LibAnswers Proactive Chat Increases User Engagement

If you’re looking for a way to increase user engagements, look no further than LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets!

Create as many customizable chat widgets as you’d like, embed them anywhere (including https secure websites), and watch the chats roll in.

How do I make one?

It’s as easy as select, type, copy, and paste. Blammo – and you’re done!

  • Login to your LibAnswers system > LibChat from the Orange Command Bar > LibChat Widgets.
  • Select the Create New Widget Button.
  • Give your widget a name and choose either the button, slide-out tab, or floating chat widget display options.
    • Pro-tip: Give your widget a descriptive name so you can remember what style of chat widget it is, where’s it been embedded, and your autoload delay properties. Your patrons will never see the name on the public side. Your future self will thank you!
      • e.g. title: “Slide-Out Tab Widget: Right-Side, Auto-Delay (60second). Library Homepage.”
  • Go through your widget options but pay special attention to the feature titled “Autoload Delay (in seconds).” This is your proactive chat widget! Choose, in seconds, how long you want to wait before you engage your user with the widget prompt.
    • Pro-tip: For your library homepage, choose a longer autoload delay (60 – 120 seconds). For web resources were users tend to get “stuck” like your A-Z resource list or discovery layer, choose a shorter autoload delay (20 – 45 seconds).
  • You’re almost done! Take a minute and customize the language of your autoload delay window. Simply click the autoload preview in the right column to pop-out a window that allows you to customize the default language. This way, you can inform your users of how the chat works, that you’re there to help, and how easy it is to ask questions.
  • Make any additional customizations, including what happens when your LibChat widget is offline and click save.
  • Copy the Embed code > and you’re done!
  • Repeat the steps above to offer different and unique LibChat experiences on your various digital touch points. Create one proactive chat widget for your library homepage and a different one, with different help language, for your Database A-Z list!
    • Pro-tip: If you’re using the LibGuides A-Z list, login to LibGuides > Content > Databases A-Z List > Settings > LibChat Widget > to add your proactive LibChat widget to your LibGuides A-Z list. This is where giving your chat widget as descriptive a name as possible really helps you out!

Will it increase my user engagement?

While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond, recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from The University of Texas at Arlington Library indicate that the answer is yes!

The Reference Department at the University of San Diego’s Copley Library implemented Proactive LibChat widgets and saw a 600% increase in chat engagements.1

The University of Texas at Arlington Library doubled their chat engagements from 4,020 (2015-2016) to 8,120 (2016-2017) after implementing proactive LibChat and for some months saw their incoming chats tripled.2

Are there examples of the LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widget I can check out?

Absolutely, there are probably loads more out there in SpringyLand…but here are just a few of our favorites!

College of the Mainland Library
Floating LibChat Widget w/ Custom Icons

Ashland University Library
Slide out Tab Widget

Where can I learn more about adding LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets?

We’re hosting webinars in October with guest speaker Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library. We’ll take a quick tour of LibAnswers, explore live library examples of LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widgets, and Michael Epstein will present on their use-case at the Copley Library Reference Department.

Citations

1. Epstein, Michael. “That thing is so annoying: How proactive chat helps us reach more users.” College & Research Libraries News [Online], 79.8 (2018): 436. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.

2. Pyburn, Lydia L. “Implementing a Proactive Chat Widget in an Academic Library.Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning [Online], 2018.

LibStaffer Update Coming Soon!

A really big – and important – LibStaffer update is on its way to production servers on Monday, October 15th, 2018 (US Eastern Time), and will be live in all regions by the end of the day. Why is this release so big and important? Two words: Workflow Forms.

Workflow Forms

This new functionality in LibStaffer has the potential to greatly streamline the way your library processes various staffing-related forms. Everyone agrees collecting info via forms is useful – there are tons of use-cases for forms when it comes to staffing: Forms for Job (or Volunteer) application, Equipment requests, Professional Development requests, Travel requests, Consent forms, Onboarding forms, Staff suggestions forms, Vacation/Time off request forms… we could go on and on, but you get the idea. It’s easy to whip up a basic form using any number of online tools. But what happens after the form is filled out? That part is still largely manual and prone to errors, delays, confusion, inaction, etc. That’s where our new Workflow Forms functionality comes in.

Workflow Forms enable LibStaffer admins to create a customized online form for staff use, and then goes further to facilitate the entire lifecycle of the form after the initial submission. The form sends automatic email notifications to various staff members based on selected values within form fields. You can create “stages” for each Workflow Form so different staff are notified whenever a form reaches a given stage. You decide who can review submissions, and then those staff members can leave notes and communicate internally regarding the content of form submissions… At the end of this you have a full history and audit trail of each form submission and the workflow/history around it – who assigned which stage to a given form, who left notes about it, etc. For compliance and record keeping reasons itself this Workflow Forms functionality is worth its weight in gold.

