Using LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards for Team-Building

At the Linscheid Library at East Central University, it all started with a mentoring program. In 2017, during a mentoring relationship with a new technical services librarian, Patrick Baumann and his mentee discussed the different personality types of their librarians and how, if different personalities joined together, it could really enhance the Library’s team.

“If we fit different personalities together, it could work better as a team. We could develop our team of librarians by figuring out what our personalities are and using that to work with each other and to discover things about ourself and the people we work with. This would help us to figure out who would fit best together for projects.”

Patrick teamed up with librarian Marla Lobley to take this idea to the next level. By the beginning of 2018, Marla and Patrick started their StrengthsFinder Project. Using Tom Rath’s 2007 StrengthsFinder 2.0 book as the basis for their project, Marla and Patrick went beyond the typical personality tests to actually uncover each individual’s top strengths. StrengthsFinder starts with 16 personalities and then gives you exercises for your top strengths as well as exercises for team-building.

Lastly, it focuses on the positive. You’re talking about your strengths and not your weaknesses. Because we all think about our weaknesses and what you’re not good at. This focuses on your strengths and positive things.

Once they had the project in place, they needed a tool to carry it out. Rather than relying on email, Marla remembered that their LibGuides CMS tool has internal Discussion Board functionality. So librarians could log in to a tool they’re already familiar and comfortable with, and know that this internal project would remain just that… internal and not visible to the public.

Their first LibGuides CMS Discussion Board thread was a calendar, a method for librarians to keep on track of the project.

 

Each librarian performed a strengths assessment, reported on their strengths, and then focused on their top-five strengths. Each librarian then created an action plan to focus/enhance those strengths and share their strengths with everyone else.

For sharing their strengths, and to get feedback, each librarian created a Discussion Post highlighting their top five strengths. Colleagues would then reply to each librarian’s thread with their personal feedback.

Our colleagues would reply to each thread and say, “I can see this strength in you such  and such project. You use that strength, and I’ve seen it.” That gave us some positive feedback.

 

Having this as discussion board threads, it was easy to manage and navigate….especially when you have 23+ replies.

Additionally, the team made use of a neat Discussion Boards feature:

With each thread reply, you can mark things as helpful which is almost like ‘Liking’ in Facebook. Which is kinda cool. If someone replied with a comment that you liked, you can mark it as helpful. It made it fun in addition to useful.

Overall, Patrick and Marla consider the project a success. It focused on the positive, each librarian’s strengths, and it helped each person to better understand their coworkers. Plus, their library director found it helpful to learn about each of the librarians and how best to work with them.

In terms of using the LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards for this project, it went really smoothly. It’s pretty straight-forward. And it’s about how you can be creative in using a tool through Springshare. It was a worthwhile project, and I’m glad we did it. And the [LibGuides CMS] Discussion Boards really helped us to carry it through.

If you’re planning on doing a similar project, Patrick and Marla have some helpful suggestions from their lessons learned.

  • If you’re planning on using a book as the basis for your project, be sure to get everyone copies of the book.
  • Make a plan/calendar and keep on task.
  • Remember, people go at their own pace, so remain flexible to give people time to process and schedule time for open discussions.
  • Be prepared to give and receive honest feedback.
  • Be up front with what you’re doing.
  • And if you’re using LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards, remember to set notifications for each thread.
    • Note: If you’re not getting notifications, check with your IT department about whitelisting LibGuides CMS emails.

Navigate to our Facebook Page to view Patrick’s 15 minute presentation from ALA-Midwinter 2019. You don’t need a Facebook account to access the video, but if you do – take a minute and Like our Facebook Page so you won’t miss cool content like this in the future (be sure to set your notifications for @springshare to ‘On’ so our posts show in your Facebook activity stream). Download Patrick’s slides from our ALA-Midwinter Recap Guide, and check out some of the other presenters to boot!

ALA Midwinter 2019 Guest Presentations Now Available Online

If you missed the 2019 ALA Midwinter in Seattle, you not only missed beautiful weather (it was actually sunny, no rain, every single day!) but also our amazing line-up of guest speakers. But have no fear and put away that sad trombone music, because we have something great in store for you!

Watch all guest presentations and download presenter materials on our ALA Midwinter 2019 Guest Presentations Buzz Guide. Huzzah! Cue happy trombone music!

But, that’s not all. We also have recordings of three Springy Trainer-led sessions that we did at ALA Midwinter as well! From Springy Carrie presenting on the brand-new Screensharing functionality in LibAnswers to Springy Michelle highlighting the new LibStaffer Workflow forms, these are awesome (and short!) videos to consume.

While you’re there, you might notice that all videos are hosted on our Facebook Page*. That’s because we use Facebook Live to stream these guest presentations… 100% live. So please bear with us if they’re not 100% polished and sparkling, the beauty of live video streaming is that we’re all on this journey together – and the hiccups are what make it interesting. And hey, while you’re looking at this videos on our Facebook page …why not take a minute and LIKE our page? This way, the next time we stream amazing guest speakers, you won’t miss out on seeing them. And remember, if you want to receive notifications in your Facebook Feed, you’ll also need to adjust your notifications to ON. This way, you won’t miss out on product updates, video presentations, Facebook Live streaming, and more.

