How do I meet with a Librarian online?

Information and system requirements for online appointments via Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.

Online Research Appointments

Online appointments are held over Google Hangouts or other messaging services. Meeting online is a great alternative if you are unable to come to campus.

student at computer consulting online librarian

About Online Appointments

For online appointments, you will meet with the librarian over Google Hangouts. You can make an appointment through our Ask A Librarian page.  You should have a webcam and microphone set up. If you have never used Google Hangouts, in Gmail go to "Settings" > "Chat" and enable "Voice and video chat."  More on Hangouts system requirements

To join your call with the librarian: 

  1. Please sign into Google Hangouts/Chat at least 5 minutes prior to your appointment.
  2. The librarian will send you an invitation to a Hangout at your scheduled appointment time.
  3. Accept the invitation. 
  4. If you have trouble joining the Hangout, contact your librarian via email or phone and he or she can help you troubleshoot.

Hangouts automatically archives chat transcripts. Read here about turning your Hangouts history off.

If you are unable to use Google Hangouts and would like to meet using a different service such as Skype or WebEx, please contact your librarian.

Connecting with a Librarian

You can also initiate the Google Hangout with the librarian at the time of your online appointment.  Find the email of the reference librarian on the following Subject Specialists page.  If you want to chat with the "on-call" librarian then ask for the name of the "on-call" librarian at the Reference Desk on the first floor of the Paley Library (Telephone: 215-204-8212 Text: 267-415-8925). They have the current schedule. 

  1. Login to your TU email account with your Accessnet ID and password.
  2. In the bottom-left corner, click on the Hangouts icon 
  3. Go to the lower left side of the screen and click on the magnifier, it will open a search box.  
  4. Type in the librarian's email address into the search box.  Then check off their name in the list.
  5. Their name will appear in the "To" box." Now click the Video icon to begin the session.
  6. You will appear in the Chat window. The librarian has been sent an invite to join your chat.
  7. Begin your chat when they appear.

Hints

Toolbar: To view video call options, like muting sound and turning off the video feed during the video call, move your mouse to the top center of the screen.

Apps: To view apps, like sharing your desktop during the video call, move your mouse to the left side of the screen.

If you're using a Chrome browser, you don't need a Hangouts plugin. But you do need to allow Hangouts to access your computer's microphone and camera so that you can start a video call.

If your company uses Google Apps, you may still need to download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin to make video calls using Chrome.

When you try to start a video call for the first time, you'll see a message underneath the address bar asking for permission to access your computer's microphone and camera. Click Allow. You only need to do this once. The Chrome browser will remember your choice for future Hangouts.

The red circle in the address bar of the Chrome browser: This means the browser's tab is using your microphone and camera. It also means that you're in a Hangouts video call without having the plugin downloaded to your computer.

The video camera icon in the address bar of the Chrome browser: This means that you've allowed the website you're on to use your camera and mic, but it may not actually be using it.

If you deny access the first time but want to allow it later, you can change the setting during a video call:

In the video call, go to the address bar in the Chrome browser. Click the camera icon with the X. Click Always allow plus.google.com to access your camera and microphone. Click Done. Click Reload.