Let’s take one obvious use-case scenario – an online application for a student workers or volunteers. Create your customized form with any number of fields/options, and even include a file upload field so applicants can submit their resume as part of the form submission. Tres cool! One of the fields could be a list of checkboxes indicating which position the person is interested in, and each checkbox could alert a different staff member of the submission – circulation desk applications go to jane@, the archives application interest can go to john@, info desk applications go to michelle@ etc.  You would then assign “Stages” that each submission goes through e.g. “New Application / In Review / Qualifications Match / Interview Conducted / Accepted / Denied” and each Stage has its own notifications setup, too. As reviewers put applications through its paces they can leave notes on each “touch” and communicate/exchange info and thoughts about the application. The full notes history and Stages changelog is there for for all authorized users see, for audit compliance and transparency.

Then, upon successfully hiring new student workers or volunteers, you can create another Workflow Form to be used for onboarding them! There are so many potential use-cases to put Workflow Forms to good use at your library. We’re incredibly excited about this functionality and we know you will be as well, once you start playing with it. You’ll arrive at many a-ha moments after you realize how many of your current form-based workflows can be moved online and improved upon with the LibStaffer’s new Workflows Forms.

Additional Updates

In addition to the all new Workflows functionality, we have even more features to share with you in this release.

  • Clock In/Out Dashboard – We’ve added a high level overview to show all staff members the current clock in/out status for every user in your system, so everyone is on the same page about their colleague’s current status. To view the new Dashboard, select View Staff Current Status from the LibStaffer dashboard.
  • Updated Regular-level Schedule View – We’ve updated the schedule view that regular level users see when they log in, so the selector menus for viewing other dates, schedules, etc. will now look the same for both admin and regular level users.
  • Scheduled Shifts Report Update – We’ve made a small tweak to the Scheduled shifts report and will now display the total number of hours a user has been assigned to within the time period you specify. To see this in action, admins can head to Reports > Scheduled Shifts.
  • Time Clock Report Updates – We’ve added an “All Staff” view to time clock reports, so you can view a report for all staff members who are part of a particular schedule. We’ve also updated the way that time displays in these reports – rather than just displaying information in minutes, we’re now displaying in hours and minutes, so it’s easier to understand how much time you’re looking at.
  • Elevated Regular Level Users can now edit and delete approved time off for users on schedules they manage. To see this in action, these users can now head to the Time Off page and will be able to see, edit, and update requests that have been approved.
  • Updated Working Hours – We’ve updated the way Working Hours are entered, so it’s now possible to fully clear out hours that you’ve previously entered. To manage your working hours, head to Manage Account > Working Hours.
  • And we have a couple of Bug Fixes to share:
    • Auto Scheduler will no longer schedule staff members who previously belonged to a schedule, were favorited for particular shifts, but have since been deleted from the schedule.
    • We’ve fixed an issue where, in specific circumstances, the Auto Scheduler would sometimes assign the same person to the same shift twice

Upcoming Training

To learn about the all new Workflow Forms, or get a refresher on using LibStaffer, sign up for our upcoming training sessions!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 2:00-3:00pm (ET) LibStaffer: Setting up Your System with Workflow Forms

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 2:00-2:45pm (ET): LibStaffer for Employees

LibGuides and LibApps Updates Coming Your Way!

LibGuides Update

We have some great updates coming by the end of this week to LibGuides, LibApps, and LibAuth to go with the official changing of the seasons. Happy fall to our fellow Northern Hemisphere denizens, and Happy Spring to our customers on the other side of the world!

To kick us off, we’re pleased to announce that you can now Export All Rows for LibGuides Homepage and Guides statistical reports. So many have requested this that I’m sure there will be fireworks and bonfires in celebration. 🙂  To export your results, just run a report from Statistics > Homepage or Statistics > Guides, then click the Export All button. No more paging through results! Just download and slice and dice to your heart’s content.

