Introducing LibWizard

We’re thrilled to announce the newest member of our Springy Software Suite – LibWizard. It’s a culmination of our effort to extend the existing LibSurveys tool and add fully interactive tutorials and assessment modules. Our current LibSurveys product has been renamed “LibWizard Lite”, so LibGuides CMS folks will continue to have access to the Forms Wizard and Surveys Wizard. The Quiz Wizard and Assessments Wizard are available with the full LibWizard platform.

LibWizard Lite

With LibWizard Lite, you’ll create amazing custom forms and embed them anywhere – in your website, LibGuides, and any webpage where you need form-based input from users. With the Surveys Wizard, you’ll administer and analyze surveys. Surveys lie at the heart of any customer-facing organization, and with our Surveys Wizard, libraries can efficiently conduct surveys and get actionable feedback from patrons and from the community as a whole. Key features include:

  • Drag & Drop Interface – Select the elements you want to display and drag & drop them into your Survey Builder. It really is that easy!
  • Robust Field Types – Create surveys and forms with text, numeric, date, radio, check-box, rating, grid field types, and more.
  • Conditional Logic – Setup surveys that hide and reveal specific questions based on answers that a patron provides. Logic rules allows you to serve separate questions based on a user’s prior response.
  • Grouping – Group sets of questions together to create question branches.
  • Submission Options –  Create a custom thank you message to show to users, plus send a copy of each submission to the addresses you choose.
  • Customizable Look & Feel – Customize every aspect of your forms and surveys with ease.

LibWizard Complete – Quizzes

The full LibWizard tool adds two powerful components – The Quiz Wizard and the Tutorials/Assessment Wizard. This is where things get very interesting…

Need to test your students and patrons on their understanding of key research concepts? Create a Quiz, embed it in your LibGuides and voila – assessment made easy. There are a multitude of options for Quizzes – everything from timers and page controls to auto-grading functionality. The Quiz Wizard has it all – it’s an easy to use tool with so many great features, including:

  • Automated Grading – Designate the correct answer for each question in your quiz, and the system will automatically grade each new entry. We’ll even email you the results!
  • Self Grading for Instant Feedback – Display quiz results when a user finishes a quiz, so they know at a glance how they did.
  • Require correct answer – Force quiz-takers to answer questions correctly, and add custom help text when wrong answers are entered to help folks get to the right solution.
  • Timers and Page Controls – Set a time limit requirement for finishing the quiz, and control access to the back button.
  • Advanced Reporting – Highlight correct and incorrect answers, customize the columns that display, filter the results, and drill down to individual quiz submissions.

LibWizard Complete – Tutorials & Assessments

And then there’s the Tutorials/Assessments Wizard! Create interactive tutorials to show patrons how to use library’s tools and library’s services, and embed them directly at point of need. Create assessment modules to complement the instruction taught via LibGuides – automatically embed any LibGuide, and turn it into an Assessment – questions on the left, content on the right – just like the screenshot below.

lwz-libguide1

We could go on and on about how awesome this new tool is for all your tutorials/assessments/surveys/forms needs, but don’t take our word for it – check out this brief teaser video (ok, ok, it’s us who created the video, too, but it’s pretty cool and it will give you a very good idea of the usefulness of LibWizard, so do check it out).

And of course, we saved the best for last – a very “meta” demo straight out of Springy Labs. We created a pretty slick Interactive Tutorial which showcases the features and the potential of LibWizard, and the tutorial itself is created in – you guessed it – LibWizard. Mind. Blown! 😉

Interactive LibWizard Tutorial

As always, this wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing input, ideas, and suggestions from our clients so thank you all very much. LibWizard is a perfect complementary tool to LibGuides – the possibilities are truly endless so do drop us a note asap at sales@springshare.com or contact your favorite Springy and get started on LibWizard.

 

We Asked School Librarians One Question…

At the American Association for School Librarians Conference (AASL) in October, 2015 – we asked School Librarians one question.

Why do you love LibGuides?

And the responses we got were as varied as they were astonishing.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Holly Bunt, Library Director at Western Reserve Academy “My students tell me that ‘LibGuides Rocks'”.
  • Amanda Smithfield, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet “It may surprise you to know that many teenagers do homework after 11pm. With LibGuides, they have everything organized right there, and they can access my content 24hrs/day.”
  • Kristen Rosebrock-Hayes, Laurel School “The teachers love it, they think it’s phenomenal.”
  • Brett Daggs, Honeoye Falls High School “LibGuides is absolutely the best thing I’ve discovered in the past 24months. It’s going to reinvent the way I instruct.”
  • Linda Swarlis, Columbus School for Girls “We’re able to personalize LibGuides for every teacher and to every class.”

