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Descriptive Codes

About Descriptive Codes

Your library can use Descriptive Codes to categorize and analyze the questions that it receives. Librarians can select up-to-four Descriptive Codes in the chat monitor when they end a chat session. They can also select them in the Full Question for any completed chat session or question.

For example, librarians might select Descriptive Codes such as Catalog, Directional, Instructional, or Research. Then you (Institution administrator) can view reports (Home > Reports > Institution > Descriptive Codes) showing how many Catalog, Directional, Instructional, or Research questions your library received.

Libraries differ in their use of Descriptive Codes. Some use them, some do not. Each library that uses them decides which ones to use and how to use them to categorize questions.

If your library is part of a cooperative, so you help other libraries' patrons as well as your own, you should add Descriptive Codes only if the patron is one of your library's patrons or your cooperative has agreed to assign codes to one another's patrons. The 24/7 Reference Cooperative's policy is that Descriptive Codes are assigned only to sessions or transactions with one's own patrons.

Setting up Descriptive Codes

If your library uses Descriptive Codes, librarians can select them from a default list of almost 70 codes or from a custom list that you create.

If your library uses the default list, there are no setup activities for you in the Administration module. However, librarians see the full list of default codes when they are selecting codes. Librarians need guidelines about which of the codes to use and how to use them.

If you create a custom list in the Administration module, librarians see only the codes included in your custom list. You can set up to 50 codes.

View the default list

To view the default list:

  1. Go to Administration > Institution > Settings > Descriptive Codes.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes page.
  2. Click Build Descriptive Codes List.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes -> Build the List page.
    The default list is on the left side of the page.
  3. After you view the list, click Return to Descriptive Codes Manager.

Build your custom list

This procedure adds Descriptive Codes to, or removes them from, your custom list. After using this procedure, see Change the order of your custom list if you need to rearrange the codes in the list.

To create or change your custom list:

  1. Go to Administration > Institution > Settings > Descriptive Codes.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes page.
  2. Click Build Descriptive Codes List.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes -> Build the List page.
  3. To add codes to the custom list from the default list, select the desired codes in the default list on the left and click Add.
    QuestionPoint copies the selected codes to the custom list on the right.
  4. To add a code to the custom list that does not appear in the default list, type the code in the Enter the Custom Descriptive Code box and click Add.
    QuestionPoint adds the code to the custom list on the right.
    Repeat this step for each code that you want to add.
  5. To remove codes from the custom list on the right, select the codes, verify that you selected only the codes that you want to remove, and click Remove.
    QuestionPoint removes the codes from the custom list on the right.
  6. Click Save when the custom list on the right contains all the codes that you want.
    QuestionPoint displays a confirmation message.
    Note: The codes in the custom list appear in the order in which they will appear to librarians when they select Descriptive Codes. See Change the order of your custom list if you need to rearrange the codes in the list.
  7. Click Return to Descriptive Codes Manager.

Change the order of your custom list

To change the order in which the codes in the custom list appear to librarians:

  1. Click Put Descriptive Codes in Order on the Descriptive Codes page.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes -> Order the List page. It contains your custom list in its current order.
  2. Select a code that you want to move to a different place in the list and click Move Up or Move Down as needed to move it to its new place.
    Repeat this step until all codes are in the desired order.
  3. Click Save.
    QuestionPoint displays a confirmation message.
  4. Click Return to Descriptive Codes Manager.

Reinstate old custom codes

If you remove Descriptive Codes from your custom list, they remain available so you can reinstate them later if you wish.

To reinstate codes that you selected from the default list, simply add them again from the default list. See Build your custom list for more information.

To reinstate codes that you typed into the Enter the Custom Descriptive Code box because they were not in the default list:

  1. Go to Administration > Institution > Settings > Descriptive Codes.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes page.
  2. Click Reinstate Old Custom Descriptive Codes.
    QuestionPoint displays the Descriptive Codes -> Reinstate Old Codes page.
    Note: If the Reinstate Old Custom Descriptive Codes link is not active, there are no codes available to reinstate.
  3. In the box on the left, select the codes that you want to reinstate and click Add.
    QuestionPoint adds the codes to the custom list on the right.
  4. Click Save.
    QuestionPoint displays a confirmation message.
    The codes in the custom list appear in the order in which they will appear to librarians when they select Descriptive Codes. See Change the order of your custom list if you need to rearrange the codes in the list.
  5. Click Return to Descriptive Codes Manager.


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