LibAnswers Update this Thursday

Hello, hi, and howdy! We’re rolling out a LibAnswers update this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of a minute or two of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat.

This update is focused on making several important under-the-hood updates, so you won’t see any major changes in the UI, functionality, etc., but you will see exciting opportunities! 😉

Remember last month when we told you about Consortial Shared Systems? You know, the awesomeness that allows you to hook up with other, related LibAnswers v2 systems so you can share queues and chat departments (and where we rolled out the chat functionality piece of the equation)? Yeaaaah. That one. Cool, right?

Well this update brings in the big guns with shared Queues. Yup, not only can you band together to answer all patron chats, you can do the same with submitted questions! Librarians in separate sites can monitor and answer tickets from the same Queue. It’s breathtaking.

Interested in Shared Systems? Just use the handy Support tab on the admin side of your site and write to our crack support team to get your sharing party started!

And remember…there will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers v2 system this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT, but there will be a minute or two of downtime for users logged into chat, so please plan accordingly.

LibGuides Release 2.1.7

New month, new stuff! We’re planning on releasing yet another action-packed LibGuides release this week. Here’s a peek at what’s coming… :)

E-Reserves: Additions! Modifications! Fixes! This release has it all.

Oh E-Reserves…how do we love thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. New E-Reserves form, Article fields.

    The Article fields in the new E-Reserves form.

    E-Reserves Form & Administrative Area: Yup, it’s true…E-Reserves now has a super-duper-awesome form you can post for your faculty and their administrative partners so they can easily send you the info you need to populate your system. The huge, major differences from the v1 form:

    • Options for adding books (including chapters), articles, website, and media with relevant fields for each item type;
    • Option to add another item upon submission, including keeping the user / course info in place (while clearing out the item fields);
    • An “additional info” field where they can add whatever other info you may need;
    • Customizable Copyright / Fair Use Compliance statement checkbox.

    Once the form is submitted, the info is sent straight into the new administrative area (E-Reserves Requests) where you can review, add items right into your system, or deny items. If an item is added, the fields from the submission are copied directly into a new item, so you don’t have to re-type anything!

  2. Editor Level Users as Course Editors: Speaking of faculty…have you ever wanted to allow them to manage their own course, but don’t really want to give them a full account in the system? Well, now you can! The Editor level user can be added as an editor to any course in your system. The course does have to exist before they’re added, but once they’re in they can add / modify items to their heart’s content…but only in the courses where they’ve been granted access.
  3. Copyright Status Management: At the moment, copyright status additions are a bit of a free-for-all. After this release, it’ll be a lot more structured. Define your copyright status list; view/filter a list of all items and their statuses so you can see statuses at a glance; modify an item’s status on that screen.
  4. Courses Page Additions / Improvements: The course name links directly to the manage screen instead of the public page, making it that much faster to manage your course readings. Also, when adding a new Course you have the option to copy an existing course! All info / items will be copied over, then you can modify all the things.
  5. Manage Course Additions / Improvements: Simple changes here, but ones that make things more user-friendly. The course name / number are at the top of the page; new Manage Copyright button brings you to the Copyright Management area, filtered to only show items from that course; visibility dates can be set at both the Folder and Item level; Items indicate on the main course page whether or not they’re hidden from public view.

    Jump to Manage Copyright area from Course page.

    Go directly to Manage Copyright area, filtered for that Course’s items.

  6. Custom Boxes Updates / Fixes: Right now, you can set custom boxes to display, but (due to a bug) they only display on course pages within guides! This update fixes that (they display on the E-Reserves homepage, course pages, and course pages within guides), allows you to choose which standard boxes (Help / Related Guides) appear (if any), and looks/works more like the Look & Feel > Pages > Homepage options, so it should be familiar.
  7. E-Reserves Import: Our import utility has been created, so if you’re joining us from another system, have no fear! After you talk with our sales crew, we can import your existing content using either our JSON schema or CSV template file (along with a way for us to access files to upload). (You’ll download the schema / template from our E-Reserves guide.)

There are more ways we love E-Reserves, for sure, but man, this is a whole lot of awesome right here. :)

Group Modifications (LibGuides CMS)

We did some rearranging and refactoring with the Groups functionality to make things work as they should and clean things up a little.