These 15-minute guest presentations by Springshare users will get you thinking about the new and interesting ways you can use your Springshare tools.

Guest Presentations

(times vary between 17min – 12min in length)

Fort Vancouver Regional Library: LibAnswers Queues and FAQs in a Public Library Setting

While LibAnswers can be used to answer patron questions, the sky is really the limit in how you use it to manage patron communication. Learn how Fort Vancouver Regional Library customized queues for Reading Suggestions, Proctoring, and Technology Assistance services, and see how they use FAQs to proactively address trends in patron questions.

East Central University: Strength-Share: How the Linscheid Library Used Springshare’s Discussion Board for Librarian Team-Building

The librarians at East Central University underwent a project in 2018 to improve employee communication and relationships. Watch Patrick Baumann present on the project origins and more. Learn creative ways to use Springshare products to improve their work environment.

Troy University – The Library Has That?: Using LibGuides to Promote Library Services.

The Troy University Librarians provide services to students, staff, and faculty at four Alabama campuses and around the world. LibGuides were used to provide a centralized point of reference to answer recurring questions. Watch librarians Kelly Wilson and Rachel Hooper as they discuss these guides and how they have impacted their librarians and services to their patrons.

Texas Tech University: Using LibGuides Across Subjects: A Science Librarian Perspective

Science Librarian Jessica Simpson discusses how she’s customized guides to meet the needs of students across disciplines. Watch and take away great tips for making your guides more useful.

Springshare Trainer-Led Sessions

(sessions are no longer than 10min in duration)

*Note: You do not need a Facebook account to watch our videos, simply ignore the login/sign-up information and proceed.

Get Creative. Let Your LibGuides Imagination Run Wild.

LibGuides Is Your Efficient & Effective Multi-Tool.

While the cake pop maker you got as a gift sits in your pantry with many other one-purpose small appliances, you probably think about regifting it at least four times a year. You already know that LibGuides can help you build subject guides, course-specific guides, guides you use to outline your orientation sessions and — for public libraries — guides for everything from Taxes to Genealogy to Job Searching and beyond.

LibGuides is so flexible because we didn’t design it to do those things. We designed it to communicate. LibGuides can also be your megaphone, your bulletin board, your invitation, and your checklist. It can be your newsletter, your blog, your virtual book club… you see where we’re going with this. It can be your go-to way of starting any conversation with your multiple audiences and — while you’re at it — it is a scrapbook of all the cool things you’re doing and sharing! If you have LibGuides CMS, it can be your intranet, your sandbox and more! Check out some really great ways people are using LibGuides to say — anything.

Keep Everyone In The Loop.

LibGuides are easy to build and, just as important, they’re easy to keep updated. They’re a perfect fit for building guides that are important to everyone. The University of South Carolina Upstate Library turned to LibGuides to keep everyone updated on the Library renovations. They designed a visually striking image and put it in the top box that spans the columns. They included images and have a tabbed box they’re using as a monthly blog to detail progress and share timelines. They’ve even got a top-level tab that contains Conceptual Drawings and Plans. It’s a stellar example of keeping their community engaged and in the loop.

 

Conferences, Vendor Days, Annual Meetings and Events. Check!

Organizing a big event takes creativity, organization, attention to detail… and then you have to market it and make sure your audience has all the pertinent details. If you’re a frequent attendee, you know how helpful a good event site can be. The West Virginia University Law Library built a guide for the SEAALL Annual Meeting. It features side-navigation tabs that share information about

  • Registration
  • The Schedule
  • Accommodations
  • Networking activities and more.

The best part? Since they also have LibWizard, if they wanted to get feedback, they could add a survey to the guide and ask attendees to fill it out after the event.

Publicize a Contest.

Bulletin boards are great… if you’re looking for a drummer. But if you need to share more information, you should head to LibGuides. The B.D. Owens Library at Northwest Missouri State University is asking for submissions of a paper or project for their Undergraduate Library Research Awards. They have conveyed the deadline, listed the prizes, shared the date and time for the ceremony. Plus, they utilized the tabs to define the eligibility, the criteria and even have a section noting previous winners. LibGuides is designed with promotion in mind. During the publication stage, they can share this guide via Twitter and Facebook. Plus, friendly URLs are great for sharing the link. When you want to get the word out — but there are definitely more than two words, (i.e. “roommate needed!”) we’ve got you covered.

Foster A Sense of Community with a Book Club.

Libraries are using the Blogging feature in LibGuides to announce exciting additions to the collection, to introduce a new member of the team, to share a new service being offered, and — in the case of Boston Children’s Hospital — to post information about their Book Group. People can subscribe to the blog. They can view recent posts and even check out the archive. Engagement is encouraged with integrated commenting. Behind the scenes, the bloggers can manage subscribers, create a blog widget and, to really up the broadcast game, they can easily share a published blog on social media.

Possible Future Projects

If you want to nurture your creativity in 2019, we’re here to encourage more limitless thinking. We’ve got excellent videos on-hand for you to peruse and new live sessions to keep you discovering (sign-up to get Training email alerts!).

ALA Mid-Winter, Coffees & Books… Springshare is Seattle Bound!

