavailable". Another message was "The web site might be experiencing technical difficulty".
  3. Escort took about 30-60 seconds to load.
  4. Library homepage and databases page also took a while to load. Paul felt it was because of the images (too many) and frames on theses pages.
  5. From the patron end of things, whenever I tried to type a chat message and send it to the librarian, I got an IE error message and my browser was closed by windows.
  6. I discovered that if I chose a URL from the drop down menu under the "screens" option and sent it to her, I was then unable to go back to this menu and use this same URL a second time.
  7. While playing "librarian," I was frustrated by the lack of a toolbar which would allow me to easily cut and paste material into my text box (I haven't tried mouse or keyboard shortcuts)

Please send comments, additions & corrections to Romelia Salinas, 8/15/01.