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LibAnswers is a knowledgebase of frequently asked questions with accompanying answers, and can also be used as a ticket tracking system for receiving questions from users (we do not currently use this function). It is also connected to the LibChat service.
At the MIT Libraries we call it "Quick Answers: social sciences & management" and it only contains content covering those topics.
To login, go to the link above and use the login link at the bottom of the page.
Add or edit questions
Only members of the social sciences and management team should update LibAnswers.
Select Create FAQ Entry or FAQ Entries from the Answers menu
Do NOT select Tickets or Create Ticket
- Type in the question. Leave details blank. Save question and continue.
- Type the answer and also select a topic and add keywords. Save answer text, then preview.
Scope and style guide
- Answers should be - at a minimum - a starting point for research or information. They aren’t necessarily meant to cover every possible avenue. Some answers may be more comprehensive, even approaching the breadth of answers covered in some of our more lengthy Ask-Us responses. The discretion belongs to the Q&A author.
- Answers should be accurate and clearly-worded.
- Answers may include links to anything which might help users--MIT resources, external websites, suggestions for approaching their research problem, etc.
- The length of answers is also at the discretion of the Q&A author. Length may range from very brief to very lengthy - whatever the author feels is appropriate.
- Answers should NOT make references - directly or indirectly - to any specific library user. For example, if an Ask-Us response is cut-and-pasted and edited for use in LibAnswers, care must be taken to exclude any and all references to the original requestor. Also, indirect identifiers that could reasonably identify the person should also be removed (e.g., specific topic of the requestor’s thesis, details of a research project that are not general in nature, etc.).
- Use upper and lower case. Use proper punctuation.
- Be as concise as possible while still conveying the level of detail necessary. Users tend not to read large blocks of text although sometimes including more information helps clarify for the user. Use your judgment.
- When using public websites consider the stability of the site. Will it remain for some time or will it quickly disappear or move?
- Whenever possible, link directly to a web resource rather than intermediate pages with links (such as other libraries’ guides).
- Do NOT provide location pointers that may change (ex. Go to Business Monitor Online and click on Agribusiness
in the left hand column)
- Include Barton searches when appropriate.
- When referring to MIT library databases link to the Get URL (found in Vera).
- Should be in question format ending in a question mark (?).
- Send user directly to source - don’t go through Barton or Vera (ex. Go to ABI/Inform).
- Hyperlink databases, websites, ebooks, and items in Barton. Mention the format if linking directly to the content is not possible.
- Use bold for non-hyperlinked databases, keywords and call numbers.
- Use italics for non-hyperlinked book and journal titles.
- Entering keywords:
- When entering keywords, do not include words already in the question, answer, or topic.
- Enter synonyms and variant endings. The software does not do automatic stemming. Example: for the question “Where can I find data on pharmaceutical sales and consumption by country?” include these terms (often used in place of “pharmaceutical”), in the keywords list: pharma; drug.
- The software is unpredictable in searching for variant spellings. If in doubt, include the variant spelling. Examples: labour retrieves labor; organisation does NOT retrieve organization.
- The software automatically searches for regular singulars/plurals, but not (or not always) for irregular singulars/plurals. Irregular singulars and plurals should be added to the Keywords list when appropriate. Examples: woman does NOT retrieve women; child does NOT retrieve children.
- Use your judgment in determining which and how many keywords to apply. When in doubt about whether or not it’s necessary to include a term in the Keywords list, include it. Example: the question “Where can I find statistics on child labor?” might be phrased as “Where can I find statistics on children in the workforce?” Hence the Keywords list should include the terms children and workforce.
Note: Once a new Question/Answer is added, it takes about one hour before it is indexed in the system