6 Quick Tips For Chat Reference Success:
Best Practices for Linking To Ask Here PA

Increase the visibility and the accessibility of chat reference from your website by employing the best practices recommended below for linking to Ask Here PA:

1. Provide a logo and/or text link to Ask Here PA on the homepage of the website.

It’s best to provide a logo to Ask Here PA from every page of the website.

Ask Here PA logo options with easy copy and paste code are available from: http://www.askherepa.org/ll.htm

Ask Here PA - Live Answers to Your Questions, 24/7        Ask Here PA - Live Answers to Your Questions, 24/7

2. Include a link to Ask Here PA that is accessible from the library’s catalog.

Users often have a need for live chat assistance while searching the catalog.

For an example, please see the Schlow Centre Region Library use of the Ask Here PA widget with their online catalog. The chat widget is available when a “no results” search is performed on their catalog. To check it out, go to http://www.schlowlibrary.org/ and perform a catalog search that will provide no results. (There is a catalog search available from the upper right of
the main page.)

Here are several other examples of integrating Ask Here PA into the library catalog:

Delaware County Community College
The link to Ask Here PA is available on the main search page and if the patron gets no results in their search the icon also appears.  Check out their new catalog at: https://catalog.dccc.edu/

Bethlehem Area Public Library
Bethlehem Area Public Library makes the Ask Here PA connect button available from their online catalog at all times.  On the opening catalog page: http://webpac.lvlspa.org/search~S13
Or click on any of the searches in the right-hand column - keyword, author, title, etc and the link will show up there too.

3. Provide a logo and/or text link to Ask Here PA on every page of the website.

This is most commonly accomplished by building links to Ask Here PA into the website’s navigation bar. Navigation bars are most likely to appear on every page of a website and will provide users with fast and easy access to the Ask Here PA website.

For example, see the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh website. They have the “Chat” link built
into the upper right site navigation. http://www.carnegielibrary.org/

4. Make the Ask Here PA website accessible in 1 click of the mouse from the library’s website. Ideally, place links to Ask Here PA on the top of each webpage.

Users who do not have to search through multiple webpages to find a link to Ask Here PA
are more likely to get the instant help they are seeking. Similarly, users do not like to scroll through webpages to find links, therefore, it’s suggested that links to Ask Here PA be placed toward the top of all webpages.

5. Provide a link to Ask Here PA from the “Ask Us” or “Ask a Librarian” page if
one already exists.

Usage statistics show that users are likely to link to Ask Here PA from the webpages which provide a comprehensive list of reference services offered by that library.

For examples, please see the Free Library of Philadelphia and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh websites. The Free Library of Philadelphia ‘Ask’ page is available at http://libwww.freelibrary.org/faq/aska.cfm and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh ‘Ask’ page
is available at http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/ask/.

6. Give a brief description of the service offered by Ask Here PA.

Many patrons learn about Ask Here PA from the libraries which provide links to Ask Here PA services.  Websites which provide a link to Ask Here PA, but don’t give a quick description of the service, are losing possible referrals since patrons will better understand what is that Ask Here PA offers. Using simple keywords or phrases will increase the likelihood of patrons clicking on links which take them to the Ask Here PA website.  Here are some sample phrases:

  • Get Research Help, 24/7!
  • Need Answers? Try our free online reference service
  • Free online chat service provided by Pennsylvania librarians
  • 24/7 Librarian
  • Live chat help now