Research Help Pages

The research help page may have a title like “Research Help” or “Ask A Librarian”. These pages summarize patrons’ reference options.

Why should AskAway be included here?

Nearly 50% of all AskAway sessions are initiated from a research help page.  This is where patrons come when they’re actively searching for help. It is an ideal place for patrons to discover AskAway. 

Which type of entry point should I use?

  1. Chat box whenever possible.
  2. Button or tab if chat box is not possible.

Because patrons are using this page specifically to get help with research, the chat box should be offered for an immediate entry into conversation. It can be offered alongside other reference options. 

If design rules prevent the chat box from being included, a well-labeled, eye-catching button should be used instead.

Where on the page should it go?

Placed prominently, above the fold, and separate from any text content on the page. If possible, an AskAway chat box placed to the right of other content allows the library to prioritize the reference venue of its choice, while offering alongside those options an immediate connection via AskAway.

If using a button or text link rather than a chat box, AskAway should be distinct, well- and descriptively-labeled, and feature prominently on the page, again above the fold. With new students arriving frequently, AskAway is a service that always needs to be discovered. Students unfamiliar with the service do not know to look for it. 


UVic Research Help page incorporating a descriptively labeled chat box:

SFU Library Ask a Librarian page incorporating a well-differentiated and labeled button:

Other considerations

If your library offers multiple chat widgets, the AskAway chat box should be located beside the library chat widget, so that it is available to help students when the library widget is not. Unless they know that another widget exists, they will not know to look for it when they see that the usual widget is closed.