Watch the full video:

Link opens in a new window

AASL 2015

 

Come See Your Springy Pals at ALA MW!

Had enough eggnog for a while? Well, don’t let the parties stop after the new year! Your Springy Pals will be at ALA Midwinter this year, at booth 922. Check out our mobile conference site, made with the new mSite builder, on your smart phones! This way, you’ll always have Springy right in your pocket, literally.

What do we have to show you? Good stuff, of course!

We’ll be doing flash presentations on some of our newest and coolest things, like:

  • Discussion Boards in LibGuides CMS!
  • The new mSite Builder- make app-like sites quickly and easily!
  • LibCal’s been working out, and it looks great!
  • LibInsight’s still the best way to organize and analyze all the data you’ve got- we’ll show off our new LibInsight Lite, too.
  • The conversation starts here- with your patrons! Attend the LibChat Flash and learn about our Real-Time Reference tool with 24/7 Backup!
  • Meet LibWizard, your new best friend for gathering responses, making tutorials, and all sorts of neat stuff!

Meet us at booth 922 for 15-minute Flash Presentations! Check in at our booth!

Friday:

  • 6:00-6:15: LibGuides: Latest Updates
  • 6:25-6:40: LibInsight: Big Data

Saturday:

  • 9:30: LibGuides: Latest Updates
  • 10:30: Migrating to LibGuides v2: Q&A
  • 11:30: LibInsight: Big Data
  • 12:30: LibWizard: Quizzes, Surveys, Tutorials & More!
  • 1:30: LibChat: New Look & Feel: Real-Time Reference with 24/7 Backup
  • 2:30: Migrating to LibGuides v2: Q&A
  • 3:30: LibCal’s New Look & Feel

Sunday:

  • 9:30: LibCal’s New Look & Feel
  • 10:30: Migrating to LibGuides v2: Q&A
  • 11:30: LibChat: New Look & Feel: Real-Time Reference with 24/7 Backup
  • 12:30: LibGuides: Latest Updates
  • 1:30: LibWizard: Quizzes, Surveys, Tutorials & More!
  • 2:30: Migrating to LibGuides v2: Q&A
  • 3:30: LibInsight: Big Data

Monday:

  • 9:30: LibWizard: Quizzes, Surveys, Tutorials & More!
  • 10:30: Migrating to LibGuides v2: Q&A
  • 11:30: LibCal’s New Look & Feel
  • 12:30: LibChat: New Look & Feel: Real-Time Reference with 24/7 Backup

Update your Profile Pic!

Nothing says “your friendly neighborhood librarian” like a friendly profile photo. Need to update yours? We have you covered! Stop by our booth at the following times to have a quality headshot taken. We’ll email it to you after the conference. :)

michelle headshot

Get a headshot at ALA MW, booth 922!

 

  • Friday 6:00 – 7:00
  • Saturday, 2:30 – 4:00
  • Sunday, 9:00 – 10:00

We can’t wait to see all of you in Boston, and remember, that’s booth 922 for all the Springy goodness!

 

ALA midwinter exhibit hall map

Introducing LibAuth – Authentication for Springshare Tools

We are excited to announce a new tool in Springshare’s cloud platform of apps – LibAuth. LibAuth is our implementation of patron authentication inside Springshare apps and systems. This is important new functionality which will make Springshare tools even more useful and more applicable to a wide variety of use-case scenarios within libraries. We have big plans for LibAuth and will be enhancing it further to offer innovative authentication-based solutions and services to our libraries.

But first things first. LibAuth is a free module inside our LibApps platform.  In essence, if you use any of our v2 tools (LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, LibInsight, etc.) you automatically get LibAuth. Your Springshare LibApps admin configures LibAuth to link to the authentication method used at your institution. We currently support Shibboleth, LDAP, SAML, CAS, SIP2, and a remote self-hosted script option. If your institution relies on a method not listed here, please contact us and we’ll investigate how to make it happen! Springshare is also a member of InCommon and the UK Federation which makes authentication setup even easier for institutions who are members of either of these federations.

So, if you are the super-admin of Springshare tools at your institution (we call these LibApps admins) head to LibApps Dashboard -> Admin -> Manage Authentication (see screenshot below) and configure your authentication method.

LibAuth Setup Location

 

 

Click on the “Manage Authentication” link in the navbar to enter the details of your authentication method and select attributes to release to Springshare. It is very likely that you will need to work closely with your IT folks to set this up so we recommend that you have your IT folks on good terms 😉 while setting up LibAuth. The setup form also provides testing tools to ensure you set things up correctly.