Also new in LibGuides:

If the database that you’re adding to a guide is hidden, you’ll see text indicating that:
screenshot

Ability to edit the friendly URL of a blog post! Note that guide blogs must have friendly URLs assigned at the guide and page level for this feature to appear:
screenshot of the post edit screen

Ability to add Primo as a search source for LibGuides. Now you can add search results from your Primo system as a tab or Bento box in your LibGuides system. This will be available from LibAnswers search in a future release.
screenshot

We try to do at least one accessibility fix each LibGuides release, and this one is no exception: If your databases’ descriptions are set to “hover over title” or “hover over (i) icon,” those pop-over descriptions aren’t read aloud when databases appear on a guide. Thanks for letting us know, Ken! We’ve fixed that in your honor. ❤️

We also have a swarm of little fixes to report:

  • AZ Import > vendors are added and updated properly.
  • AZ.php > the correct container class is applied when you use a custom footer.
  • Accounts > Email options > Help ID has been corrected.
  • Names now appear underneath profile boxes on the A-Z and Subject pages.
  • XML exports sent to Summon now use the correct “last updated” date for guides.
  • Accounts > Add > Contributor level is no longer grayed out.
  • The Guides list filters properly when you have an apostrophe in a group name.
  • We corrected an issue with password-protected reserves documents and the www version of a domain.
  • Discussion Boards: Regular level accounts can invite patron accounts from the guide edit page.
  • Guide edit > add editor > we fixed the ability to create a new Editor account from here.
  • Custom metadata has been added to guides rendered via widgets (and therefore to LTI).

We have also done a ton of performance and optimization fixes all across the codebase, so you’ll see things like the Assets data table perform better.

Also don’t miss this month’s Brunch ‘n’ Learn: “LibGuides Lab Work-In: Hands-On Help for Your Staff.” Check out this and other LibGuides training sessions live, or watch recorded videos.

LibApps

We have made a couple of improvements to LibApps as well. Now when you export all your LTI instances, the Content column just has the name of the matches content rather than the HTML link.

We also made it so that if you request that we remove your custom SSL certificate so that you can start using Let’s Encrypt (free!), there’s no gap in HTTPS coverage.

LibAuth

Over in LibAuth, we now support the Location attribute for SIP2 Connections, updated Federation metadata to use SHA256, and fixed an issue where the General pane of the LDAP configuration screen was not saved when you edited the login form tab.

LibAnswers 2.23 Update Coming Soon!

The LibAnswers 2.23 update is on its way to you this week, and will be released in all regions by the end of the day on Thursday October 11th, 2018. This update is all about refinements to the new chat operator interface. We’ve been listening to your feedback and are implementing several great features to streamline answering and keeping track of chats. Read on for the details!

New Chat Dashboard Updates

  • Pop-out Chat View – We’re adding a new viewing option that makes it easier to view multiple chats at the same time – the new Multi Chat View option displays all incoming and internal chats “popped out” in the chat operator screen, so you can move windows, resize, and keep an eye on multiple conversations at once. To use the new view, head to the Settings tab in the Operator Console and select “View Chats in Multi Chat Overlay”. To make this your default view every time you log in, head to Edit Account > Chat Settings and choose “View Chats in Multi Chat Overlay”.
  • Smoother Chat Claiming – We’ve added a handy “Claim” button in the lefthand list of chats, to both help indicate which chats need to be claimed, and make it easier to claim a chat with just one click. In addition, chats waiting to be claimed will always be displayed at the top of the chats list, so they’re more obvious.
  • Departments: Who’s Online – Department chats now include a full list of “Who’s in this chat”, so you know everyone who could be part of a department chat along with their current online/offline status. To see who’s online, click on the department chat then select Department Members.
  • Chat Styles – We’ve updated the Chat Operator typing pane to support basic HTML styles (bold, italic, and underline) without needing to type in the actual HTML. Use the new button options in the chat pane to style your text and make your chats more expressive.
  • Scrub Internal Chat Messages – If you’d prefer not to save and display internal chat history indefinitely, you now have the option to clear the internal chat history after X days. To set this option, Admins can head to Admin > LibChat Set-up > Scrub Internal Chat Messages. By setting this option, all internal chats (include sitewide chat, department chats, and op-to-op chats) will be deleted and cannot be retrieved. Also note that this does not impact patron chats – to scrub patron chats, contact our support team.
  • Chat Transcripts Include Custom Pre-Chat Questions – Now when you view and/or export chat transcripts, we’ll include the contents from any pre-chat questions the patron may have answered before the chat began.
  • Updated Dashboard Notifications – We’ve tweaked the dashboard notification messages to clarify between new chats and new tickets.
  • And we have a couple of Bug Fixes to share:
    • Now, when you add a chat to Reference Analytics, the chat question and answer fields will be included in the correct Reference Analytics fields, rather than both being added to the Question field
    • New chat sound notifications will now sound for both chats you’re looking at currently as well as chats that you’re not currently looking at.
    • We’ve fixed an issue where Internal Notes added when a chat is closed were not being appended to the chat transcript.
    • And we’ve fixed an issue on the new chat dashboard where Idle Messages weren’t being displayed in the proper time period – now they’ll display as expected.

