Tripping over reference -wi (2007)Presentation Transcript
Tripping Over Reference The importance of link placement (and other stuff) Bill Pardue ( [email_address] ) PR for Virtual Reference—7/24/07
Placement is promotion!
Press releases, handouts, ads, etc. tend to create brief “spikes” in usage.
Proper placement assures that people will find the link to VR when and where they need it!
(This doesn’t mean not to do handouts, ads, etc.!)
Source: Elaina Norlin, “Creating a Purple Cow, VRD 2005.
Not just a “QuestionPoint thing”
Promote multiple avenues for reference:
VOIP (If you have it! We don’t.)
Phone & in-person
But today, we’re talking about AskAway/QP!
Looking at the statistics
Looked at referrer page info from QP
Three months: 458 Sessions
139 sessions from home page & catalog
319 came from everywhere else!
70% of sessions originated from places other than home page & catalog
December 2006 Stats (more detail)
136 Total chat sessions
Home Page: 48 referrals
Websites/DBs page: 17
Kids World: 17
Contact Us: 7
38 sessions from other locations!
Get your link:
As part of the basic page template
“ Above the fold” (test it at 800x600)
Use graphic and brief text
AskAway branding essential, but make sure patron understands what it is! E.G., “Ask a Question Live Online” or “Get Live Online Help”
Current practices (a quick look)
Looked at 20 libraries
Home page link: 19 (why not 20?)
Part of site “template”: 8
Link via catalog: 0
Low: 5 lower left; 1 lower right; 2 lower center
High: 4 upper left; 5 upper right; 2 upper center
1 Dead center
Think about your vendors
Your subscription databases
FirstSearch, Gale, Ebsco, Proquest, Wilson, etc.
Many support “branded” links, which can include VR service. Contact your vendor for details.
We’ve had relatively few sessions from these, but why not catch what you can?
FirstSearch admin module
Interface Display > Your Library Settings > Your Library
How it shows up:
Gale Group admin module
Locations/Select your location (like GRC)/Customer Links
How it shows up:
Do you maintain any other sites?
E.G., Community information directories (like NorthStarNet)
Market it as local information
“ Ask a question about Arlington Heights”
Don’t necessarily play up the librarian angle as the main point!
Links on other community sites?
Chamber of Commerce
Social service agencies
Be ready to answer questions relevant to these sites or to arrange referrals!
There’s a political element to this.
The Downtown Business Association
Look for social sites/blogs!
Not just your own blog
Look for other sites where people might post comments/questions—post answers and give your URL!
Think of anywhere else!
E.G., In the signature of outgoing e-mails to patrons:
--Bill Pardue Ask Us--We Answer! Also contact us via Live Chat or IM!: http://tinyurl.com/toqqb ---------------------- Arlington Heights Memorial Library Information Services Dept., Reference Section 500 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights, IL 60004 847-392-0100
Also see Sara Houghton’s presentation:
"Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Public Libraries": http:// librarianinblack.typepad.com/onlineoutreach/index.html
We’re after the “long tail!”
Most of these won’t contribute large numbers
You’re doing this to increase referrals incrementally.
1 or 2 per month from multiple sources begins to add up!
Checking your referrals: Start at the My QuestionPoint page, click on View Service History
Checking referrals, cont’d:
Then click Reports/Form Fields . Select month and uncheck everything but “referrer”. Select “View Excel file,” then “Submit.”