Pro tip: LibAuth also lets you define and configure any number of “rules” – for example if certain functionality should only be available to faculty or to undergraduates etc – as long as your authentication supports it and you release the necessary attributes to Springshare, you can setup all sorts of rules to be used in Springshare (and later in non-Springshare) apps.

 

libauth-setup

 

 

Once you successfully setup your authentication scheme in LibAuth, here’s what happens next.

  1. At your option, your librarians with access to a LibApps account (to work on LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibInsight etc) can login to these tools using LibAuth, i.e. using their campus/library username/pwd.
  2. Starting tomorrow, LibCal room booking functionality is ready to work with LibAuth. Once you set up and verify your authentication method via LibApps, head to LibCal > Room Bookings > Settings > Edit Group to require LibAuth authentication for that group of rooms. If you’ve previously setup room booking authentication inside LibCal, we’ll automatically transfer those settings to LibAuth so you’re all set (but check the LibAuth console to confirm and do a couple of room booking tests, just to make sure).
  3. Over the next few weeks we will turn on authentication support for Event Registrations and Librarian Appointments so you will be able to restrict these (optionally of course) to your authenticated users (or groups) only.
  4. Over the next month we will turn on LibAuth authentication in our E-reserves module (our library reserves/reading list solution). This way our ER module will not only be the most affordable Reserves/Reading solution, but also one of the most secure ones too ;).
  5. In the next 3-4 months we will add support for LibAuth inside all of our apps, wherever and whenever needed. We’d love your feedback and ideas on this – email our support or sales teams and let us know where you think we should add authentication support (inside which Springshare apps and for what use-case scenarios). This is a really exciting and really big development for us, and we truly feel that adding authentication points inside our apps will bring many more use-case scenarios which will make your Springshare tools even more useful and will make you love ’em even more!
  6. Over the next 6-12 months we will be adding new products and services based on LibAuth capabilities, and we will be releasing an API to use LibAuth anywhere. Yes, we’re going there! We believe there are many opportunities ahead for providing seamless authentication that “just works” inside other library products and services. Send us your ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Last but not least – please bear with us over the next few weeks regarding support and fixing any issues you may encounter while setting up your authentication method in LibAuth. We did tons of testing but with so many different authentication setups out there the best way to test and fix any issues is to release it into the wild and invite everyone to start using it. So while this is not “beta” because the full functionality is there and it works, we appreciate your patience while we ensure that it works well for everyone.

Thank you to all our clients who helped us during LibAuth development, with your excellent feedback and suggestions. We’re starting 2016 with a bang, and we have so many new things in store for our clients this year (and beyond). Thank you all for being the best clients, ever!

-Slaven & The Springshare Team

 

Park View LibGuides: Learning on Their Time & Their Device

Stephanie Milles

Stephanie Mills
Park View Middle School

Stephanie Mills is a School Librarian at Park View Middle School in Cranston, Rhode Island. And to say that she is awesomazing, well, would be an understatement.

Through the Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids, Stephanie and 70 other School Libraries in Rhode Island, have access to LibGuides through a single shared LibGuides CMS system. This way, participating libraries get their own customizable group and as students navigate through from elementary to middle to high school in Rhode Island, they’ll only have to remember one URL: http://guides.rilinkschools.org. It’s a win-win for librarians, educators, students, and parents.

The RILINK offices connected Springshare with Stephanie because she had some amazing things to share about how she’s using LibGuides to connect students to learning on their time and any device.

Here’s what she had to say:

The library has long been “research central” in a traditional sense but the need for libraries to be open and accessible at all hours has truly become an essential part of my program at Park View Middle School in Cranston. LibGuides allow students to see projects that I am collaboratively teaching and work on those projects from home, at their leisure.

One project that has been taught utilizing the LibGuide and Google Drive is a Constitution Jigsaw Puzzle. My instruction helped students learn the format of a Works Cited page and how to utilize SpeedCite.com as a way to create citations. Students could visit my plagiarism page to watch a small video clip, and take an online test about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Students then used all of the research materials and databases on a specific LibGuide page designed for the assignment. The links brought them to YouTube clips, articles and reference sources to answer the questions. All of the student’s answers and citations were typed into a Google Doc and shared with me. The note taking sheet was designed so that as students clicked on it, it automatically created a copy and saved it to their Drive, where it could be edited and shared. The classroom teacher and I commented on everyone’s documents as they worked in real time so corrections to citations or answers could be made as students worked. Some students worked on their note sheets collaboratively. At night, if I received a notification that students were working, I could easily use my phone or iPad to comment on student work. The LibGuide also allowed me a built in opportunity for exit slips and formative assessments. Currently, the survey on the LibGuide is asking for student feedback as to whether or not the LibGuide helped streamline their research. One of the best features of the LibGuide is that it automatically shifts to a mobile version so students can access the content rich sites from anywhere.