How excited are we?! Any day of the year, Seattle is a dream destination. It has a lovely skyline, is home to bookstore after bookstore filled with new, used & collectible books gathered in super charming shops. Coffee is at the top of the food pyramid. All that spells, let’s do this. But, add to that — an invasion of Librarians upon the city, January 25-29, and our Springys will wake up extra early to fight you for the window seat!

While you’re at ALA Mid-Winter, come see us in Booth #1004. Although we won’t be throwing any giant fresh fish at you, you can catch our incredible presentation lineup!

For those of you who are home minding the library. Stay tuned! We’ll be live streaming some of these amazing sessions. Head over to our Springshare Facebook Page at the scheduled local Seattle time and you’ll be right there with us. You can even ask questions in the comments area. We’ll make sure the speaker sees them so you can get answers.

Training Tidbits

LibStaffer Workflows Forms: handle all your job applications, hiring, and scheduling in one tool!

LibChat: “Let me show you how…” Screensharing in Real Time

Payment Required: Using the Billing and Payments with LibCal for Events & Spaces

LibCRM: A CRM for Outreach & Liaison Librarians

Access Denied! Using LibAuth to restrict LibGuides CMS

Best Practices for Images in LibGuides

LibGuides Gallery Boxes

Guest Presentations

Troy University – The Library Has That?: Using LibGuides to Promote Library Services.

  • Saturday – 10:00am to 10:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

The Troy University Librarians provide services to students, staff, and faculty at four Alabama campuses and around the world. LibGuides were used to provide a centralized point of reference to answer recurring questions. Join Elizabeth Dill, Kelly Wilson and Rachel Hooper as they discuss these guides and how they have impacted their librarians and services to their patrons.

East Central University: Strength-Share: How the Linscheid Library Used Springshare’s Discussion Board for Librarian Team-building

  • Sunday – 10:00am to 10:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

The librarians at East Central University underwent a project in 2018 to improve employee communication and relationships. Join Patrick Baumann to learn about the project origins and more. Attendees can expect to take away creative ways to use Springshare products to improve their work environment.

Texas Tech University: Using LibGuides Across Subjects: A Science Librarian Perspective

  • Sunday – 12:30pm to 12:45pm Streaming Live on Facebook

Jessica Simpson will discuss how she’s customized guides to meet the needs of students across disciplines. Attendees can expect to take away great tips for making their guides more useful.

Fort Vancouver Regional Library: LibAnswers Queues and FAQs in a Public Library Setting

  • Monday – 11:00am to 11:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

While LibAnswers can be used to answer patron questions, the sky is really the limit in how you use it to manage patron communication. Learn how Fort Vancouver Regional Library customized queues for Reading Suggestions, Proctoring, and Technology Assistance services, and see how they use FAQs to proactively address trends in patron questions.

 

Insights into LibInsight: The LibInsight Experience at two University Libraries

Data-driven decisions. Actionable Insight. Multi-variable Analytics. Dashboard Reporting. You hear these buzzwords anywhere and everywhere these days, and libraries are no exception. Gone are the days of tick sheets and anecdotal evidence.

Libraries need robust data gathering and data analysis tools to help them make everything they do… better, more effective, more engaging, more user-focused. That’s why we developed LibInsight – we want every library to have an affordable, easy to use data-gathering and analysis platform so that all these buzzwords become part of the regular library workflow.

Springshare sat down with two libraries to learn how they’re using LibInsight at their institutions to successfully streamline data workflows – City, University of London and the University of Pittsburgh.

City, University of London Libraries

by Derek Mackenzie, Head of User Services


Capture Data with LibInsight
We use LibInsight to record enquiry data at all our library help desks, as well as recording and analyzing data from other systems, e.g. circulation data, user access data (through our library swipe access points). The analytics element in particular has been useful in pulling out statistics and trends to highlight in reports – for example in papers for University committees, or data we share with staff to help review what we’ve been doing.

We’ve also introduced library school students at City to the delights of LibInsight – I’ve given a workshop session to the Masters students over the last couple of years to look at library data and analytics. I’ve used the datasets to give them an insight into how we can extract meaningful stats quickly and put together a dashboard with some questions for them to consider around trends in library use (visits, loans, enquiries) over recent years.

Enhance ILS Reporting Capabilities

We import checkout and hold transactions from our library system into LibInsight circulation datasets, as our library system allows only limited analysis of statistical data. We recently used the holds dataset to identify the most requested books in different subject areas so that we can try and source ebook alternatives as part of a project to make required readings as widely available as possible to students.

Dashboards Show the Library’s Progress

We’ve packaged some of the key library activity data into a LibInsight dashboard. This shows enquiries (in-person and online), items borrowed, usage of our online reading list and digital repositories among other measures of library activity.

We’re planning to present this to the Library Committee (which consists of senior academic staff from all the Schools at City, other Professional Services staff and Students Union representatives) ahead of their twice-yearly meetings to help give them an easily digestible snapshot of what’s been happening around the library service. It’s also intended to be a resource for our library staff to dip into and keep up to date.