  • Group Type Name Changes:
    • Restricted with Indexing: This name was a bit confusing, so we changed it to just Restricted. This means the content is technically public and will show up in search results, but you have to either know the password or be in the appropriate IP range (or both!) to access it.
    • Fully Restricted: Again with the confusing name! So now, these groups are called Internal, because that’s their purpose: only folks with accounts can access these groups. They are not accessible unless you are logged in to your system. Think of Internal groups as internal sites where staff can log in and get guides for training, reference, policies, administration, etc. If you are logged in, you’ll see the groups listed on the public side.
  • User Permissions related to Groups: We changed up how group permissions are added; we liked the way LibAnswers v2 handles it, so LibGuides v2 works in a similar way. At the Account level, you can set a user’s permission level for each group in your system; at the Group level, you can set which users have access to the group, and at what level. Admins still have access to everything, but now Regular users can be Admins of a group, have their usual Regular access, have Read-Only access, or have No Access to create guides in that group. Editor level users can be added with their usual Regular access, Read-Only or No Access. Admins: Here’s how things are account level access is going to migrate with this new functionality:
    • Admin level users: Admins have access to everything, as usual.
    • Regular level users:
      • If users had the “Manage Groups” user permission, they will be made an Admin for each group in your system.
      • If users had the “Manage Groups” user permission and Group designations:
        • They will be made an Admin for each Group designated;
        • They will have Regular access for all other groups. (Same as current access.)
      • If users do not have the “Manage Groups” user permission, they will have Regular access for all groups. (Same as current access.)
    • Editor level users: Editors will have Regular access to groups that contain guides where they’re a Guide Editor. This means they’ll have the same access as before.

    After the release, Admins can then go to either the Group Edit screen (User Access tab) or to the Accounts screen and modify any user’s permission to one or more groups.

  • Guides in Internal Groups: If you add a guide to an Internal Group, its behavior will change slightly. The Sharing Restriction is enabled by default; it’s only visible on the public side if someone is logged in; Publication Status does not include Private, as these groups are basically private by default since they are Internal; these guides will not appear in the Public Content XML Export, widgets or API content.Guides in the current Fully Restricted (soon to be Internal) groups will function this way after the update.

Other Additions, Modifications, and Fixes:

  • LTI Improvements: You can now set a default page other than the homepage for the Full LibGuides option; there’s a new option to embed a Single Page from a guide; the Content Box embed has a new option to remove the box header / border.

    LTI Updates: checkbox to hide box header / borders.

    Click to view larger > Sample of embedded box with no header / borders.

  • CSS File Changes: Font color is now #333 (instead of #555) in boxes – it’s a little darker / easier to read; page titles are now a standard 24px (instead of 18px in guides and 36px on all other pages).
  • Additional Page Templates: There are now page templates for the main Subjects (sb.php) & Profile (prf.php) pages.
  • Top level pages with no content now display a sub-page list.

    Sub-page list on empty top level page.

    Pages: Top level pages which have no content, but do have sub-pages, now automatically display a list of sub-pages on the top-level page (in public view), as they did in v1.
    If you have created custom templates and would like to take advantage of this functionality, you need to add a keyword to your templates: {{empty_page_sub_page_list}}
    It should go directly after <div id=”s-lg-guide-main” class=”container s-lib-main s-lib-side-borders”> and before {{content}} (or your custom column HTML).

  • Fixes:
    • “Make this the default design for new guides” radio button is now “sticking” in Groups.
    • Tabbed Boxes: reordering content on a tab other than the 1st tab keeps you on the appropriate tab after saving.
    • Sub-Pages: when previewing a guide, sub-pages are now inheriting the Preview info; in the HTML backup, sub-pages are now linking to the appropriate place within the backup instead of the live guide.
    • iframe widget spacing issues have been fixed, so there are no more errors seen if you embed a box widget within your LibGuides.

LibAnswers 2.4 Update – LibChat Updates and Consortial Shared Systems

LibAnswers 2.4 is coming this weekend! This update will include improvements both large and small. We’re planning to roll this update out at 8:00am EDT this coming Saturday, May 30th. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of several minutes of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat. Read on for more information about this exciting update!

