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Tripping Over Reference

Tripping Over Reference

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Tripping Over Reference

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  1. Tripping Over Reference The importance of link placement (and other stuff) Bill Pardue (bpardue@ahml.info) ALA 2007—Best Practices in Cooperative VR

  2. 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.

  3. Not just a “QuestionPoint thing” • Promote multiple avenues for reference: • Chat • IM • VOIP (If you have it! We don’t.) • Phone & in-person • But today, we’re talking about AskAway/QP!

  4. 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

  5. December 2006 Stats (more detail) • 136 Total chat sessions • Home Page: 48 referrals • Websites/DBs page: 17 • Kids World: 17 • Catalog: 9 • Contact Us: 7 • 38 sessions from other locations!

  6. Placement tips • 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”

  7. 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 • Placement (homepage): • Low: 5 lower left; 1 lower right; 2 lower center • High: 4 upper left; 5 upper right; 2 upper center • 1 Dead center

  8. Think about your vendors • Your catalog • 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?

  9. FirstSearch admin module • Interface Display > Your Library Settings > Your Library

  10. How it shows up:

  11. Gale Group admin module • Locations/Select your location (like GRC)/Customer Links

  12. How it shows up:

  13. Do you maintain any other sites? • E.G., Community information directories (like NorthStarNet)

  14. Market it as local information • “Ask a question about Arlington Heights” • Don’t necessarily play up the librarian angle as the main point!

  15. Links on other community sites? • Town/village site • 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.

  16. The Downtown Business Association

  17. 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! • For example: • http://tinyurl.com/shasy

  18. 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

  19. Also see Sara Houghton’s presentation: • "Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Public Libraries":http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/onlineoutreach/index.html

  20. 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!

  21. Checking your referrals: Start at the My QuestionPoint page, click on View Service History

  22. Checking referrals, cont’d: • Then click Reports/Form Fields. Select month and uncheck everything but “referrer”. Select “View Excel file,” then “Submit.”

  23. Other stuff • Alliances/Mucking About: • http://www.beepcentral.com • http://www.arlingtonheights.org • VLogs • http://www.ahml.info/vlog/vault.asp • http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=LibVlog