As in previous days, I spend the first part of the morning finishing off yesterday’s post. I add a picture from Flickr that has a creative commons licence and fits in well with yesterday’s theme. On the way to the water cooler I take some pictures of our books to use in this post.
One of our two home workers is in the office this morning for some CMS training. We don’t see her that often and catch up on the latest news. Given that two of the five members of our web team are involved in enquiry work, it is a huge benefit to have the time of two part-time home workers and another full-time post ring-fenced for working on the website. Personally, I like the combination of web work and enquiries. My in-depth knowledge of the website can be beneficial on the enquiry desk, and you often come across new topics or resources for the website through researching an enquiry.
I was planning to spend most of the day with web work. An unexpected change to the timetable means that I have been asked to do the afternoon shift at the enquiry desk instead. I spend some time checking links and adding some new content to a section aimed at non-executive company directors. There are over 10,000 external links on our library pages and checking and fixing these manually would be extremely time consuming. We have recently started using Sitecheck, a programme which crawls the website and reports broken links and spelling mistakes. Hopefully this will free more time to update or select new content.
The office is busy this morning: there is staff training going on in the acquisitions area, the IT trainer is doing another one to one session, my line manager is doing CMS training with our home worker and someone is discussing issues with the new photocopier. Working in an open plan office can be rather irritating at times, especially when you are trying to focus on something that requires your full concentration. I end up listening to some music through my headphones just to block out the distractions. I make some progress with the non-executive director pages before it is time for lunch.
The afternoon is going fast as I am dealing with an interesting selection of enquiries:
- Someone asks for share prices for a particular company in 1986. We do not offer a share price service and I refer the member to our knowledge guide to share prices which lists possible sources for this type of information.
- Another member wants to know if a company has paid any dividends on their shares in the last tax year. This is answered from one of our reference sources.
- I am asked for some practical information on distance selling. I haven’t heard that term before and learn that it relates to UK companies selling goods to customers in other EU countries. There are some VAT implications to this. Whilst on the phone I can’t find much that the user doesn’t know already. I offer to check some of our in-depth VAT guides later and let him know if we find anything more detailed.
- A regular user wants to know if we have the latest edition of a practical tax guide. It turns out it has only been published this month and I pass the details to the Resources Development Manager to purchase. This falls into the area of my old acquisitions job so I am walking on familiar ground.
- Another member wants to borrow a book and asks if I could extend the loan period because he will be abroad for several weeks. I point out that a previous edition of the book is available as an ebook from the website which solves the issue.
- I am asked a question concerning the contents of financial statements and refer the user to our technical enquiries service. Whilst we deal with information queries, ‘Technical’ is staffed by qualified accountants. They discuss the issue with the member and might refer them back to us once they have identified whether we can supply any information related to the query.
I have half an hour at the end of the day which I use to check that my earlier web updates have gone live. I am planning to spend tomorrow morning refreshing my acquisitions knowledge in preparation for an afternoon training session with our new Acquisitions Assistant. It is a lovely evening and I decide to go for run along the Grand Union Canal to wind down.