Is something up with the Library of Congress' QuestionPoint service?

I’ve recieved a few emails from the Library of Congress’ “Ask a Librarian…” service that I wasn’t supposed to get. Either patrons have started entering in my email address as their own for the past two weeks or there’s, well, something wrong with the service. I don’t know which is more likely.

One reason why I don’t think that the error is coming from a faulty patron side input comes from a small bit of detective work. The help link at the end of the email leads to a password recovery box. I entered in my email address and never received and email. I *think* the form works because the URL for the page changes, but nothing changes on the page. Not a good user experience, eh David King?

questionpoint is faulty

Here’s the latest email directly from my account, spacing and odd left/right carats around URLs intact. Dont read it all because it is long and a bit unwieldy, which I wouldn’t expect from a mostly boilerplate, “We can’t/don’t want to answer your question” document. I want to include it all here to show just how big and hard to read it is. Another reason why I think something is up with their software is because the email answer is also found in the “question history” portion of the email. How does that work?

Yeah, I’m a bit cranky because of my previous bad feelings about QP, but I think the whole thing is odd!

Hello [patron’s name]

We suggest that you spend some time searching the Library of Congress online public access catalog (OPAC) to find titles of books that are relevant to your topic. Then you can see if your local library has copies of these books, or can arrange to borrow them through interlibrary loan.

To search the OPAC, go to the Library of Congress home page at: < > Click on “Search our Catalogs” or go directly to < >. Click on either “Basic Search” or “Guided Search.” A “Basic Search” will allow you to search by author, title, subject, call number, keyword, guided keyword, or International Standard Bibliographic Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), or Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN). For a “Basic Search,” first you must choose your “Search Type,” and then enter the appropriate information in the search box. A “Guided Search” will allow you to perform a keyword search in specific fields of information, such as title, subject, author, publisher, series, or notes or a wide search in all fields. Boolean searching can be performed using a “Guided Search.”

Before performing your search, please take time to look over either the “Basic Search Tips” or “Guided Search Tips” which provide detailed and specific examples of search strategies. A detailed help guide is also available for all types of searches. The Help link is found at the bottom of each search page.

We also suggest that you discuss your needs with a reference librarian in a nearby library. For help in locating a library in your area, please look at the suggestions on our website at < >.

You might also wish to search for appropriate websites at The Librarians’ Index to the Internet at < >.

The Library of Congress online catalog is a catalog of bibliographic records. Unfortunately, except for very rare instances, full-text books cannot be found online at our website. It is likely that you will need to go to your local library to find the book itself or ask them about interlibrary loan if they do not own the book.

The Library of Congress has digitized a small portion of its collections focusing on graphic materials such as maps, photographs and manuscript materials and which are primarily historical Americana. If you are interested in seeing these materials, please look at our American Memory collections at < >.

There are numerous organizations that offer digitized books, though at present most free online books tend to be “classics,” i.e. older materials no longer covered by copyright. Some publishers also provide electronic versions of contemporary books but there is usually a fee involved (or you may be able to access them through a public or university library which subscribes to them.) You can find links to a number of organizations which offer free access to online books by using the search engine and typing “full text online books”. Specific sites which you may find helpful are:

Digital Book Index
< >

Online Books Page, University of Pennsylvania < >

Full Text Books Online, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University (see the “Free of Charge” section) < >

Internet Public Library Online Book Page < >

Full Text Books and Journals, Australian Catholic Universities Libraries (arranged by subject) < >

A free service from Bowker < > lets you search for e-books (electronic) and on-demand titles from the “Books in Print” database.

Search E-Books < > is a search engine for electronic books.

Reference Specialist
Main Reading Room
Humanities and Social Sciences Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4660


Question History:

Patron: hello my name is [patron’s name] i was wourding if you have any books on the coins or any papers on the coins i can do so i wouldn’t bee so board. from [patron’s name]

Librarian 3: We suggest that you spend some time searching the Library of Congress online public access catalog (OPAC) to find titles of books that are relevant to your topic. Then you can see if your local library has copies of these books, or can arrange to borrow them through interlibrary loan. [The email then continues to repeat itself]

6 thoughts on “Is something up with the Library of Congress' QuestionPoint service?”

  1. Terrible!

    I’ve had the password-reminder form not work for me as well and it’s definitely a UI issue. It turns out that “go” button just beneath the text entry box applies only to that “select language” field. You have to hit the ‘submit’ icon on the far right to get the form to submit.

    Some video of today’s talk is supposed to be online for us soon, I’m looking forward to it.

  2. Aaargh, I missed that! I guess I can’t be blamed *too* much for missing the grey on grey button…and why does the drop down menu need a “go” button?

    Upon further investigation, I think that the patron has perhaps entered my email address in the system. But since I’ve received multiple emails from different questions, they’ve maybe created more than one account. Or a few people have used my email address, all within the span of a week or two.

  3. Even though the present-day environment can make it infamously more challenging intended for airline carriers to show an
    even gain, the harder hard uphill war is usually the right way to
    discern on their own within the high-end on the internet business.
    Most of the leading cabins currently are available common together with twee perks like racket handle headphones,
    pride equipments, pyjamas, on-demand pleasure, device on the internet and
    also Wi-Fi.
    It, seemingly, isn’t good enough so that you can placate one of the most urbane persons. People that are able to afford it could at present have pleasure in cocoon from the atmosphere individual enclosures, coffee pubs, showers, personal chefs and sommeliers. Allowed towards a innovative days involving flight.
    Your, discover ten of the best high quality air carriers, together with the money necessary for some sort of round-trip air travel (06 2012 rates inside AUD) from the carrier’s heart to the important destination.

  4. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.|
    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!|
    Accommodation is situated in the flooring buisingess, traveler together with national precinct connected with Poland’s financing, for the intersection in the country’s major pavements:. It really is at the prominent Development associated with Community plus Discipline, a very powerful organizations, bankers along with the hunting hub. The ones are typical features in making a relax in Warsaw mainly because fulfilling as you possibly can, can be gathered surrounding. Simple reference to any international airport, set 10 kilometre from hotel; and therefore the Core Railway Place is due to any 0. 5-kilometre length.

  5. Even though the existing temperature will make it notoriously more complicated
    meant for airlines to show a regular gain, greater troublesome uphill challenge is actually how to know the difference by themselves on
    the high-end of your small business. Most of the high quality cabins right now take
    place traditional together with twee added benefits just like racket restrain headphones, vanity systems, pyjamas, on-demand entertainment, equipment
    online connectivity and even Wi-Fi.
    This specific, obviously, isn’t sufficient in order to placate the most urbane guests. Individuals who is able to afford it could actually at this moment experience cocoon while in the skies exclusive enclosures, gourmet coffee watering holes, showers, personal chefs and sommeliers. Encouraged to the brand-new days connected with traveling by plane.
    Achievable, learn 15 of the most useful high grade aircraft, with the price tag on any round-trip stand up (Summer 2012 costs during AUD) on the carrier’s hub to some important vacation destination.

Leave a Reply