University of Pittsburgh Libraries

by Berenika Webster, Director of Assessment and Quality Assurance

At the ULS, we have 20 “active” LibInsight datasets that are classified into three categories:

  • Standard ongoing data collection for reporting and administrative decision-making (e.g. instruction and outreach, gate counts, Counter, etc.).
  • Ad hoc data collection for time-limited projects (e.g. use of print journals in main and dept. libraries, head counts on our newly renovated floor, etc.).
  • APIs from other Springshare products (e.g. LibGuides and LibCal) and Google Analytics for automated pull of external data; mainly to feed a LibInsight public-facing dashboard and to embed these into various ULS websites as appropriate.

LibInsight provided us with a first step to start collecting library data into one place and allowing quick reports to all registered users.  For instance, Liaison and Instruction Librarians can produce evidence of their activities for annual reviews; service heads can see patterns of use of their services to adjust staffing levels, and COUNTER reports are used when considering adjustments in journal subscriptions. Because we need deeper visualization of our data, we appreciate LibInsight’s ability to export our data into Tableau.
We look forward to an opportunity when/if LibInsight will talk to Tableau directly!


Learn More: Live Training, Videos, & Recent Updates

 

Top 10 Springshare Blog Posts of 2018

2019 is upon us and everyone loves a recap post.

We wrote 58 blog posts in 2018 (phew, our fingers are tired!) showcasing awesome new functionality in Springy Tools, guest presentations, SpringyCamp conferences, and so much more.

So join us as we look back and highlight our top ten blog posts of last year.

hacker1. Security & Protection of your Springy Sites

January 25, 2018

If cloud-computing had a theme in 2018, it would’ve been HTTPS. In this blog post, we announced new functionality to route all patron traffic in Springy tools (LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, etc.) through HTTPS. Plus, we added integration with Let’s Encrypt to provide completely free HTTPS security certificates for all your Springy v2 tools. Talk about starting 2018 off with a bang!

2. LibCal/LibStaffer Integration

March 14, 2018

Don’t you just love it when your tools seamlessly work together? We do, too. That’s why we added two-way integration between LibCal (your calendaring tool) and LibStaffer (your staffing/scheduling tool).

In LibCal, if you have a confirmed Scheduler Appointment – you can’t be booked for a LibStaffer shift and vice versa. 2018 – the year you stopped accidentally double-booking yourself. Huzzah!

3. GDPR Compliance & Our New Mailing List

April 25, 2018

In preparation for the GDPR’s enforcement on May 25, 2018, we released tons of features to help ensure your compliance. And, if you think, “Hey, our institution doesn’t reside in the EU, so this doesn’t apply to us.” Think again. If you service even a single EU citizen, no matter where in the world that EU citizen resides, the GDPR applies to you. And, while we were on the subject of privacy, we revamped our email list. So, if you want receive our Springshare newsletter, new product releases, training webinars, and SpringyCamp announcements – you need to explicitly opt-in here.

4. LibTote and LibTote Platinum

April 1, 2018

I mean, who doesn’t love a good April Fool’s joke?! This blog post was dedicated to our fake product launch – LibTote and LibTote Platinum. Smart Tote technology you can take with you, to help you take other things. Why? Well, because there are two kinds of Librarians in the world… and they both love Tote bags. If you need a chuckle, take a minute (or two!) and revisit this blog post and dream of a world where your Tote bag has Blue’tote functionality, smart expansion, and robust usage stats.
Sigh – if only we lived in such a world. 

5. New LibChat Operator Interface

June 28, 2018

LibAnswers with LibChat saw a ton of updates last year. But we kicked it off with a blog post announcing an entirely new LibChat operator console designed to help you manage loads of patron chats more efficiently and chat internally with colleagues as easily as possible. But, this was just the tip of the new features iceberg. We, later, announced more chat improvements, ideas for discovery layer integration, and our screensharing & webinar functionality (coming January 2019).

6. SpringyCamp Summer Series

July 31, 2018

In case you missed it, SpringyCamp is our virtual user conference (completely free!) where Springy users share how they’re using their Springshare tools at their institutions to attendees who watch from around the world. Literally, we have people who get up at 3am their time to join! Our 2018 Summer Series featured three virtual conferences, June, July, and August, with some amazing presenters and showstopping presentations. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the first time around, no worries – watch a recording any time.

7. SUSHI Fetching in LibInsight

July 3, 2018

LibInsight is your data storage and analysis powerhouse – and it got even more powerhouse’y last July. We rolled out automated fetching for your SUSHI compliant E-Journals, Databases, and eBooks datasets. Simply connect LibInsight to your database vendors and your e-resource usage data will automatically port into LibInsight for easy analysis.

8. Essential LibGuides You Need

September 17, 2018

We’ve seen our fair share of excellent LibGuides. This blog post details the guides you should have and ones you didn’t even know you needed! If you’re looking for LibGuides inspiration from other libraries, don’t miss this list highlighting just some of our favorite essential LibGuides. And, if you’re looking to build some LibGuides on current events, don’t miss this blog post either!

9. LibStaffer Workflow Forms

October 11, 2018

We released a really big feature for LibStaffer at the end of last year that helps you streamline the way your library processes various staffing-related forms. LibStaffer Workflow Forms enables you to create customized online forms that facilitate the entire life cycle – after the form is submitted. This includes automated email notifications, full audit trails, and the ability to view the entire workflow/history for each form submission. Looking for ways to use LibStaffer Workflow Forms? Check out this blog post highlighting 5 Ways to Use Workflow Forms.

