Qwidget Implementation Poster Session

2015 MLA/DLA Conference Poster Session

Qwidget Implementation Project:  

More Information

Please refer to http://askusnow.info/staff/reports_qwidget-implementation.


Questions to the Maryland and Non-Maryland Library Contributors:


Who is involved with implementing the qwidget onto a library website?

Once we have decided where we want the page, talk to our Web people and they add it to those pages.  The process is not difficult.  http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/services/brochures/213410usf_questi...

I would imagine that this is both the QP Admin person for the library and maybe their IT Dept.  It depends on the size and staffing of any given library.

Whoever has administrative control of the web page must approve placement. IT staff may be needed to assist in actual placement.

Technology librarian (has rights to edit library webpage)

Our Information Technology Librarian and Emerging Technologies Librarian integrated it into our site. We had to make sure that the qwidget worked with our own chat service (Library H3lp) and that each would appear at the right time.

We leave it up to the participating library to work on this. Usually it involves more than one person and may also involve IT depending on webpages.

We were unable to implement it on the library’s home page but it has been implemented in our LibGuides and on our Discovery Service.

For the LibGuides – we just needed the embed code – we created a box that has the qwidget inside it.

For the Discovery service – we needed the embed code as well – it connects well to our EBSCO Discovery Service


How do libraries decide on where to place the qwidget?

We decided to place the qwidget on as many of those pages that people tended to visit most:  database page, the catalog page, the research tools page, our facebook page, the SLRC.info contact page, etc The more places it is put the more questions we get

There is that link placement guidance that someone forwarded on the listserve I think.  Otherwise I don’t really have an answer.

See answer to #1 above. Besides "front page" placement, libraries can/should determine from which subpages they'd like to encourage patron questions.

Social media presences outside the web page, such as Facebook pages, absolutely should be a place where the qwidget is employed.

Our library already uses a chat service during the day, so the qwidget was placed in the same place, but coded to be used whenever our librarians were not logged into Libraryhelp

We placed it in the same place we have our Library H3lp chat box because that is where our students know to look for chat help.

We leave it up to the participating library. We talk to them about options and ideas for placement and what other libraries are doing. This gives them flexibility to create access points useful for their library and needs.

We wanted the qwidget where students would see and utilize the qwidget. We saw a marked increase when the qwidget was introduced to our Discovery Service.


What do customers ask on the qwidget?

See attachment:  "90dayslibrarysampling_questiontypes"

Questions that pertain to the page they are on usually. However, they also ask the same questions as we get on the actual chat entry point.

I think they ask the same sorts of questions that they ask in any other portal.  It is merely a different access point.

The whole range of questions. Our tracking isn't sophisticated enough, however, to prove whether or not the type of strategic placement described above influences patrons the way we hope it does.

AskUsNow is our after-hours chat provider so they ask for help with finding information late at night as well as to report access issues.

Since our the AskUsNow chat qwidget is usually working after hours, the questions are usually about off campus access to resources, or for last minute help finding articles on a research topic

We see a split in questions from library information (my account/check outs, ebooks, library-specific info, do you have...) and research questions (looking for info on specific topic, citations, sources...)

How to connect from off-campus

What search terms should they use for a search they are not having any luck with

How to access an article that is not listed as full-text


Why do libraries want a qwidget, or do not want a qwidget?

Why libraries don’t want a Qwidget: Varies… in some cases it’s a negative attitude toward chat service or collaborative chat in particular… in other cases it’s a matter of online real estate and wanting to dedicate space to other things. This also plays into where they do place the Qwidget

Once the qwidget had the ability to +roll up” to the next level (to be answered by both Maryland and 24/7 Librarians), I saw no reason not to have a qwidget.  Since we do advertise as being 24/7, this was important.

I think the answer to this is essentially instant access.  It provides help right where the patron is stuck.  For example try searching in…catalog with some gibberish.  Every time a search comes up blank it opens up a search box.  The patron can get help without leaving the page.  In the academics Libguides are another very common place to place a qwidget.  Again it provides access to help directly from a page where someone may have a question.  Also mobile access to the service is provided through a qwidget so it allows access to a librarian on the fly.

To increase traffic through the web site and through social media outlets such as Facebook AND to attempt to solicit traffic on specific topics by placement on strategic subpages. E.g., placing the qwidget on the database page might encourage people to ask questions about the database, placing the qwidget on the Kids page might encourage questions from Kids, etc.

Easy to integrate into existing web content (library home page, ebsco databases, etc)

Simple to demonstrate use to students in class

Qwidget helps to make it easier for our students to get after-hours research help

FSU wanted the qwidget because it was easy for students to see the chat box that they can type their question into. They did not have to click a link and then go to another web page. The qwidget allows students to stay on their current page.

