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AskAway Proactive Chat Pilot Task Group

*Operational from June - October 2021


The AskAway Advisory Committee approved a proactive chat pilot to investigate the feasability of offering this feature as part of the AskAway collaborative chat reference service. The pilot is an opportunity to understand what types of questions might be asked via proactive chat, assess how anticipated increases to traffic affect the service and current staffing levels, and investigate the technical aspects of this feature.

How it Works

The pilot included up to five participating institutions, acting as the AskAway Proactive Chat Pilot Task Group. Task group members implemented proactive chat widgets at their library. Chats coming into the service via these proactive chat widgets were answered by all service providers staffing AskAway.


The AskAway Advisory Committee mandated the Proactive Chat Pilot Task Group to:

  • Develop a pilot framework and timeline
  • Implement proactive chat widgets at their institutions
  • Gather data to assess the impact of proactive chat on the service
  • Make recommendations to the Advisory Committee based on findings during the pilot phase


The Task Group was comprised of up to five members, and membership aimed for a balance of institution type and geographic location.

Members met frequently and completed tasks from June - October 2021.


Communication among members took place primarily via listserv.


Meetings were held virtually.


The Task Group delivered a recommendation to the AskAway Advisory Committee based on the pilot findings.



Early-June Proactive chat demo with vendor (LibraryH3lp)
June Develop pilot framework and timeline; Implement proactive chat at participating sites
July – mid-August Run proactive chat pilot and gather data
Mid-August – October Analyze proactive chat pilot data and developed final report
November Make recommendation to AskAway Advisory Committee

Final Report

To learn about the pilot findings, see the Proactive Chat Pilot Final Report.

This report includes the pilot process, methodology, the impact of proactive chat, recommendations for interested libraries, and appendices including pilot-wide settings.