Knowledge Ontario

Knowledge Ontario

June 09, 2008 13:01 ET

Look who's chatting now....

Real-time information and research services branch out across Ontario's public and post-secondary libraries

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, City Editor, Education Editor, Media Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - June 9, 2008) - askON, Ontario's free real-time research and information service, is doubling its size by adding 19 new participating libraries. askON, which is staffed by Ontario's publicly funded libraries, uses state-of-the-art chat technology to connect visitors with experienced librarians who can help find authoritative online information on a broad range of subjects.

By clicking the askON logo on a participating library website and typing in a question, students, consumers, businesspeople and other information seekers are able to immediately chat with skilled askON staff located in an Ontario library. askON staff can help locate answers to quick questions, assist with more complicated research needs, improve access to library resources, deliver links to authoritative online information and provide help with search and digital literacy skills.

askON launched a pilot service in January 2008 with 10 public libraries and 7 post-secondary institutions. Each participating library contributes staff to the collective askON schedule in proportion to their size. A recently completed third party evaluation of the pilot service revealed a significant demand (over 4,000 chats in the first three months) and a high level of visitor satisfaction.

On the strength of these promising results askON is more than doubling its capacity this fall by adding 12 public and 7 post-secondary libraries.

"The askON pilot project proved that libraries of different sizes and sectors can collectively support a service that effectively meets a diverse range of information needs, said Virginia Roy, askON Project Manager. "askON visitors ask it all; from K-12 homework questions, and post-secondary research and instructional inquiries to the general public's broad range of information requests. She adds, "we're never sure what the question is going to be, but askON staff strive to connect visitors with better, more authoritative information than they could have found on their own."

The public libraries and communities who will be participating in the askON service this September are: Asphodel-Norwood, Belleville, Cornwell, Fort Erie, Georgina Township, Kitchener, Oakville, Pickering, Prince Edward County, Thunder Bay, Waterloo and Windsor.

The new post-secondary libraries are Centennial College, Conestoga College, Confederation College, Fanshawe College, Humber College, the University of Guelph and the University of Windsor.

About askON
askON is a new information service, managed by Ask Ontario, that helps Ontarians connect for free, using real-time chat over the internet, with librarians who can help them find authoritative digital information and improve their online search skills. Launched on January 7, 2008 askON has grown to
include 22 public library communities, 9 college libraries and 5 university libraries located around the province.

A list of participating libraries current hours and access to askON can be found at www.askon.ca.

About Ask Ontario
Ask Ontario is the project of Knowledge Ontario focused on planning, delivering and managing province-wide, real-time library information and research services. Knowledge Ontario is the first ever province-wide collaboration of libraries (public, school, college and university) working together to create an integrated and interactive digital environment about and for Ontarians. Knowledge Ontario is supported by the Province of Ontario. For more information visit: www.knowedgeontario.ca/askontario or www.askon.ca

IN: EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY

Contact Information

  • Virginia Roy, Project Manager, Ask Ontario, Knowledge Ontario
    Primary Phone: 416-363-3388 ext. 37
    Secondary Phone: 647-404-2105
    E-mail: vroy@knowledgeontario.ca