Tutor.com Launches Ask A Librarian

New online reference product provides a reliable and secure solution for chat and Browser sharing

NEW YORK– November 14, 2005 –Tutor.com, the leading provider of one-to-one learning and information solutions, announced today the launch of a new online reference software suite for public and academic libraries – Ask A Librarian™ and Ask A Librarian Express™. These new products provide the most reliable, secure, one-to-one online reference experience for librarians and library customers. The proprietary software suite replaces Tutor.com’s Virtual Reference Toolkit™ and Virtual Reference Express™ product lines.

A New World in Online Reference

Libraries of all types and sizes, especially groups and large cooperatives, now have what they’ve been looking for from an online reference service: reliable, stable connections; simple intuitive interface for librarians and library customers; compatibility with any operating system; and on-demand tracking and reporting features. Ask A Librarian Express, a unique turnkey service, is the only solution available that provides a complete, 24/7 full-service product for libraries that want to offer a high-quality online reference program but don’t have the resources and/or staffing. Ask A Librarian Express combines Ask A Librarian software with expert, degreed librarians from Tutor.com’s respected Librarians By Request service. With Ask A Librarian Express, libraries can begin running an around-the-clock service in just a matter of weeks with no training, no administrative hassles and no redistribution of staff time.

Using Ask A Librarian

Tutor.com customers are already in the process of upgrading to the new software. DeVry University and the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico are actively using the new software suite with their students and faculty. Staff and administrator training took only a few hours instead of a few days since the product has a simple and easy-to-use interface. Cooperatives can train large groups of librarians from their desktops rather than pulling them away for full-day training sessions.

"We’re very pleased with the initial feedback from our clients who are already using Ask A Librarian and the dozen or so who have been testing the new software over the past few months," said George Cigale, CEO of Tutor.com. "Clients using Ask A Librarian will find their usage numbers increasing as both librarians and end-users see how reliable, secure and easy-to-use the software is for anytime, anywhere help."

A Customized Experience

From the look and feel of the library’s online reference Web page, to pre-scripted messages and bookmarked Web sites, to how the library routes reference questions, Ask A Librarian provides a customized solution. Tutor.com works with each library to set up the program to best suit the library’s and their communities’ needs. Even with this high level of customization, programs can be ready in a matter of weeks. Tutor.com also offers customized online training for staff and administrators.

Web and Windows Versions Provide Ultimate Access

Tutor.com’s Ask A Librarian software suite includes a Web version that provides access from any Internet-enabled computer on any operating system. Customers using the Web version can chat, share public Web materials and send files back and forth with a librarian. The Windows application requires a one-time installation of a small file (about the size of an MP3 or song file) for the end-user. End users with the Windows application can link to their library for reference help by simply clicking on the desktop icon. They also have the benefit of experiencing Browser sharing during their reference sessions. Librarians may share their Browser with the customer to show protected Web materials and teach end-users how to search effectively as the customer watches the librarian’s search path and every mouse click.

Managing and Tracking Online Reference Programs

Managing and tracking an online reference program is easy with Tutor.com’s account, scheduling and reporting tools. Administrators have access to on-demand reporting for a variety of data points for any time period desired. Professional reports can be exported in several formats including html, Excel and comma delimited files to best suit the library’s needs for sharing results with staff and colleagues or funding entities.

About Tutor.com

Tutor.com is the leading provider of one-to-one learning and information solutions for libraries, educational institutions and individuals. Using innovative technology, Tutor.com’s suite of services allows users to get help online from professional subject experts anywhere, at any time. These highly personalized services are supported with superior training, communications, tracking and reporting features as well as 24/7-customer service. To learn more about Tutor.com’s services and for a complete client list, please go to www.tutor.com.