Accept a chat request from a patron

Use Settings to control the alerts for new chat requests

See Settings (Chat) for information about controlling the notifications that you receive in chat.

Sort columns of information in the chat monitor as needed

Much information in the chat monitor is displayed in tables containing multiple columns. Click a column heading to sort a table by the information in the column. Click the heading again to reverse the sort. An arrow at the right side of the column heading shows the direction of the sort.

When will I see an incoming chat request?

For approximately 40 seconds, the patron's request is available for pickup only by librarians monitoring the patron's primary queue. Then, it also becomes available for pickup by librarians monitoring queues for any assisting cooperatives.

Note: The 24/7 Reference Cooperative's best practices document contains guidelines about accepting requests for the Cooperaives. After 40 seconds, the sessions become visible to other Cooperative members of your group. After two minutes, a Back-up librarian may pick it up.

Preview the question and patron information before you accept a request

New chat requests are listed under the New tab:

  • The number in the Time column indicates the number of seconds that the patron has been waiting for a librarian to accept the request. The number is updated approximately every 10 seconds.

Position your mouse pointer over a new chat request (but do not click on the request) to display the Question Preview. The preview contains:

  • "Qwidget" before the question if the patron is using the Qwidget.
    Note: Your library may or may not require an e-mail address in the Qwidget in order to chat with a librarian. If it is required, it appears in the preview, QuestionPoint sends a transcript to the address at the end of the session, and the address will be available for followup in the record of the chat in the Ask module. If an e-mail address is not required, it does not appear in the preview. The patron may provide it to receive a transcript. If the patron provides it and chooses not to remain anonymous, the address will be available for followup in the Ask module.
  • "Cobrowse: Yes" or "Cobrowse: No" to indicate whether or not the patron's computer meets the requirements for co-browsing. (Patrons who use the Qwidget cannot co-browse.)
  • Other information about the patron collected from fields on the chat form and from the patron's browser and operating system.

Procedure to accept a chat request

To accept a chat request:

  1. Click on a request in the list under the New tab.
  2. After the patron information loads, send a script or message to the patron.

While you chat with a patron, you can view (under the Info tab) all the information about the patron that was included in the Question Preview.

When the patron is typing, "is typing" appears following the patron's name above the transcript in the chat monitor and "!" appears at the beginning of the chat session in the list under the My Active tab.

What a patron sees

Chat form

When a patron submits a request for a chat session through a chat form, the patron chat window opens:

  • The Viewport (page viewing area) appears on the right. (No Viewport appears if the patron is using the Chat-only form.)
  • On the left, a greeting appears with the patron's name and e-mail address (if the patron provided them on the chat request form.)
  • The following Thank You message appears below the greeting: "Thank you for your question. There may be a brief delay while we connect you to a librarian. While you wait, can you provide any more information about your question..."
  • The transcript appears below the message.
  • At the bottom, a text box is provided for entering messages. A Send button appears to the right of the text box.
  • The following links appear below the text box: Preferences (message chime and display settings), Help, and Exit Chat.

The patron can send a message while waiting for a librarian to join the session. Any patron message is added to the transcript.

When a librarian joins the session:

  • The Thank You message is removed.
  • A message is added to the transcript to indicate that a librarian joined the session.


For information about what the patron sees when using the Qwidget, see the Patron help topic for the Qwidget.

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