Ticket & FAQ Updates

  • Edit Patron Contact Info – We’ve added a simple editing interface so you can now edit the patron information (including name, email address, or SMS number). This is particularly helpful for patrons that prefer to go by a different name, or have multiple email addresses that should be considered part of the same record. To edit a patron’s contact info, on the ticket answer page, select User History > Patron Contact Info.
  • Replies to Really Old Tickets = New Tickets – We’re here to help you in the fight against zombie tickets – now, you can choose to treat a new reply to a ticket from X months ago as a new ticket. This is meant to help particularly with email ticket chains, where the patron may be replying to an old email thread with a brand new question. Breaking the ticket out into its own ticket is helpful both for your site statistics (because odds are these are truly new questions and should be counted as such) as well as equitable question distribution (so the same person doesn’t wind up owning a ticket that could potentially span years). To set this new setting, Admins can head to Admin > System Settings > General > Break Replies into New Tickets.
  • File Uploads When Transferring – We now support file uploads when transferring a ticket to another user.
  • Bug Fix for Required Ticket Fields – Previously, in some limited circumstances, it was possible for the patron to submit a new ticket to your system without completing a required field (such as the Question field). We’ve fixed this issue so you should no longer see the occasional ticket that doesn’t include a question.
  • Save FAQ Content While Editing – We’re improving the FAQ creation experience by automatically saving the content you enter in the RTE, while you edit. This is super useful if, like our own Springy Tim, you have a habit of accidentally navigating away from the Create FAQ page in the midst of editing your content – now, if this happens, just return to the FAQ page you were working on and your content will still be there.

Register for LibAnswers Training or watch training recordings to learn more about the new LibChat interface & all LibAnswers functionality!

LibGuides CMS: Getting The Most From Groups Functionality

There are many excellent reasons why people choose (or upgrade to) LibGuides CMS. It has access controls, the LTI integration tool, comes with LibWizard Lite and so much more. However, the way the system allows you to create separate customizable groups is, to this day, one of the most popular draws.

LibGuides is so easy to use that our clients began to start imagining other ways they could use it. They’ve taken advantage of the flexibility and used it for their websites. Sometimes departments within the library, like Special Collections or Reference, would ask their system admins if they could build guides but they wanted to have their own banner. LibGuides CMS makes this possible along with a variety of other thoughtful uses.

Build an Intranet the Team Will Really Use.

Using LibGuides CMS for your Intranet platform makes sense on so many levels. Why divert them to, yet, another interface? The staff already knows how to build LibGuides. Now, they can build guides on Professional Development Days and on Vacation and Sick Day Policies. Imagine encouraging the team to build not just a profile box but a whole guide that includes more than what you’d see on a resume. It could include hobbies, photos of favorite trips, books on their must-read lists, work playlists and more. Your intranet would connect people and help them truly get to know one another. Plus, you could embed LibCal calendars to keep everyone on the same page and LibAnswers FAQs to help with onboarding new hires. You could embed LibWizard forms or surveys to get team feedback on new projects up for consideration. Your Intranet group could be a real hang out spot.

Everyone Loves to Play in a Sandbox.

If you’ve been thinking about updating your look and feel but you are not sure if your ideas are executable or if it will look too sparse or, conversely, too crowded, etc., then you’re probably wishing you had a staging area to play around in and test. With LibGuides CMS, you can create a sandbox group. Then using access controls, you can lock it down with password protection or IP address restriction. You can build and modify and adjust as you wish without disrupting the guides your patrons are currently using.

Organize Your Guides in a New Way.

Some clients are using the groups functionality in LibGuides CMS to make finding what you need more efficient and clear-cut. They have a group for Subject guides and another group for Course guides and they can keep going. You could put all the General Library Information guides in a group and/or build a group for Events and Instruction. On the public-facing side, it would be an organized person’s dream.

It’s Not Old, It’s Archived.

We’re hearing from more and more libraries that a digital archive solution is something that’s becoming a real priority. The University of Oklahoma’s Jason Henderson presented Digital Archives on a Dime at our virtual conference, SpringyCamp, regarding his experience building, hosting and publishing a digital archive using Internet Archive and the LibGuides CMS groups functionality. He emphasized that he was mindful of their budget, wanted it to be easy to use for their patrons, and that it was critical for the team that it be easy to set up and maintain.

