PurposeThe purpose of this study is to investigate user reaction to pop-up chat widgets for possible use as a promoter of online reference services in libraries.Design/methodology/approachLibrarians at three different campuses of the Pennsylvania State University interviewed ten students at each campus. Librarians used a script to ask students to respond to various library websites and the potential utility of a pop-up widget. Students also responded to a sample chat widget and were asked to evaluate the timing of its appearance on the page.FindingsAll participants indicated on a timeline their preferred time for a pop-up to appear on a web page. Only 16 % of study participants had used the Ask a Librarian reference service from its current access point as a linked button on the libraries’ web pages. However, 83 percent indicated that they would be more likely to use the Ask service if the widget appeared on the screen.Originality/valueThis research is unique, as there are no other studies in the library literature that explore pop-up chat widgets.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 8, 2016
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