10. New Australia / Asia-Pacific Datacenter

December 10, 2018

When you start a year with a bang it has to end with one too, by announcing announcing a dedicated data center for our Australia, New Zealand, and Asia-Pacific customers. In early 2019, we’ll automatically move all customers located in the Asia-Pacific region to this dedicated server cluster. This new data center is our 3rd cluster, with dedicated geographical servers, alongside our Canadian and European clusters. These dedicated data centers help ensure that your institution is in compliance with local laws regarding transmission of patron data in/out of the United States.

 

LibApps release with new LibAuth, LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, and LibStaffer Features

Wow, do we have a ton of end of year updates to share with you – we have new LibAuth, LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, and LibStaffer features to share! This time we’re doing something different with the announcement – rather than spreading out the announcements in multiple blog posts (one per product) we’ll outline them all here, in a single post.

These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Wednesday December 19th.

LibAuth & LibApps

LibAuth now supports SSO logins via OAuth2 and Sirsi Symphony. If your SSO supports the OAuth2 protocol, or if you have the Sirsi-Dynix Symphony ILS, you can now set up LibAuth configurations that will use these methods. Use LibAuth to authenticate patrons for LibCal Space Bookings, events, LibGuides E-Reserves, or to place your LibGuides site, group of guides, or a single guide behind authentication. LibApps admins can head to LibApps > Admin > LibAuth Authentication to see these two new options.

In LibApps, if you switch to a custom domain or change an existing custom domain for your LibGuides, LibCal, or LibAnswers site, we will request & install a free Let’s Encrypt security certificate before we put the domain change into effect. This ensures that all traffic to your sites continues to go over HTTPS rather than over the insecure HTTP protocol. If you haven’t yet read our blog post on making all your Springy traffic HTTPS, check it out now.

We’re also adding two more customizable fields to the Primo Search Source, when you set it up to show Primo results inside your LibGuides & LibAnswers search. The two new customizable fields are for changing the scope and tab name. Head to LibApps > Admin > Search Sources to set this up for Primo.

LibGuides

Over in LibGuides, if you have LibGuides CMS and have implemented IP Access Restrictions for your site, group, or guide, you will no longer see results for these IP-protected assets in search results, unless you are inside the required IP range. Your IP-protected guides will only show up in search results for users within valid ranges.

We also added a feature many of our A-Z Databases admins have asked for: the option to remove a “Trial” label from a trial Database when the trial expires. To set this up, go to Content > A-Z Databases > edit your database, apply the label, add the trial expiration date, and check the box labelled “Hide from public view on trial expiration date.”

Speaking of A-Z list, we’ve made a small change to the way that A-Z Databases search works with filters on the public A-Z page. Previously, if you filtered the page view to a subject, vendor, or type, and then did a search, these filters conflicted, resulting in incorrect search results. Now, when you search filtered results, you’ll correctly see databases that match your search term AND your filters.

There are also a bunch of small features and fixes to share:

  • We fixed the A-Z Databases map count, which were incorrect in a few instances.
  • We fixed the rendering of A-Z Database Description popovers in two cases:
    • When you’re using a A-Z page template that contains a custom content box with A-Z databases in it.
    • If you’re using IE11 or on a mobile device.

LibCal

We’re happy to announce that LibCal now has an online payments component built right into the system, and it comes with no additional fee – it’s a standard part of your LibCal system.


Online payments are being added to event registrations and spaces first. Support for payments on equipment bookings will be coming soon (late January/early February). We’re doing a limited online payments release to early adopters, until we polish all the payments features over the next few weeks (the wide release will be later in January). If you’re interested in being an early adopter for online payments in LibCal, let us know! For a sneak peek at how this functionality is integrated within LibCal, check out the December Springy Newsletter feature on LibCal – Way to Pay.

In addition to online payments, we have several other new features rolling out in this release, including:

  • The new “Next Available” quick link in Spaces and Equipment is now available via the APIs
  • We’ve added a simple honeypot captcha to Event booking forms, to help reduce spammy event registrations. This captcha method doesn’t display to the patron at all, so you won’t see anything different in your registration forms, but spambots will run into hidden fields that are designed to catch them and prevent the form from being submitted.
  • We’ve updated our Spaces Exchange Integration to support displaying Space reservations in Exchange using either the patron’s name, or a nickname they enter as part of the registration form. This is designed to assist folks who are relying on the Exchange integration to tie in with an external room panel. To try out this new setting, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Exchange/Outlook and look for the Title Setting toggle.

LibAnswers/LibChat

We’re thrilled to announce that our new screensharing & webinars functionality is here! We went way beyond just basic librarian-to-patron sharing of screen during chat. Patrons and Librarians can also request control of each others’ screens, do an audio chat, start an optional webcam share for a face to face chat, annotate the screen to help guide your users in the right direction, save and send screenshots… and that’s just the basics. Also, why stop with two people – have a screensharing/webinar session with 3, 4, 5 or more people – the more the merrier! It’s all there, in LibChat.