LibChat Operator Screen Update

We’re in full-on spring cleaning mode, and the LibChat Operator Screen is our latest target. The upcoming interface update is a clean, modern dream – check it out:

sopSleek, right? The new design incorporates a lot of frequently requested features, plus some things we cooked up ourselves, including:

  • Redesigned Alerts – We know it can be tricky to scan the page when tons of new chats are coming in, so we’ve updated the look of all incoming notifications and alerts to make the information more scannable and easy to read.
  • Selective Queue Notifications – We expanded the “Receive alerts for incoming LibAnswers tickets” feature – now, you can choose to receive notifications for specific LibAnswers queues.
  • Responsive Improvements – The operator screen has been optimized so it looks great on any device.
  • Better Chat Window Resizing – We’ve improved the resizing capabilities of the chat window in the Operator pane

Consortial Shared Systems

We’re rolling out a brand new option in this update – it’s not as obvious as the LibChat Operator redesign, but trust us, it’s got some extremely exciting implications. :) We’re introducing a new way to connect your LibAnswers v2 system to another v2 system – what we’re calling Shared Systems. Once you’re joined up for sharing, you’ll be able to create chat departments and LibAnswers queues that are shared between the systems, so librarians at either site can claim, answer, and transfer questions back and forth.

There are a ton of potential uses for this new sharing functionality, but a big one is Consortiums, where multiple libraries staff a shared answering service. With this update, librarians in separate LibAnswers systems will be able to monitor and claim chats from a shared chat department, transfer live chats to librarians in other LibAnswers systems, and transfer tickets to Queues in other LibAnswers systems. In our next update, we’ll be adding shared Queue monitoring, so librarians in separate sites can monitor and answer tickets from the same Queue. It’s sharing at it’s finest!

The new Shared Systems feature is pretty awesome in Consortium setups, and it’s even more awesome if your library uses a separate service to staff your chat department in the off-hours. This update makes it super easy to create chat widgets that connect to your local library by default, but if no one from your local library is available, connect to the off-hours service. Best of all, we’ve also updated our statistics (shoutout to the data nerds!), so you can see all the relevant statistical data on shared chat departments, transfers, etc. regardless of which system answered.

If you’re ready to get sharing with another site on the LibAnswers v2 platform, just send an email to our support team to get the sharing party started. :)

Other Updates

  • LibChat API for Online/Offline Status – We’ve heard some rumblings from folks in the tech community that you’d like even more flexibility when it comes to designing your own widgets, so we’ve added a new API for detecting your LibChat service’s online/offline status.
  • Queue-level Macros & Views – We’ve also added more flexibility for queue-level administrators – now, they can create macros and views that apply for all users with access to that queue.

LibGuides 2.1.6 Coming Soon!

We’re bringing you some really exciting updates with v2.1.6, including a new LTI tool, enhancements to E-Reserves, custom column widths in tabbed-nav guides, and a bunch of great fixes. We’re aiming to release this update later this week Thursday, April 30th at 12pm Pacific. There will be no downtime. :)

LibApps LTI Tool for LibGuides CMS

With LibGuides v2, we made it easier to integrate your guides / content anywhere by introducing protocol-less widgets, which work via http and https, and a RESTful API. Now we’re going one step further – this new tool enables embedding of LibGuides CMS content into any LTI-compliant LMS (Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, etc.).

This means you can log into your LMS, add the LibApps LTI tool, and embed away!Choose to embed full guides, specific boxes, and (coming soon) E-Reserves courses.

Want a sneak peek at how it works in Canvas? Check out the video below!

* Some LMSes, like Blackboard, may require that the LMS Admin add the LTI Tool before you’ll be able to use it in your course sites. You’ll need to refer to the LTI instructions for your LMS and your local policies to determine what you’ll need to do to use this tool in your system. Our LTI Tool guide walks you through getting to the configuration information and using the tool once it’s been added. :)

E-Reserves Enhancements

Next on the list of awesome are our enhancements to E-Reserves. This is phase 1 of enhancements – there will be more in the next release, so don’t you worry if the feature you were wishing for isn’t in this list. We have more great stuff on the horizon!

  • Statistics: Get the low down on how many times courses have been accessed and items viewed.
  • Open / Close All Folders: On the public side, use the links at the top to open or close all folders at once.
  • Associating Subjects with Courses: Allow folks to browse courses by subject by associating one or more subjects with the course.
  • Term Dates: We’ve added a date picker to make it easier to select the start and end dates for terms.
  • Delete Summaries: This is just like what we have for assets / boxes / pages / guides – when you’re deleting something from E-Reserves, the delete screen lets you know exactly what will be deleted if you continue with the process.
  • E-Reserves User Permissions (CMS Only): There was a bug with allowing Regular users permission to manage all E-Reserves content. That has been fixed. :)

Custom Column Width in Tabbed-Nav Guides

We added a Custom option (with a slider, since everyone loved that from v1 😉 ) to the column width options for tabbed-nav guides. You still have the option of 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns, but now you can move those sliders around to choose the column sizes you want vs. fitting things in to the default options we provide. The sizing is based on Bootstrap column widths, so it is all percentages, which helps your site be responsive to screen size.