I think most libraries coming into our service… are going just with the qwidget while some of our libraries that have been with…for many years are reluctant to switch or add the qwidget (if it's not broke...)

We came up with one reason why to keep the chat form- using the chat form allows you to use different/more form fields to capture more patron data

For the qwidget here is what we came up with:

when chatting w a patron via the qwidget it will show the referral url which tells the librarian what page they are on - in a database, in the catalog... librarian can start from that point of assistance

keeps the patron at their point of need

users know what the widget is for - it's intuitive, no learning curve

the qwidget code is responsive/mobile friendly


Besides the qwidget, what factors also lead to an increase in AskUsNow! usage and higher quality of service?

The high quality of service itself should lead to an increase in usage of AskUsNow!.  Also marketing to various groups of people (schools, seniors, general population of computer users).  Reminding staff to mention AskUsNow as a reference source.

Another thing I have seen that really drives traffic is having a link embedded consistently.  For example on that SPL page they have an icon that looks like this <see attachment>

That icon appears all over their site.  Not on every page but on most of them. 

The academics that have the highest usage all have a link built into their Libguide header <see attachment>

The librarian doesn’t have to remember to add in a qwidget and the students know that it is always in the same place so they don’t have to go hunting.  Mainly I think it is about lots of regular link placement and also promoting by word of mouth.  If you mention it in every class or every handout eventually the word starts to spread.  One of my public librarians recently spent all day at a local Middle school and demoed it to every 8th grader (you probably remember that day)  Their usage is up 300% and she said they are real questions.  She is of course delighted by this.

Usage: marketing.  Quality: Oversight of staff (transcript review) and maintenance of policy page. The latter is crucial in allowing staff from throughout the co-op to effectively answer local questions.

As students see they are getting good answers to their questions they pass this info onto others telling them to try the service.

Our library talks about the service during every library instruction session as well.

Integrating end-user perspectives into the design of a website goes a long way toward making sure patrons realize that chat service is available to them

I think marketing increases usage as well. Our involvement with AskUsNow allows my library to say that we provide 24/7 chat help and that is a definitely a positive in the eyes of our students and faculty.

We see a trend with…libraries of moving away from using the word "reference". Reference is just a little part of what the service is all about. Moving to more customer service-based names. One academic library with a large distance learner community changed the name of their service from Ask a Librarian to Need Help? and saw a large increase in usage. Many libraries both public and academic are following suite. 

We are also seeing with our larger institutions a more careful "orchestration" for referring and handling of questions. It's a back-end decentralizing of the service allowing the patron to come in from one service point with a question and then referring it out to the correct department. Even if the question is answered by the initial point of contact the subject department is always cc'd on correspondences to stay in the loop and assure for quality control. 


What is the future of library chat reference?

…quality control is kept strong

Marketing is not forgotten

We are aware of the newer technologies and how these can help us offer better service to our  customers.

We continue to work as a cooperative unit

I think we are going to be asked a lot more access questions and the informational questions will be fewer but more complex

Because there are limits in copy right access to resources from different libraries it can be hard to guide a patron through a process they need help with. I can see technologies such as join.me being integrated better, so librarians could potentially “control” the patrons end to show them where things are

We are in the process of testing out a proactive chat widget where the user is prompted if they need help after about 10-15 seconds of visiting our website. We haven't gone live with this yet, still testing it. QP was unable to work with us on this so we are doing this on our own. The coding has proven to be a little tricky but we are getting close to implementation. I think this will become easier in time and more vendors will have this as part of the service package. It is being widely used in the commercial market (think Lands End website, more retailers have this)

Another thing for the future of the service will be more responsive and mobile-friendly chat tools - a qwidget/widget will easily morph or transition between text/chat/email depending on the patron's preference. More intuitive options, such as the proactive chat widget - an example - instead of just prompting a patron to chat after staying on a webpage for a certain length of time there will be prompts for help after a failed search in the catalog, "I see you are looking for..." "Didn't find what you're looking for?"

I also think the service will continue to grow as a way to track types of usage and trending issues - getting a lot of questions about ebooks, tailor ebooks information to those questions, bring ebook guides and help more to the surface. While we may have the information the patron is seeking on our website it may not be easy for the them to find. We can get a better understanding of layout design and placement of links and how patrons respond to those. This will continually be shaped by our changing collections and services.

I think that there needs to be an app for AskUsNow! since many of our students connect and access library resources from a mobile device. You can make a link that acts like an app but it isn’t truly an app.

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