Don’t Be Afraid to Branch Out.

Public libraries make immensely helpful LibGuides on taxes and genealogy and National Poetry Month. However, what public libraries do best is hone in on the needs of the people they serve and those needs are often particular to the branches. LibGuides CMS allows you to make individual groups for each branch. They can have their own banner, header, footer and they can have their own looks and feels or they can have a consistent look that threads them together. Best of all, if a branch has a large senior population or, perhaps, another branch has a lot of veterans or young families, the librarians can build guides in the confines of their own group to cater to them.

Speak the Same Language.

LibGuides CMS allows groups to have a fair amount of independence. They can have their own URLs and home pages with a choice of navigation layout. What’s more, they can be customized in different languages, too! We have clients that, legally, must provide their guides in both French and English, for instance. LibGuides CMS works for them because they can build a group for each language and then they can add a link to the other in case a user wants to switch from the English to the French. Et voila! Let your imagination drive for a stretch and make a targeted list of all the ways — internal and public-facing — you can envision using LibGuides CMS groups at your library. Nothing else will be so easy…or end up looking so good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Springshare Integration with Discovery Layers

In a recent interview with Springshare, LibApps power user Amber Tatnall, Director of Library Learning and Resources at York County Community College in Maine stated,

I think if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

From the moment we wake up, we make thousands of decisions a day. Opportunity Cost, or the cost of doing X at the expense of Y, is an often used mechanism for decision making. However, an often missing piece of these mental algorithms is the cost of doing nothing. Within libraryland, the cost of doing nothing can manifest itself as lower user engagement or reduced web traffic hits.

If your library subscribes to a discovery layer product like EBSCO Discovery Service, Ex Libris Summon, or Ex Libris Primo, there are multiple ways you can integrate your Springshare tools into your Discovery layers.

These integrations allow you more virtual touch points to ‘reach’ your users with a minimum of effort.

What can you integrate?

When it comes to discovery layer integration, your mind might immediately jump to LibGuides integration. And that’s great! LibGuides is a great fit for integration with your discovery layers. However, if you subscribe to multiple Springshare tools – you can (and should!) integrate them all. Let’s explore!

  • LibCal – integrate your LibCal events so when users search on “MLA”, your upcoming Citation workshops display prominently.
  • LibAnswers LibChat – embed a LibChat sidebar widget so no matter where a user ends up in your discovery layer, there’s always a way for them to ‘ask for help’.
    • Pro Tip: Create a proactive chat widget timed to pop out around the 3 – 4 minutes mark. If a user is on a discovery layer page for at least 3 minutes (that’s a long time!), your LibChat widget can slide out and ask the user if they need help. In a recent College & Research Libraries News article, librarian Michael Epstein found that proactive chat led to a 600% increase in user engagement.
  • LibAnswers Systems & Services Management Tool – Make use of the Systems & Services Management Tool to create a discovery layer-specific widget that integrates LibChat, relevant FAQs, and a feedback mechanism for patrons to submit an idea, report a problem, or share praise.

The New School embeds the Systems & Services Management Tool Widget right into their Primo Discovery Layer.

  • LibGuides E-Reserves – when students see a search box, they assume it works like Google. Enter anything in it, and you’ll get some results. If you subscribe to our LibGuides E-Reserves module, you can integrate your course reserves in Dublin Core format right into your discovery layer via OAI-PMH. This way, when a student inevitably types “Professor Smith” into your search box, they’ll actually get relevant results.
    • Pro Tip: We support custom Dublin Core metadata fields so you can customize how your E-Reserves display in your OAI-PMH compliant discovery layer.
  • LibAnswers Ask Us Form – Northeastern University used the LibAnswers API to create a custom ‘Report a Problem’ form in their discovery layer. Submissions get routed to LibAnswers with the discovery layer URL automatically added.

LibAnswers Form auto-populates the URL of where the user was in the discovery layer

Integrated a ‘Report a Problem’ LibAnswers Form

  • LibCal Equipment Booking Add-on Module – integrate your ‘library of things’ into your discovery layer using the robust LibCal Equipment Booking API. This way, when users search on 3D printers, or makerspace labs, they can actually view and reserve time using your equipment!

Where can I learn more about Discovery Layer integration?

Ask, and you shall receive! On September 19, Springshare conducted an in-depth training session on integrating Springy tools with EBSCO EDS, Ex Libris Summon, Ex Libris Primo / Primo VE. We even had a guest speaker from EBSCO, David Podboy, as well as Laura Guy, recent retiree from Colorado School of Mines, to showcase Springy integrations complete with examples and instructions.