  • Supported Across All Browsers – Whether you or the patron are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or some other browser… our screensharing works across all browsers.
  • Supported Across Multiple Operating Systems – From Windows to Mac OS, from Ubuntu to Mint… we’ve got you covered.
  • Works on Tablets & Mobile Devices – From Surface Pro 2 (running Win 8.1 / Win 10) to iOS/Andriod devices and even on Slaven’s beloved Blackberry (yes, we went there!)… you can screenshare with users on multiple device types.
  • Audio & Video Options – You and the patron have the option to turn on your mics and webcams to enhance the screensharing experience.
  • Screen Annotation – Annotate screens, draw attention to certain elements, type up notes, and then save the screenshot and send to the patron.
  • Multi-Person Webinars or Virtual Staff Meetings – Screenshare as a group for internal meetings, staff webinars, etc. Why should only two people have all the fun?
  • Distance Education Support – With our screensharing and webinars, your library can better support distance ed programs at your institution.
  • Saved Recordings – Optionally, save your screenshare session and share it with relevant parties.

Screensharing is an optional module but it’s included free to all our Suite customers. Non Suite users can join in the fun too for $199 for this module – we worked hard to bring enterprise-class screensharing & webinars solution that costs thousands to every library that needs it, for less than a daily cup of joe at the local deli. That’s what we’re all about – delivering outstanding value to our libraries that we’re privileged to serve and work with.

Based on the amount of emails and inquiries we received since we told you about our screensharing plans, we know that you will want this installed, like, yesterday. But in order to ensure the stability of the infrastructure the rollout will be gradual, over the next couple of months. If you want to be an early adopter please let us know you’re interested and we’ll go from there.

In addition to screensharing, we have a couple of additional updates to share:

  • New Chat Status: Internal – With all of the screensharing excitement around the potential for internal staff meetings and support, we realized that our existing availability options in LibChat needed some tweaks. Thus as of this release there are now 3 presence/status settings for LibChat:
    • Online – You’re available to answer all public and internal chats
    • Internal – You’re offline as far as public chat departments are concerned, but online and available for internal chat departments and 1:1 operator chats
    • Offline – You’re entirely offline and unavailable to chat
  • Department Monitoring Update – We’ve updated the way we display information on who is publicly monitoring chats for each LibChat department. Previously we were displaying availability for each user in each department based on their overall online/offline status. Now, we’ll display this information based on whether the user is specifically publicly monitoring/not monitoring each individual chat department. To see this in action, head to the LibChat dashboard > Select a Department > Click Department Members.

LibInsight

We are working on integration of COUNTER Release 5 datasets into LibInsight, which we expect to be available before the end of March 2019. Meanwhile, we have a slew of small fixes for you:

  • We fixed field editing bug in circulation datasets
  • We fixed the error message displayed if you do not specify a “# of transactions” field in an Aggregate Circulation dataset
  • We fixed Dashboard charts for LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibGuides datasets
  • We’ve made it possible for you to choose whether to require “Required” fields when uploading a file to a custom dataset
  • We fixed a broken export button in the Circulation and Acquisitions Datasets Analysis “Popular” tab
  • We fixed the “Reset” button on widgets, which was not getting appropriate keyboard focus

LibStaffer

We’ve been working hard to bring you some special gifts this holiday season including awesome new features like copying shifts, SMS alert notifications, Geofencing and OAuth authentication for Outlook/Exchange calendar syncing.

  • Copy Shifts – By popular demand, you now have the ability to copy shifts and their assignments to the same or different calendar.  Open any schedule, select the settings icon drop down and select Copy Shifts access this feature.
  • SMS Alert Notifications – SMS alert notifications are here!  Select which LibStaffer alerts to receive through SMS text messages or email (or both).  Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit > Email & SMS Alerts to check out this new feature.
  • Geofencing – We’ve developed a way to put a distance restriction on where staff members can either clock in or clock out within a specified radius from a schedules physical geographic location.  Check out this new feature to set your geofence restrictions and schedule locations latitude/longitude by going to Admin > Schedule Settings > Edit Settings > Location & Time Clock.
  • OAuth Authentication for Outlook/Exchange Sync – A brand new way of syncing to Outlook/Exchange, using OAuth tokens instead of having to enter and update login passwords.  This new way is more secure than storing of Outlook/Exchange passwords.  Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Outlook/Exchange.
  • Workflow Submissions Explorer Recipient Filter – We’ve improved the workflow forms submission explorer to include a notification recipient filter.  You will now be able to use this filter to see only relevant form submissions that included a specific notification recipient.  To run the explorer with this new filter head to Forms > Submissions Explorer.
  • Max Hours per Day – The ability to set the maximum number of hours a day a staff member can work across all schedules in one day.  Manual shift assignments and the auto scheduler will take this new value into account when checking availability when scheduling staff members.  To set a staff members max hours per day that they can work, go to Admin > Accounts > Edit > Manage Account.
  • Custom Week Start Date – Beyond Sunday and Monday, we’ve now brought you the ability to set the ‘Week starts’ date to any day of the week.  The proper support has also been added for manually assigning staff and running the auto scheduler to determine availability.  Go to Admin > System Settings to set your ‘Week starts’ value to any day of the week.
  • Multi View Start Date – We’ve modified the multi schedule view display where if all the calendars selected for the multi view have the same week start date, the calendar view will start on that same day of the week.  To view this change, go to Schedules > Multi-Schedule View Only and select calendars that all have the same week start date.
  • Shift Swaps with Outlook/Exchange sync – We’ve improved the shift swap sync process for Outlook/Exchange where after a shift is successfully swapped between two staff members, the shift that each staff member was assigned to prior to the swap will be removed from the Outlook/Exchange calendars.
  • Consistent first and last name display – We’ve gone through all of LibStaffer and anywhere an account name appears it will display as First Name Last Name sorted by Last Name.

