Welcome to AskAway: Live chat assistance

Chat online with our research experts.

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Hours and other services

 For Askaway opening and closing times, see Hours for Askaway.

 See Ask a librarian for other ways to reach us when Askaway is closed.


Your privacy and personal information

Protection of privacy notice

The BC Electronic Library Network and its partner libraries make the AskAway virtual reference service available to you for your convenience. Your use of the AskAway service is voluntary. The AskAway service is anonymous to protect your privacy. Any other information you provide to initiate an AskAway chat session, the transcript of that session, and any files or images you share are stored on LibraryH3lp servers located in Canada.

As with other web-based services and sites, AskAway logs the IP address of each visitor. This information is kept strictly confidential. If necessary, AskAway administrators can block individual IP addresses to prevent inappropriate behaviour on the service.

To improve your AskAway experience, the chat box will retain your chat conversation when you change between pages on the web site containing the chat box you are using – this chat conversation is stored locally in your browser. At any time, you can use the "trash can" icon to clear out the chat conversation. You can also clear your browser's cache and reload your web page to clear the chat conversation history. For more information, see this LibraryH3lp FAQ: I am a library patron, and my library uses this chat service. What can you tell me about privacy?

If you are using a public workstation, remember to click the "trash can" icon to clear the chat box for the next user.

In order to improve the service and better understand your needs and experience, sessions are concluded with a voluntary exit survey. You can also access this survey by clicking the "Feedback" link in the chat box. As with the transcript data, exit survey information is encrypted for transmission and storage and is used only by AskAway administrators to review service quality and identify training needs.

For more information on privacy, see these LibraryH3p FAQs on how the software stores and saves information from your chat session.

Personal information collection notice

The AskAway service receives and retains a copy of the chat transcript. It is related directly to and needed by B.C. libraries to administer their participation in the provincial AskAway service. The information will be used solely for service evaluation and analysis. Transcripts can be:

  • Emailed to you as a record of the session and a reminder of resources consulted only if you choose to provide us with your email address, which is never stored
  • Used to monitor and improve the overall quality of service
  • Mined for aggregated statistical data such as the number of questions received or the average length of sessions
  • Referred to in research papers, articles, and presentations (in which cases any personal information inadvertently contained within will be stripped from the transcripts before use)

This information is collected under the authority of the University Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c.468, s. 27(4)(a)) and the College and Institute Act (R.S.B.C 1996, c.52, s. 41(1)(4)).

If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information, please contact Sunni Nishimura, BC ELN Manager, 778.782.6937.