The good news? You can watch this recording and download the presenter slides, which include detailed examples and instructions.

We hope you’ll take some time to watch the video and learn how you can avoid the cost of doing nothing by integrating your Springy Tools into as many virtual touch points as possible. As Amber stated, “… if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

Click to access our discovery layer training session, including examples and presenter notes and files.

LibCal 2.17 Coming Soon!

The LibCal 2.17 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day Thursday September 20th, 2018. This release brings loads of usability improvements, including a new bulk event publishing option, refinements for the new Appointments functionality, and so much more!

Calendars/Events:

  • Bulk Event Publishing – We’ve added several new features to the Event Explorer page, including an all new bulk publish function! Bulk publish or unpublish multiple events at once, and use the handy new publication status filter to easily find the events you need to update. To check out this new option, head to the Event Explorer page within your Calendar.
  • Event Templates Update – We’re adding additional information to the Event Templates screen, so you can see at a glance which templates have particular categories/audiences assigned and search by these parameters. Admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Event Templates to check out the new format.
  • Updated Event Location Selector – We’ve updated the Location selector menu on the add event page so it’s clearer which Space Location is associated with each category. Now, instead of just seeing the category name listed, you’ll see the format Location Name – Category Name, followed by the relevant spaces. To check this out, head to the add/edit event page and choose a location.

Appointments Updates

  • Upcoming Appointments – We’ve updated the Upcoming Appointments area  to more clearly distinguish between past and future appointments, and we’ve added a quick switch button so you can easily swap between past and future view. To check this out, head to your Appointments landing page.
  • Low Availability Alerts – You’ll now see an alert message on the LibCal homepage when your availability is about to run out, so there are no gaps in availability for your patrons.
  • Clarified Appointment vs Padding: We’ve updated several spots in the Appointments UI to more clearly distinguish between the amount of time assigned to a specific appointment with a patron vs the padding time around that appointment.
  • Export Booking Form Responses – We’re updating the export in the Appointment Booking Explorer so, if you’ve limited to viewing just one person, exporting the results will include any booking form responses. To export this info, head to the Appointment Booking Explorer.
  • Outlook Sync’d Events now include the patron’s booking form responses as well.
  • We’ve fixed a bug on the Appointments Group Landing Page – previously the group description wasn’t displaying as expected, this should now be back to normal.

Spaces/Equipment:

  • Switch Space/Equipment Reservation – We’re adding support for switching an existing space/equipment reservation to another space/piece of equipment. To access this feature, head to the Equipment or Spaces page, select an existing booking, and click the edit button – you’ll now have an option to switch this reservation to a similar item or space.
  • Booking Overlap Prevention – We’ve fixed an issue that made it possible to double book events that included setup/teardown padding in a particular space – availability is now being checked properly, and you’ll see a number of alert messages to prevent these accidental double bookings.
  • We’ve fixed a bug with Exchange Sync’d Spaces where, in a very particular set of circumstances, exchange bookings could duplicate themselves in LibCal. This is now resolved and any former duplicate bookings have been cleaned up.
  • And we’ve fixed a bug on the Spaces Booking Explorer – the Group by Room filter wasn’t returning the correct results, and now it will!

Essential LibGuides and Ones You Didn’t Know You Needed

LibGuides icon

For Academic libraries, this time of year is exciting as the physical and virtual campuses are brimming with students and faculty. Your Library Orientations are in full swing. Your Social Media efforts are kicked into high gear as you promote your services. You’ve got to remind everyone that you’re there! As you do this, it’s a good time to have a look at your LibGuides.

If you’ve had LibGuides for a while now, it’s highly likely you have the essential guides built and they’re ready for your users. But there’s a chance that even your library could add some guides to your “to-build” list when you see what some other institutions are showcasing.

What Are Some Essential LibGuides?

Springshare has a bird’s eye view of the guides that exist in the community and we have consistently seen some staple topics.

It’s always a great idea to have guides addressing:

 

As you see these topics, they probably make absolute sense to you. If you are new to LibGuides, remember we have free training and free support, if you have questions. Plus, you have access to the LibGuides community where you can see examples of such guides.

Put Your Best Guide Forward.

If you have these guides already built, why not check the stats on them? It’s a great way to keep the guides fresh and exciting. What should you be looking for?