Park View Middle School LibGuides

Park View Middle School LibGuides

One of the five laws of Library Science includes the law, “the library is a growing organism.” LibGuides has allowed my library program to grow extensively because students are using the website as gateway to learning from school, from the public library, from home and from the bus stop. As a staff member working with different teams, many content areas and two grade levels on a daily basis, I am able to use the site as a parking lot for all materials. I’ve also found that certain pages I’ve created for one teacher are being used by others. A student recently told me they were looking for information for a common task on Sparta. She commented that she used the LibGuide and found I had linked to information from PBS.org so she incorporated that into her research paper. No one had directed her there- she just remembered using the LibGuide for other assignments.

Using LibGuides for projects is just one of the ways I reach students outside of the library and school day- students can use our library catalog, place holds and see what other Park View students are reading through the main page. Our Twitter feed and Awesome Box stream on the homepage and students like to scroll through to find out what the hot new titles are or what students are working on in the library. A long time ago, someone said to me that libraries succeed when you “give ‘em what they want.” I believe that holds true today. Students want easy accessibility and guidance on where to turn for the best resources and LibGuides helps me provide just that.

LibAnswers 2.6.5: LibChat Updates Coming Soon!

We’re cooking up another great LibChat update that’s coming soon to a computer near you! We’re planning a chat server restart to bring these updates live on Wednesday, December 23rd at 8:00am EST. There will be no downtime for the LibAnswers system as a whole.

Over the past few months we have dedicated a lot of development time to making the most popular chat platform for libraries even better and the response from our library community has been amazing. Our job is never done, however, so this latest batch of updates is just another step in our commitment to constantly improve and enhance our tools. You are going to love these new LibChat-centric features so let’s get right to them…

 


New Chat Widget Builder

As we’ve been cranking away on offering sweet new features for LibChat, we figured it was time for a Chat Widget Builder refresh. LibChat widgets offer an unprecedented level of customization, and with this new refresh, the smorgasbord of customization options are 100% intuitive and easy to use. Here’s a quick preview:

NewWidgetBuilder

 

The new widget builder layout is designed around a simple theme – Widget Options on the left, Text and Color customization on the right, and help text offered at every step of the way. Widget Options cover how the widget functions in the wild – they’re how you control things like:

  • Widget Fallback Options – choose whether the widget should connect to a specific person, or to a chat department. If that person or department isn’t currently available, you can then choose as many fallback options as you’d like. A typical fallback might look something like: If Sarah is online, then connect new chats from this widget to Sarah; If Sarah isn’t online, then connect new chats from this widget to anyone in the Reference Department; If no one in the Reference Department is online, then connect to any department in my library; If no one in my library is available, then connect to our shared consortial chat service. This ensures a totally seamless experience for your patrons no matter who’s online!
  • Behavior Before the Chat – LibChat widgets support virtually any combination of welcome screen options. Some libraries prefer to prompt patrons for information prior to starting a chat, to collect things like the initial patron question, patron name and email address, or even a patron’s current status with the library. Other libraries prefer to skip initial questions entirely and jump straight into a chat. LibChat supports all of these potential setups with zero coding skills necessary – two clicks and you’re done!
  • Behavior During & After the Chat – Allow or Prevent file uploads, and create custom error messages for patrons who may have trouble connecting to your service due to outdated browsers.
  • Behavior When Chat is Offline – The heart of a good 24/7 service is connecting users to the help they need any time, anywhere. The Offline FAQ integration is here to help you do just that – if no one is available to chat, you can set your chat widgets to show a FAQ auto-suggest search box right in the widget, so patrons can connect directly to your other help content right at the point of need!

The right side of the widget is dedicated to text and color customizations. Literally every text element of the chat widget is fully customizable with zero coding skills- just click on the element you want to change, type in your text, and voila, you’re done! All colors are fully customizable as well – again, just click on the element you want to change, and you’ll see a color picker – pick any color you’d like, to fully brand each widget for your institution.

 


LibChat “Away” Status

Need to step away from your computer for a moment, but don’t want your LibChat service to appear offline while you’re away? Then the new Away status is for you! You’ll find this new option in the LibChat Operator Pane next to the Go Offline button:

setaway

 

 

When you enable the new Away setting:

Personal Widgets: Patrons will see an alert message informing them that while the chat is online, the operator is temporarily away; they can then re-check the status to see if a librarian is available.