Custom Column Widths

…And More! (Includes bug fixes / layout changes :) )

  • Skip Nav links have been added to all pages for accessibility.

    Template Change Notice

    • If you have (or create) custom page templates, make sure you do not remove the #s-lg-guide-main ID, as that is where the Skip Nav links bring the user to on the page.
    • If you have previously created custom page templates, you must add this keyword directly after the body tag in order for Skip Nav links to work on guides / pages using that template: {{skip_link}}
  • Added missing Language Options labels.
    Try as we might to get everything in one go, when there are 180+ labels to find, it was inevitable that we’d miss some. 😉 Thanks to our customers who made us aware of the missing labels!

    • No guides / groups / subjects / owners available. (When there aren’t any to display on a homepage.)
    • Next / Previous button text in guides.
    • Breadcrumbs:
      • Added one for Home (the homepage title on both system and group homepages)
      • Ensured Subjects, A-Z, etc., breadcrumbs use the page title label as defined in the Language Options area.
  • CSS Change for selected options on the Databases A-Z page.
    Selected items from the subjects, database types, and vendors drop downs will now be highlighted, so:

    • the user has a visual cue that they’re looking at a subset of databases based on a selection in those filters, and
    • the user understands that the filters work together – if you select from more than one drop down, it filters based on both selections; selecting from one drop down does not clear the selection made in the other.

    Thanks to Matt Reidsma for his post about making the change for the GVSU LibGuides site – another great example of system updates inspired by our clients! :)
    CSS change for selected filters on the Databases A-Z page.

  • Consolidation of Page Templates area in Look & Feel
    Whew, with all of the options for page templates in the Look & Feel area, it was making the tabs go into a 2nd row, which is something we always try to avoid. In order to make this list o’ pages (and Look & Feel options 😉 ) easier to use, we consolidated them under one heading. Now you’ll see an option for Page Templates with a dropdown menu where you can select the type: guide, homepage, etc.
    Consolidated Page Layout Template Menu
  • Guide Type List Ordering on the Homepage
    The Guide Type list on the homepage are now ordered properly, by the name of the type.
  • Subjects Breadcrumb Link
    If you had a multi-level friendly URL, the subjects breadcrumb wasn’t pointing to the right place…oops! That’s been fixed. 😉
  • Books from the Catalog ISBN Lookup
    Sometimes there’s no book data to display for an ISBN, but there is a book cover. That should now properly display even if there’s no other book data available. If there’s no Syndetics book cover to display, you’ll see an error message in the Book Cover Art area so you can choose a different option, if you want.
  • Content > Assets > Icons area now uses the same table layout as the other screens, including filtering options.

LibCal v2.2 Update Now Live

We’re super-excited about this LibCal v2 code update. It brings major new functionality to the system as well as several nice-to-haves and bug fixes:

  • 2-Way Sync with Outlook for MyScheduler. With the previous update which covered Google Calendar 2-way sync, we now have full integration with two most widely used enterprise calendar platforms. You can embed MyScheduler widgets on any webpage so that your patrons and faculty can easily schedule research consultations and other appointments with librarians, without concerns of booking apointments during the time your Outlook calendar shows another commitment. LibCal will give you detailed statistics how many appointments you had, when they happened, with whom, etc. – a great way to keep track of your time and show evidence of building one-to-one relationships with patrons and your community.
  • Expanded SAML Authentication Support. With LDAP, CAS, SAML, and Shibboleth support (we’re members of InCommon), you can easily restrict access to room bookings (and events) to only the members of your community. The expanded SAML support  now enables admins to fine-tune permissions for groups i.e. to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.
  • More features: This update also brings improved mobile-view for room bookings pages, more customization options for button widgets, updated page templates for room bookings, etc.