  • Which guides are most popular? Perhaps your patrons like the way it flows/looks. Make future guides with this in mind.
  • During which time of year are they visiting the guides? Maybe the timing coincides with orientation, exams, large projects or your instruction sessions with classes.
  • Are there books or links or any content that show a lot of clicks? Perhaps they’re being recommended or they have good descriptions, etc.
  • Are there content items that have little or no clicks? Could these benefit from different placement on the page or better descriptions? Or, maybe it’s a good idea to replace them with new items that you have because people aren’t interested in them.

It’s a perfect time of year for refreshing your LibGuides with new resources you may have acquired since you first built them or to hone what’s there based on what you glean from the historical data.

Must-Have Guides That May Surprise You.

So what kind of content is out there that you may not have thought to make, yet? Here are some examples that might inspire you and your team.

You can build guides focused on serving specific subsets like International Students or Graduate Students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many libraries are creating LibGuides for Professional Development on topics like integrating intersectionality into library instruction and programming or on how to make PowerPoint presentions more captivating.

Focusing on faculty, there are guides on keeping your research current and on boosting your scholarly impact. Another excellent idea for internal purposes is to use LibGuides to provide a place to recognize each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re building LibGuides for your students, think about specific resources that are available to them like the Student Learning Center or Archives and Special Collections and let LibGuides be the vehicle you use to introduce them to what they can find there.

 

 

Finally, put yourself in their shoes. What are the skills they’re trying to advance? What are the challenges they’re gearing up to face? Check out these examples on using images and prepping for exams. You can build LibGuides on any subject. Be creative, devise a way for your students and faculty to submit suggestions or requests — and have fun!

Gearing Up for Fall with Additions to LibGuides

LibGuides UpdateSummer is winding down here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we know lots of folks are getting ready for back-to-school. We’ve been getting ready, too! In addition to some back-end performance improvements for LibGuides, we area also pleased to tell you that we have a few features and fixes to report for our August release. This code release has already gone out to all regions, so all of the things below are ready and waiting.

Blog Tune-Up

We’ve made a few changes to blogs inside LibGuides! Whether you use the System Blog or you have blog pages added to your guides, you’ll notice:
  • The addition of an anchor link for every post that will jump you down to the comments section
  • On the edit side, the addition of each post’s public URL near the title, for easy copying-and-pasting.
  • Blog post authors will receive an email each time a comment is left (unless they’re the commenter!)
  • A larger compose area when writing a blog post, as well as a rearrangement of some of the elements on the compose screen for better usability.
  • Images within blog posts are now automatically constrained within the post’s container, and book covers have the same CSS selectors as they do when added to a regular guide page.

Get Secure with HTTPS

We’ve been writing a lot lately about HTTPS and security. If you haven’t changed your LibGuides site to require all traffic to go over the secure HTTPS protocol, now’s a great time! We recently made a security change for blogs which also applies to Discussion Boards, if you’re a LibGuides CMS subscriber. All pages that accept user input (like blogs with comments, and like discussion board threads) are now required to be secure.

To require your site to be secure, log into LibApps and go to Admin > Domains & Certificates > click the padlock icon for your site > Force HTTPS > click the Required button. Before you do, you’ll want to review your content and make sure that all your media/widgets, images, and other embedded content are changed to https, if it’s supported. This FAQ will tell you more about what to do.

Getting Right to SSO

It’s now possible to take users directly to your SSO login form, if you would like the public side of your site to be protected by this additional security. If you have set up a site-wide LibAuth rule to restrict the viewing of the public side of your site AND you also have one (and only one) LibAuth configuration set up, users will be taken directly to the SSO login page, rather than to the LibApps login page. Read more about restricting access to your site with LibAuth.

Updated LibAuth Code

Speaking of LibAuth, we have completely rewritten the back-end in order to make it faster, more extensible, and easier to add features to. Have a wishlist item for authenticating your users inside Springy products? Drop us a line!

Small Fixes and Features

As they used to say on TV, “But wait, there’s more!” We have a few additional updates to share:
  • Accessibility: The A-Z list no longer contains duplicate IDs when databases appear in the main list and the sidebar.
  • When an account is created, the name of the person who created the account is included in the Welcome email sent to the new account holder.
  • You can now export all Database and non-Database assets using the Export All button, regardless of how many assets you have in your system.
  • You can now export your LTI Instances using the Export All button–even if there are thousands of them!
  • You can identify media/widget asset code more accurately when using the filters on Content > Assets.
  • Protecting a site, guide, group, or any combination of those works correctly in LibAuth now, even when you’re using a guide as your custom system homepage.
  • The Domains & Certificates table appears appropriately when using IE11. (Please keep your browsers up-to-date for functionality and security reasons! 🙂 )

Tips For A Successful Year of Managing Student Employees with LibStaffer

Very soon, the library will be abuzz. You will be standing before the bright, eager faces of your student employees. They will be looking to you and your colleagues to guide them through a year of what, everyone hopes, will be a productive, fun, learning experience as they assist you in the library. Some of them will be new. While others will be returning from last year. All of them will need your organizational skills to get the hive running smoothly.

