Web updates: Ask a Librarian and more

By Binky Lush, manager, Discovery, Access and Web Services

On Tuesday, August 20, the CMS Development Team and the Online Reference Team will be making the following changes to the web site:

Ask A Librarian
The new online reference service will be called “Ask a Librarian.”

  1. Chat widget
    The widget will appear on every page within the CMS as a tab or button on the right hand side of the page that will say “Ask a Librarian”. When the Ask a Librarian tab or button on any page is clicked, it will bring up a pop up chat box. If no one is online to chat, the box will have a message that suggests the patron send their question via email or can try to chat later. CMS authors will be able to modify chat widgets to make them department/library specific. All chat widgets will look the same to patrons but they can be modified to tell the librarian which page the incoming question originated from.
  2. Navigation
    Usability studies have shown that there is user confusion between the terms Ask and Help. In order to alleviate that confusion with the new service being named “Ask a Librarian”, we will be renaming Help to Ask. In the global navigation at the top of every page, the last link will now be called Ask, rather than Help. On the home page, the last column at the bottom will be renamed “Ask a Librarian” – the links below this will change to reflect this heading change.
  3. Help Page
    The current help page (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/help.html) will now be called Ask, and will contain an embedded chat widget, and other ways for our patrons to contact us, as well as a link to the FAQs. This page can also be accessed through http://ask.libraries.psu.edu.
  4. Footer
    Because we will no longer be using the old ask service for reference questions, we will remove the “Research Help” link from the footer of every page.
  5. Library Help
    When the service goes live, we will remove all Library H3lp chat widgets from the system.

Web Site Refresh
The Libraries site is getting an updated look! With some slight color changes and some changes to our fonts and styles, we are “refreshing” the Libraries web site to make it a bit more contemporary, without making any content changes at all. This is part of the effort of the Libraries Web Stakeholders Group and the CMS Development Team to make ongoing and continual enhancements to the site, while ensuring our users are not confronted with any drastic or confusing changes.

Research Guides Search
The Research Guides Search will appear on the Research Guides page and will allow our users to more effectively search for Research Guides. Results will display in a sortable table, making the guides and the subject specialists much more discoverable.

We are excited to bringing you these new web site updates and we welcome your questions and comments!

The CMS Development Team and the Online Reference Team