Here’s more detail about each of these…

Outlook Integration with LibCal’s v2 My Scheduler

You can now push your Free/Busy Times from Outlook/Exchange into My Scheduler! This update is similar to the Google Calendar integration we announced last month. Many of you use Outlook for your personal calendaring, and until now, you had to manually remove availability times from My Scheduler whenever a new meeting came up. Duplicate that effort no more!

Configure My Scheduler to check your Outlook Calendar, and your busy times will be removed from the public side when someone books an appointment.


On the Admin side, those busy times are shown to you when you click “Add New Booking”.

For more details & help getting this awesome new feature set up, check out our guide to My Scheduler / Outlook information (authentication required).

We know you’re wondering–what about Calendars and Room Bookings?!  It’s not possible for those to sync automatically from Outlook into LibCal at this time due to the complexity of Events and Bookings, but we will be looking into more possibilities in the future.

Please note that Outlook Calendar Sync and Google Calendar Sync features are not available in LibCal 3/3/3 free installations.

Restrict SAML Users within Room Bookings

We recently announced authentication support for Room Bookings, and the feedback so far has been great! We’re continuing to expand this integration, and have great news for folks who are using SAML to authenticate users. You can now permit access to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.

This is perfect for sites who permit only specific groups of users (like Faculty, Undergraduates, Users) to book specific spaces. Let’s say you have a group of instruction classrooms which should only be reserved by Faculty and Staff, but you also have a group of study rooms that should only be reserved by Undergraduate and Graduate students, this integration will be right up your alley!

Additional Updates

We’ve also added a few additional items in this release, including:

  • Button formatting for both MyScheduler and Room Booking widgets – create a graphic, button-y widget with fully customizable colors and button text
  • Improved Mobile-optimized view for the public Room Booking page
  • Updated Room Booking Email Templates – added a new token for Group Nickname
  • Room Booking Admin View – Now when you add availability for particular date ranges, the calendar display will show those dates in bold font (so you know which days do/don’t have availability added)

As always, thanks to everyone for your ideas and feedback!

Springshare Support Model: We’re Presenting @ Computers in Libraries!

Talia Richards

Talia Richards

Putting UX Into Customer Service: The Springshare Model

When: Tuesday, April 28th from 1:30pm – 2:15pm

Where: B203


Talia Richards, a Springy Librarian, will be presenting on how you can use Springshare’s model for customer service in your library. Drawing inspiration from real-world examples, Richards shares practical tips, strategies, and implementation techniques that illustrate ways in which libraries can better integrate the user experience into their customer service model.

She discusses best practices that have been extracted through successful interactions as well as those that resulted in giant fails. From email and phone calls to Twitter and Facebook, she provides actionable strategies that focus on the customer, customer experience, and a successful outcome for all.

CIL Conference Abstract

Computers in Libraries Logo


Catch a Preview!


Putting UX into Customer Service

Putting UX into Customer Service

LibAnswers 2.3.1 Coming Soon!

LibAnswers 2.3.1 is coming this weekend! This update will include improvements both large and small. We’re planning to roll this update out at 8:00am EDT this coming Saturday, April 18th. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of several minutes of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat. Read on for more information about this exciting update!

New LibAnswers Spam Filters

We’ve been hearing from folks recently that there’s been an uptick in the amount of spam submissions being sent to some LibAnswers sites. No one hates spam more than us, so we’ve introduced a brand new, laser-focused bayesian spam filter to help combat the spammy forces of evil.

This new filter went into effect this week in advance of the update, so hopefully you’re already seeing the benefit of the new spam-fighting filter. To view the effects, check out the Spam tab in your LibAnswers dashboard. Keep an eye on the Spam tab in the coming weeks – the new filter learns from you as you mark tickets as spam/not spam, so the more information it receives, the better it gets!


(And for you folks who haven’t upgraded to LibAnswers v2 yet, rejoice – the new spam filter is active in both LibAnswers v1 and v2!)

LibChat Under-the Hood Update

We’re planning a major update to the under-the-hood technology used to power LibChat. This update will offer a big improvement for sites who occasionally report an incorrect online/offline widget status. These changes won’t be obvious to LibChat operators immediately, but in addition to improving the currently online/offline widget behavior, they’ll also form the base for new improvements and features down the road!

