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David Lee King

More Chat in the Catalog



Remember my post on TSCPL’s Meebo chat widget embedded in our library catalog? Since then, we have stopped using the Meebo Me widget. It was great – it helped us start our IM reference service, and it was easy to embed pretty much wherever we wanted. But we grew out of it!

We discovered a few shortcomings, like not being able to send hotlinks through it, and our public services staff really wanted the ability to send an IM to someone else. So now, we’re using Libraryh3lp for our IM reference service. Libraryh3lp gives us those added benefits and more.

And we’re doing a few different things with the catalog embed, too. Here’s a pic of the keyword, No Records Found search:

New version of the Chat Reference service in the catalog

We’re trying to make instructions clear, friendly and attractive. If you click the Ask Now button, you get a tiny IM widget pop-up page. Why pop-up? With our Meebo widget, we discovered that a lot of people would start asking a question, then click something … and they’d be gone, because they had clicked away from the page with the embedded IM widget. Bumer! With our new pop-up version, that problem is solved. Users can click away all they want … and still interact with us.

But even cooler than that – Michael, our web designer (one of his many hats) discovered a way to embed a similar thing on the Search Results page:

Search Results page - Chat added!

This provides more opportunities for patrons to ask questions when they get stuck on a search – even if they’re finding things. Basically, they have access to us ON EVERY SEARCH they do.

And not just IM access – that’s provided via the Ask Now button. But we also include our phone number and a link to our email Ask a Librarian form.

We’re excited about this – should be fun to see if we get more catalog-related questions.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Willen Brown

    Thanks for updating us on your Meebo-in-the-catalog idea! Love the “Sorry we didn’t find it” image. Also like the idea of the pop-out for chat.

  • http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Willen Brown

    Thanks for updating us on your Meebo-in-the-catalog idea! Love the “Sorry we didn’t find it” image. Also like the idea of the pop-out for chat.

  • http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com Stephanie Willen Brown

    Thanks for updating us on your Meebo-in-the-catalog idea! Love the “Sorry we didn’t find it” image. Also like the idea of the pop-out for chat.

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  • Brendon Kozlowski

    Well done. I’m looking forward to getting in to the thick of things with LibraryH3lp; I have been for the past 4 months – just need to finish 2 more major projects first. I like the way you’ve integrated it too, no doubt you can do even more with it, if desired.

  • Talia Resendes

    Hi David,
    I have a couple of questions as we too are trying to get away from Meebo and are thinking of switching to LibraryH3lp.
    1. What did your library use to design the ASK NOW graphic. Photoshop?

    2. In your post you mentioned that the IM Widget would appear as a pop-up. Did/do you have any difficulty dealing with POP-UP Blockers? If yes, how were you able to circumvent that?

    Thank you!
    Talia Resendes
    Johnson & Wales University

  • Talia Resendes

    Hi David,
    I have a couple of questions as we too are trying to get away from Meebo and are thinking of switching to LibraryH3lp.
    1. What did your library use to design the ASK NOW graphic. Photoshop?

    2. In your post you mentioned that the IM Widget would appear as a pop-up. Did/do you have any difficulty dealing with POP-UP Blockers? If yes, how were you able to circumvent that?

    Thank you!
    Talia Resendes
    Johnson & Wales University

  • Talia Resendes

    Hi David,
    I have a couple of questions as we too are trying to get away from Meebo and are thinking of switching to LibraryH3lp.
    1. What did your library use to design the ASK NOW graphic. Photoshop?

    2. In your post you mentioned that the IM Widget would appear as a pop-up. Did/do you have any difficulty dealing with POP-UP Blockers? If yes, how were you able to circumvent that?

    Thank you!
    Talia Resendes
    Johnson & Wales University

  • davidleeking

    Hi Talia – let’s see:

    1. We probably used Photoshop or Illustrator to create the graphic – any graphics program will do.

    2. In-house, no problems – we don’t block pop-ups. Out of the library, it’s up to our patrons to deal with… and so far, I haven’t heard of any patron having problems.

    Hope this helps!

  • davidleeking

    Hi Talia – let’s see:

    1. We probably used Photoshop or Illustrator to create the graphic – any graphics program will do.

    2. In-house, no problems – we don’t block pop-ups. Out of the library, it’s up to our patrons to deal with… and so far, I haven’t heard of any patron having problems.

    Hope this helps!

  • davidleeking

    Hi Talia – let’s see:

    1. We probably used Photoshop or Illustrator to create the graphic – any graphics program will do.

    2. In-house, no problems – we don’t block pop-ups. Out of the library, it’s up to our patrons to deal with… and so far, I haven’t heard of any patron having problems.

    Hope this helps!

  • Pam Sessoms

    Regarding pop-up blockers — these block windows that try to spring forth with no activation from the user. A pop-up chat window like this won’t get blocked that way, because the user clicks on it to summon it forth. :)

  • Pam Sessoms

    Regarding pop-up blockers — these block windows that try to spring forth with no activation from the user. A pop-up chat window like this won’t get blocked that way, because the user clicks on it to summon it forth. :)

  • Pam Sessoms

    Regarding pop-up blockers — these block windows that try to spring forth with no activation from the user. A pop-up chat window like this won’t get blocked that way, because the user clicks on it to summon it forth. :)

  • http://thecorkboard.org/ kyle

    nicely done!
    I have to say the “sorry!” icon is my fav.

    ~k~

  • http://thecorkboard.org/ kyle

    nicely done!
    I have to say the “sorry!” icon is my fav.

    ~k~

  • http://thecorkboard.org kyle

    nicely done!
    I have to say the “sorry!” icon is my fav.

    ~k~

  • http://oregonlibraries.net/ caleb

    David, I’ve heard people say that, based on usability testing patrons who get no results usually just want to search again – they know they’ve entered something wrong or want to try something else. The recommendation that came out of that was to just put a simple icon on every page (so nice work!)

    But I’m curious – are people using the widget on the ‘not found’ page?

  • http://oregonlibraries.net/ caleb

    David, I’ve heard people say that, based on usability testing patrons who get no results usually just want to search again – they know they’ve entered something wrong or want to try something else. The recommendation that came out of that was to just put a simple icon on every page (so nice work!)

    But I’m curious – are people using the widget on the ‘not found’ page?

  • http://oregonlibraries.net caleb

    David, I’ve heard people say that, based on usability testing patrons who get no results usually just want to search again – they know they’ve entered something wrong or want to try something else. The recommendation that came out of that was to just put a simple icon on every page (so nice work!)

    But I’m curious – are people using the widget on the ‘not found’ page?

  • davidleeking

    caleb – yes, they’re using it. I don’t have numbers to show, but our adult services head told me when we first added the meebo widget to the catalog, you could tell by the wording of questions that some were definitely coming from the catalog. Questions about “I can’t find this book,” etc.

    So – yes! Definitely being used.

  • davidleeking

    caleb – yes, they’re using it. I don’t have numbers to show, but our adult services head told me when we first added the meebo widget to the catalog, you could tell by the wording of questions that some were definitely coming from the catalog. Questions about “I can’t find this book,” etc.

    So – yes! Definitely being used.

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  • Brendon Kozlowski

    Well done. I'm looking forward to getting in to the thick of things with LibraryH3lp; I have been for the past 4 months – just need to finish 2 more major projects first. I like the way you've integrated it too, no doubt you can do even more with it, if desired.