This is a heads-up that beginning today (October 15th), you will start to see questions coming in from patrons at Douglas College who are using a new tool called the Qwidget.
What is the Qwidget?
The Qwidget is an IM widget recently rolled out by OCLC QuestionPoint. Essentially it is a mini chat box that can be installed on any library webpage and will allow patrons to ask a question on AskAway from whichever page they are currently on, without having to go look for the AskAway link. Picture a student getting a "no results found" in the library catalogue and being able to immediately ask for help from a librarian from that very same page. The Qwidget is a tool that really extends the reach of AskAway and makes even more concrete our vision of helping patrons “anytime, from anywhere.”
To see a Qwidget in action, check out:
U of California Riverside: <http://library.ucr.edu/>
Cornell librarians use it on their library guides as well as their AskALibrarian page:
How is AskAway using the Qwidget?
As part of a test pilot, Douglas College has placed the Qwidget in the Douglas College Library Catalogue, on the Article Index and Database Page, the Journals at the Library page, and linked from the AskAway Logo on the homepage. These Qwidgets will become visible to patrons beginning today (October 15th). Other institutions may be joining the pilot this fall - we'll let you know when to expect questions from other libraries.
How do I know whether a patron is coming is via a Qwidget or not?
The patron's name will be prefaced by "Widget". Otherwise they will act and appear in the chat monitor exactly the same way as any other AskAway patron.
What do I do with a Qwidget patron?
You can chat with a Qwidget patron in exactly the same way as you would any other AskAway patron. The difference will be that the patron may be asking you questions about the specific page they are on. You can still push pages (send URLs) to the patron; they will show up as links in the patron's chat box and will open up in a new window when the patron clicks on them. Co-browsing is not possible with a Qwidget patron.
How do I get my own Qwidget?
Once we have tested the Qwidget with a few institutions this term, we will launch it more widely in January 2009. If you are interested in trying the Qwidget out on your library website, contact the AskAway Coordinators.
Questions? Let me know!
- BC ELN