 

Many of the new features and functionality in Springshare tools came as a direct result of you, our customers, sending us your ideas, suggestions, pain points, constructive criticism, and kudos. We can’t thank you enough, and we promise so much more good stuff coming your way in 2019 – new features, enhanced functionality, new products… all with one singular purpose – to make your library workflows better and for you to continue impressing your customers and making them love and appreciate their library and their librarians even more. Thank you for your amazing suggestions and ideas in 2018, and here’s to a lot more goodies in 2019 and beyond. As always we’re here for you if any questions pop up.

New Data Center: Australia / Asia-Pacific – February 2019

Springshare is pleased to announce that we are bringing data centers online in Australia on February 11, 2019! All Asia-Pacific customers will be hosted on these servers. (See below for the list of countries moving to these servers.)

These new servers host v2 products only: LibGuides, E-Reserves, LibAnswers v2, LibCal w/Equipment Booking, LibStaffer, LibWizard, LibInsight, and LibCRM. Once you move to this new cluster, all of your Springshare tools (current and future) are located there.

Who is moving & will there be down time?

We’re moving all v2 sites and content for customers located in the Asia-Pacific region. If you are located in one of these countries, your data is moving to the Australian servers: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Heard Island & McDonald Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna.

Customers not located in one of the above countries are unaffected. There will be no down time for customers on servers in the U.S., Europe, or Canada while we move these sites.

Asia-Pacific customers will experience some down time during the migration process:

  • LibGuides Public side: No down time.
  • LibGuides Admin side and all other apps (both public and admin sides): Estimated 15 minutes of down time; may be up to 30 minutes.

I’m in the Asia-Pacific region – what do I need to do / know?

  • Migration Date: Monday, February 11, 2019 starting at 7pm U.S. EST (Melbourne time: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 11am AEDT)
    Time Converter – click “Add another city or time zone” to convert to your location.
  • LibGuides / LibAnswers / LibCal Custom Domains: If you have a custom domain (e.g., research.mylibrary.org, ask.myschool.edu, calendar.library.myschool.edu.au) for your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and/or LibCal site(s), you’ll need to work with your IT department to update your DNS records in time for the migration. We’ll send you instructions / more details in early January.
    If you are not on a custom domain (e.g., mylib.libguides.com, university.libanswers.com, springylib.libcal.com), you do not need to do anything. We’ll take care of everything on our side.
  • We’ll email you in early January with more information about what to expect and what you need to do to prepare for the move.

If you’re using LibAnswers v1 or LibAnalytics and want to move to the Australian server cluster, you will need to move to v2 in order to do so. LibAnswers v1 customers will be live with v2 prior to this server move. If you are using LibAnalytics, please update to LibInsight Lite.

If any questions / concerns pop up, please let us know, and as always, thanks for being on board!

HTTPS for All and All for HTTPS!

(Past HTTPS posts: Aug 24, 2017  |  Sept 28, 2017  |  Jan 25, 2018  |  June 7, 2018)

All major browsers are now flagging HTTP pages as “not secure” as a matter of course. This move toward web-security-by-default is something we at Springshare agree with, so we’ve implemented several things to help all of you ensure that your users are always enjoying a secure experience with Springy Apps – security certificates, forcing HTTPS, and removing TLS1.0 support, to name a few – and we’ll continue to roll out security options in future. In addition, we’re always vigilant in making sure that our code and our servers are safe and secure.

You may be wondering…why should I care if my pages are loading over HTTPS? Well, it’s all about your users’ security & privacy! With data leaks and cyber attacks on the rise, it just makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to give your users the most secure web experience possible, and HTTPS is the baseline. Also, if you’d like to use the forthcoming LibCal billing functionality (online payments FTW!), an HTTPS connection is required.

Many of our customers have already made the move to HTTPS-only, and found it easy to do! There is no downtime or cost when moving to HTTPS (unless you choose to purchase your own security certificate) and it ensures a better, more secure experience for all of your users. In fact, we have issued over 2,000 certificates (for free!) so that all you need to do is push one button to switch to all secure access, all the time. It’s a win for everyone!

What We Do / What We’re Going to Do:

  • We provide free, automatically renewed Let’s Encrypt security certificates, in addition to the ability to upload your own security certificates.*
    • Load your page using https to double check whether or not your site has a valid, active security certificate.
    • Simply click in your address bar and type https://yoursiteURL.
  • We offer the ability for sites to force all of their pages to load over HTTPS. It is not enabled by default (yet), because there may be some content on your site that you need to update prior to making that move. (See below for more info on mixed content.)
  • We offer HTTPS access for all APIs, so you can ensure security of any information transferred via API.
  • We will remove the LibApps > Admin > Domains and Certificates option to toggle “Force HTTPS” for good by the end of Q1 2019.
  • If your site is not already set to enforce HTTPS, we set that for you beginning Jan 2nd, 2019. We will do this a few sites at a time each day to ensure that everyone is covered before the end of Q1 2019.