We’ve come up with some excellent tips to help you use LibStaffer to tackle this influx of additional staff. Unless this is your first time having student assistants, you probably already have rules for managing student workers. What we’re offering is a short list of things to know about how LibStaffer is designed to make scheduling the staff as painless as possible as you get ready for the new school year.

#1 Sync Back and Relax

Perhaps you already knew that you can sync your LibStaffer with your Outlook/Exchange calendar. However, many students on campuses use Google Calendar — so why not sync LibStaffer up with it.  The Google Calendar sync will pull their LibStaffer schedule into their GCalendar so they can see their upcoming shifts without needing to log in to LibStaffer. Plus they can opt to sync busy times. Basically, a student will be marked as unavailable if s/he has time blocked off in the Google Calendar that overlaps with any given shifts. This way, they can add their class schedule, study times, family visits, club/sport meetings, and more to their GCalendar and have it push to LibStaffer so they won’t be booked for a shift when they’re unavailable. It’s always a good idea to connect to what the students are using every day as it yields a more complete picture of availability.

#2 Account for Changes

Student assistants are a great help but they do pose a specific set of challenges. Namely, their schedules can be very unpredictable. LibStaffer understands that a tool designed to organize people needs to be flexible or it just won’t work. Period. Fortunately, the system has options built-in that you can elect to enable or not based on your preferences. Consider allowing student workers to swap shifts, give up and pick up shifts and even split shifts. They’re all possibilities in LibStaffer. Changes to a schedule used to be one of the reasons staffing student workers was a maddening job. But once you not only account for changes but actually plan for them and put options in place that make it an organized piece of the puzzle, you’ll find it won’t require any ibuprofen after all.

#3 Streamline Your Communications

Communicating with your student workers is important. LibStaffer helps streamline the task by making it possible to email everyone assigned to a specific schedule. So, if you have a Reference Desk Schedule, you can send a note out to the whole team right from inside the system. Ask them to remember to put in their time off requests for the month or share a newly altered schedule with the team. You can do it from LibStaffer and you don’t have to email students who, for instance, don’t work the Reference Desk.

#4 Spell It Out

It’s really helpful for student assistants to know what is expected of them during a given shift. You may have tasks that you want to be performed that are particular to the opening or closing shifts. You may have projects that you want to be completed in the slow afternoons. Getting the most out of your student workers is possible when you keep everyone focused and informed.

#5 Make Things Easier On Yourself

You can always fill unfilled shifts, manually. There are all sorts of features in place to help you do that efficiently. However, don’t be afraid to take the even easier road by using the Auto Scheduler to assign student workers to shifts! You can select a date range. Perhaps you want to get the next 3 weeks scheduled because you are going to a conference and want it done before you go. You can set limits for the number of shifts per day that a staff member can work. You can ask the system to place all the favorited students first and, if you want, you can decide not to allow anyone to be scheduled in back-to-back shifts if that’s important to you. If you don’t know which shifts are preferred by student workers, you can allow them to favorite themselves. Then, click the submit button. The Auto Scheduler is going to do all the work for you taking into account all the information in the system. It won’t schedule a person who has the day off, has exceeded their maximum hours, or is scheduled at another desk already at that time. Voila!

#6 Reinvent Clocking In and Clocking Out

Springshare knows it’s essential for you to have a way for your student employees to be able to clock in and out for the day. We recommend that you set up a particular station designated for this. To help the Managers out, LibStaffer has a great little window where you can see — at a glance — who is currently clocked in. Imagine being able to have a quick look at any time of the day and being able to see that information. Plus, we all know that people slip up on occasion and forget to clock in or out. We’ve got you covered for those scenarios, too! You have an Admin button in that window that allows you to clock a student in or out on their behalf! LibStaffer is designed to make it so that you can manage your service point staffing with ease. And — with any luck — a productive, fun, learning experience can be had by all!

Learn More About LibStaffer

LibStaffer is chock-a-block full of features and has new exciting updates you should check out. To learn more about it, contact sales@springshare.com or drop into one of the special LibStaffer webinars we have scheduled soon. You’ll learn how LibStaffer makes organizing service point scheduling a breeze. Remember, if you can’t make it to the webinars, you can still go ahead and register and then click watch video to have a recording sent to you.