IMPORTANT: Due to this update, the LibChat service will *briefly* go offline for several minutes at 8:00am EDT on Saturday morning. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Updated Question Form Builder

We’re updating our question form builder to use a more graphics-based interface! The new form builder includes several nice to have updates, including:

  • New layout orientations
  • More customizable form sections (each section can include a title and intro text, and sections can be easily reordered)
  • Tracking User Agent & IP info has been segmented into their own fields

Admins, once the update rolls out, head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Question Form to check out the new builder.

Keep an eye out, these new updates will be coming to you this weekend!

Watch ACRL 2015 Guest Presenters, Emilie & Monica, Present on Springy Tools!

Whether you attended ACRL in Portland, or not, you can still watch (and rewatch!) guest presenter’s Emilie Vrbancic and Monica Ruane Rogers speak about their use of Springy Tools.
Emilie Vrbancic

Teaching from LibGuides: Quick Tips for Interactive Learning

Emilie Vrbancic – University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

About (11min 13sec):

Do you create course specific LibGuides for library instruction? Are you looking for ways to incorporate active and collaborative learning into instruction sessions? Let LibGuides help you! This presentation will give you ideas and tips on using LibGuides to incorporate online teaching tools like Google forms and Padlet into instruction sessions in order to engage students in active learning and to assess student learning as it’s happening.

Emilie Presentation Video Screenshot

Video Opens in New Window

Using LibGuides & LibSurveys for Conference Planning

Monica Ruane Rogers – California University

About (14min 8sec):

Monica Ruane RogersAs a member of the planning committee for the State System of Higher Education Library Cooperative Organization Annual Meeting in Harrisburg, PA, I have been charged with the task of creating the registration page for our conference, as well as several pages of evaluations (one of which will be used almost solely on mobile devices). Instead of using a stand-alone forms product for which my institution would have to pay an additional fee, I chose to make both our registration page as well as the evaluations with LibSurveys, to which we already have a subscription. One of the other universities in our system was able to embed my widget into the conference website, hosted on their institution’s LibGuides, thereby allowing for a seamless registration experience for conference attendees. This presentation showcases an inter-library collaboration using an outside-the-research-box use for a LibApps product, and will stimulate you to utilize these products for creative and innovative purposes.

Monica Video Screenshot

Video Opens in New Window

New Base Languages – Brought to you by Springshare

Now that we have Language Options in LibGuides v2 and LibAnswers v2, we felt it was time to kick it up a notch and give you what you’ve been clamoring for all these years.

After agonizing research that took the better part of 7 years and painstaking creation, not to mention incredible bouts of wordsmithing, we’re amped to bring to you: THE BEST BASE SYSTEM LANGUAGES OF 2015! Many, oh so many, words died in the creation of these base languages. But, lest they died in vain –  implement these base languages tout suite!

Never mind languages people actually speak – who wants those? These are way more fun for your users. And you. Okay, mostly you – but don’t you get to have fun too?! All work and no play makes librarians go cray cray. 😉

1. Discworld

In honor of Sir Terry Pratchett, we bring to you the Discworld base language, full of wizards, witches, tyrants, guilds, and of course, the Luggage.

Discworld language option in LibGuides

2. Pig Latin

Eway ewknay ou’dyay ovelay isthay optionway!

Pig Latin language option in LibGuides

3. Vanilla Ice

A surprisingly easy translation – just add ‘Ice Ice, Baby’ to the end of every word. Just remind users to ‘Stop, Collaborate, and Listen’. And in LibAnswers, we have the only tagline you need: ‘If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it!’

Vanilla Ice language option in LibAnswers

4. Princess Bride

We don’t want to live in a world where Princess Bride isn’t a language option – and now, we don’t have to. So put down the Iocane Powder, pardon us while we shout this a little louder, and this time we really mean it, any one got a peanut?

For LibGuides:

Princess Bride language option in LibGuides


For LibAnswers:

Princes Bride language options for LibAnswers

5. Pirate

This base language can serve oh so many purposes. Use it during International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Or on Halloween. Or when you’re feeling like a right ole’ scallywag, add it before that early morning instruction/workshop when you just want to mess with your users.

6. Bacon

You know that saying, “Everything is better with bacon”? At Springshare, we took that phrase literally. And not the new definition of literally, when we say literally – we mean literally. LibAnswers = Great. LibAnswers w/ Bacon = OMGWHUBAML [Oh My Goodness, where have you been all my life!] With Bacon Translation, scatter these salty bits anywhere and everywhere.
Note: For Vegetarians/Vegans we have ‘Tofu Bacon’ at your disposal.