What You Can Do Now:

  • Check your site for “mixed content“: content embedded in your page that is loaded over HTTP instead of HTTPS.
    Why does this matter? If your overall page is loading over HTTPS, but an embedded item on the page is trying to load over HTTP, the embedded item will not display on the page. Although Springshare has supported HTTPS for a long time, this is the primary reason we have not enforced it yet: giving you time to update your widgets and ensure all content continues to load on your pages.

    • This content could be a search widget, a video, or anything else you’ve embedded. If it’s embedded in your site, it must be embedded via HTTPS.
    • Notes on how to find mixed content in your site is below in the “Searching for Mixed Content” section.
    • If your widget is loading over HTTP, check the site where you got the widget to see if they offer an HTTPS version.
    • If your widget is from a Springy app, it’s easy! Just add https: to the beginning of the “src” to require that it load via HTTPS.
    • If you use Springy APIs anywhere, make sure you’re using them over HTTPS. If not, update your calls by adding that s.
  • Force your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard sites to load over HTTPS.
    • This ensures a secure experience for your users when using those apps.
    • LibInsight, LibStaffer, and LibCRM are designed to always load over HTTPS, so there’s nothing to change for those systems.
    • This will be enabled for all sites by the end of Q1 2019.

Searching for Mixed Content:

  • In LibGuides:
    • Rich Text items: use the “Search” portion of our Search & Replace tool, and search on http: (with the colon at the end). Then review the list for embedded content. If the item is simply a link out to another website, you do not have to update that (unless the other site supports HTTPS and you want to update it). (This might be the majority of the list.) You’re looking for content embedded in the page, JavaScript, calls to stylesheets, etc. You can use CTRL+A to highlight the results, copy them, and paste them into a program like Excel for easier scanning, if you wish.
    • Widget items: use the filtering options in the Content > Assets area. Once on that page, limit Type to Widgets, enter http: in the Description / Metadata field, and click Filter. Click the edit icon for each item and review as noted above.
  • In LibAnswers you can use the “Search” part of the Admin > Assets > Search & Replace Links tool to find all instances of http: in your FAQ answers (yes, even though it says Search & Replace Links 😉 ). Be sure to check off the “Perform a search only” checkbox when using this tool. The first section will list any Public FAQ Links that contain http: – which may be just fine (though if there is an https equivalent, then it’s a good thing to update). The second section lists Public FAQ content that contains http:. Be sure to check this second area, as it’s likely where you may have embedded something. Also remember to check your Embedded Media / Widgets in your Public FAQs!
  • Load your page over HTTPS and use your Browser’s developer tools (usually something along the lines of: right click on the page > select Inspect > select the Console tab) to see what it marks as “mixed content” on each page. This may take a while, considering the number of pages you may have on your site, but it’s an option.
  • Another option is to use one of the myriad of tools that have popped up to help with this very thing! Do a web search on “mixed content check” (or similar keywords) and you’ll find options like “Why No Padlock?”, etc. (We’re not endorsing any particular thing; that site is simply noted as an example.) Continuing with using that site as an example, it works like this: you enter your https link into the tool and it scans that page (and any page that it links out to), notes any mixed content, and reports back to you with a list. It’s a great way to find all mixed content at once and/or as a check before forcing HTTPs for your site.

* Using a custom domain and seeing that your site does not have a security certificate?

Your DNS records could be pointing to the wrong place or there could be a Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) in place that is preventing us from getting a Let’s Encrypt certificate on your behalf. We’ve contacted the handful of sites where we know this is a problem. If you’re seeing that you do not have a security certificate, contact your IT department with this information:

  1. Check that your DNS records are pointing to the right place.
  2. Check to see if CAA is enabled. If so, either:

If you do not either allow us to successfully obtain a security certificate on your behalf or purchase one on your own, your site will be unreachable when we require all pages be loaded via HTTPS (by the end of Q1 2019). Let us know if you have any questions!

Planned Server Maintenance: December 26, 2018

Server maintenance is planned for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal in all regions on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, which may cause brief downtime (no more than 15 minutes in the worst case) for a subset of our customers.

There are no changes or actions required on your side, by anyone, for any product. So you don’t have to lift a finger! This is simply a notification of the expected downtime while we update our servers. We will remind you again (via a message when you log into your system) as we approach the maintenance date.

This work is necessary to strengthen our load balancing infrastructure for all of our customers. As a reminder, we use load balancing so that any sites attempting to connect to a disrupted server automatically move to a healthy server while we replace the disrupted server. A minority of customers, however, opted to be tied to a single server due to the nature of the setup of their custom domain. Those customers will also be load balanced upon completion of this update. (If this does not sound familiar to you, you are likely not part of that minority of customers.)

We chose Wednesday, December 26, 2018 for this maintenance / brief downtime based on usage logs, which show this is one of the lowest usage periods in the entire year. We will further mitigate any disruptions by performing this server work either early in the morning or late at night in each server region’s time zone.

Please let us know if you have any questions!