Sunday, February 20, 2005

When the Library is closed, do you...

...need some live help?

If so, you may AskNow via Internet Chat! This service lets you ask questions and get answers in real time from reference staff in libraries throughout California and the nation at any time of day or night. You may click the icon below to connect or look for the icon on the website for the Buena Park Library District.

Ask Now -- Live Reference Services

Here are some answers to questions you may have about the service:

1. What is AskNow?
AskNow is a service that combines the speed and convenience of the Internet with the information savvy of librarians. California residents were among the first in the nation to enjoy live online reference service. That means you can go to a library website, type your question, "talk" to a librarian and get an answer while you wait--virtually the same as if you were in a library.

2. How is AskNow different from search engines?
A search engine is a computer program that “crawls” the Web, looking for the words you typed into the search box. AskNow connects you with an information pro--a reference librarian who is also an Internet expert. Thanks to interactive technology, you can communicate with the librarian online and use all of the online resources available through your own libraries. These resources include full-text articles from magazines and journals, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories and other commercial data services. A transcript of the session, including URLs for Web sites and other resources used, can be sent by e-mail after you’ve finished.

3. How does it work?
Simply log on to AskNow from any computer with Internet access. The AskNow icon is available on the Buena Park Library District website. When you type your question, a librarian will respond by typing an answer.

4. What kinds of questions can AskNow answer?
AskNow is designed to answer brief, factual questions for school, business or home use. A few examples: "What does the "D" in D-Day stand for?" "How do I get a patent?" "Can I take my dog to the Philippines?" "When does Daylight Savings Time end?" "How do I get information about overseas adoption?" "What is an appropriate gift for a silver anniversary?" If your question requires in-depth research, the librarian may suggest Web sites and other sources of information to get you started. The librarian may also refer you to a subject expert. We also encourage you to call or visit the reference desk of your local library.

Please remember, this great service is always available, whether the library is closed or not. So whenever you find yourself needing to get a quick useful answer, try AskNow.

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