Bacon language option in LibAnswers


P.S. French and Swedish language options are on the way…no foolin’! :)

Outstanding LibGuides v2 Customization – Interview with University of North Florida

If you haven’t had a chance to preview the UNF’s LibGuides customizations, run (don’t walk) your typing fingers over to We chatted with Jeremy Hall, UNF’s Virtual Services Librarian, about their LibGuides customizations, CMS functionality, Springy Tools integration, and the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Okay, we’re kidding about that last one, can you blame us for an homage to Douglas Adams? Onto our interview with Jeremy, one hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is. :)

UNF LibGuides Homepage

UNF LibGuides Homepage


Q. Tell us about your customizations! Shed some techie-light background on what you’ve accomplished.

Most of the customization I’ve done revolves around the LibGuides homepage. I really wanted something that resembled an actual homepage rather than the default LibGuides structure. The CMS used by the university is pretty limited so I’ve put some thought into how we might use LibGuides as kind of a proxy homepage.  It’s going to be a long process but from the beginning the plan was to move as much content as possible from the university system into LibGuides.

I needed to conform to some UNF marketing standards so the header and main menu are very similar to that which is used by the university. It’s built a little bit different but it looks almost identical which is all I needed. Additionally, while we are slowly moving content into LibGuides, not everything resides there yet and some items (catalog, etc.) will never reside in LibGuides so I needed a menu anyway. This particular menu is just a generic bootstrap navbar altered with some CSS.

How we might
use LibGuides as
proxy website

The next important element was integrating our discovery tool which is the core of our business.  We use Ebsco Discovery and their API just doesn’t work with the university CMS so I was very excited to be able to actually use this API to make a nice search box for LibGuides.

Finally, I wanted to integrate as many of our other Springshare products as possible. We use LibCal to dynamically update our hours of operation, to book help sessions with librarians, and just recently, book group study room reservations.  LibAnswers & LibChat widgets were easy to add and help complete the one stop shopping feel I wanted to the LibGuides homepage.

Q. Tell us about your experience with LibGuides v2. How is the new interface and design working for UNF?

I love LibGuides v2!  It’s definitely a huge step up from v1, and really solid right out of the box.  Obviously, to get the most out of it takes some customization but I think you can take it as is and still have a really good site.

Our librarians are pretty happy as the new system is easier to work with for a variety of reasons. The admin side is much better organized and the guide creation process more streamlined.  The ability to edit custom templates has allowed me to customize our templates to include all the required pieces we want in our guides and allow Librarians to work on guide content instead of structure.  A key element for me is the new publishing workflow [LibGuides CMS Only].  Librarians spend time on content generation and can then send the guides to me to adjust structure or implement any special customizations they may have requested.

FSU LibAnswers & LibCal Integration

FSU LibAnswers & LibCal Integration

Q. You’re using LibAnswers and LibCal and you’ve done a beautiful job adding them to your LibGuides CMS homepage. Tell us more!

Well, for starters, Springshare products all tend to be fairly easy to use and inexpensive. Budgets are tight so we appreciate all the bang for our buck. We also have a wide range of technical skills in the library so it’s nice to have a collection of tools that just about anyone can be taught to use.

We’ve pretty much gone all in with every Springshare product we’ve purchased and thrown widgets everywhere.  It’s too soon with the new page to see if it bumps our usage numbers but LibChat and LibAnswers have been popular since they were acquired. Texting in particular has grown quite a bit over the last year or so.

 Q. Tell us more about your LibAnswers growth!

UNF's LibAnswers
LibAnswers growth has been a combination of a few things including homepage placement, emphasis in instruction, and  emphasizing with staff.  We also embedded LibAnswers widgets in our LMS and into the main student portal where they view grades etc.

As for the texting, I think it’s a combination of the above reasons and just the general acceptance of texting as a means of communication. It’s not uncommon for us to have students text us from within the library to make noise complaints and items of that nature.

 Q. Any tips to share with our LibGuides users?

Obviously you need to be pretty familiar with HTML & CSS but I would highly recommend that anyone interested in doing a lot of customizations should spend some quality time learning about Bootstrap.  There’s so much functionality built into bootstrap that is now part of LibGuides that you can do virtually anything!

Thanks for the chat Jeremy! Keep on doing stellar work with your LibGuides CMS system and remember the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42!