Department Widgets: If multiple librarians are monitoring a department and one is set to Away, Department Widgets will continue to display as available. If all librarians monitoring a department set themselves to Away, the chat widget will then check to see if a fallback department is available. If all librarians are Away and there are no fallback departments available then patrons will see an alert message like the one below.

checkstatus

You can fully customize the Away message and the look of the widget (and our revamped widget builder page will make customizing this text even easier!). Here’s an example of what a typical Away message might read. Remember that all of this is customizable so you can pick and choose whatever message works best for you.

 


Idle Chat Hold Messages

Picture this: a chat patron asks a real humdinger of a question – like “How many helium filled balloons would it take to lift a person off the ground?”. While you’re engaged in the thrill of the hunt for an answer, you may find this type of question will take more than a few seconds to research – heck, you may even need to leave the desk to consult local reference materials. While this is exactly the type of researchy thrill that many of us live for, the downside is that while you’re on the hunt, the typical chat patron is left with “dead air” – every minute that ticks by is a minute where the patron is left wondering if you’re coming back…

That’s why we’re excited to announce our new Idle Chat Messages. These help to reassure patrons that you’re still actively working on tracking down an answer, automatically – so even if you’re away from your terminal, patrons will know you’re hard at work researching their question!

To create an Idle Chat message (once the update rolls out), click the “Manage Account” link from the orange command bar and scroll to the “Idle time” section. From here you’ll be able to define an idle message – like “I’m working hard on your question, thanks for your patience!” – along with the amount of time (in minutes) that should elapse before the message is shown.

 


Editing & Anonymizing Transcripts

We know how critical patron privacy is for libraries – that’s why we’re making it easy to anonymize patron information in your LibChat transcripts. Once the update rolls out, Admins will see a new option under LibChat > Chat Transcripts to Edit Chat Transcript. We’ve included 3 streamlined ways to edit patron information in transcripts with minimal clicks:

  • Convert [entered name] to “Patron” – this strips the name that the patron initially entered in the chat pane and changes it to “Patron”
  • Integrated Search and Replace – This allows you to automatically search on any word or phrase that may appear in a transcript (such as the patron barcode, name, etc.) and automatically replace it with either a blank space, or any text you’d prefer.
  • Click to Search – Click on any text in the transcript itself to search on that term or phrase, and use the search and replace tool to strip information as necessary.

edittranscript

 

We’ve also added a new system-level option for Admins which automatically removes Patron name from all transcripts upon saving. When this option is enabled, the system will automatically change whatever patron name entered upon entering chat to the customizable term (Patron, or Customer, or… whatever you choose).  Even when this “automatic anonymizing” system-level option is enabled by the Admin, you will still be able to go edit individual chat transcripts, if any other information needs to be changed in the transcript itself.

 


Saved Chat Operator Settings

Do you find yourself re-setting your LibChat settings – such as the departments and queues you monitor – each time you log in to LibChat? Then our new Saved Chat Settings are for you! With this new setting, you can create a login profile that applies every time you log in to your chat service. Just select which chat departments and LibAnswers queues you prefer to monitor by default, and we’ll apply those settings each time you log in to your chat service.

Once the update rolls out, head to the Manage Account area from the orange command bar to set your preferred default departments and queues to monitor when you sign into LibChat.

 


Backup & Off-Hours Chat Staffing Service

OK, we admit it – we’ve saved the best for last!  Many institutions and consortiums have told us they are very interested in using LibChat with a backup staffing option, for those times when they do not have enough staff options to offer full 24/7 (or weekend, or… whenever) online reference. We have worked long and hard on this and took the time to ensure that we are able to offer this service while maintaining the highest standards that Springshare is known for, and we’re thrilled to announce that this service is now available. So, if you need backup chat reference staffing, talk to us and we’ll provide you with a world-class super-duper knowledgeable staff of professional librarians with MLS degrees from accredited US library and information science schools to cover your chat reference 24/7 or during any time slots you need us, to ensure your patrons get the answers they need – whenever that is.  We are working on offering a full suite of professional services to academic, school, public, and special libraries so this chat backup staffing is just the first offering of more to come. :)

We are super excited about the evolution of LibChat and its “parent” LibAnswers, and we’re constantly working to make them even better. None of this would be possible without your most excellent feedback and ideas so please keep them coming – we love it and always want more J.  Please contact your Springshare regional manager, or our support & training team, or our chief springy Slaven (don’t believe the twitter hashtag rumors, he’s super-nice 😉 ) about these latest and greatest LibChat and LibAnswers offerings and tell us what else we should be doing to make them even better. Oh, and if you are going to MW ALA in Boston, please stop by our booth #1611 to say hello and talk to us about your chat backup staffing needs or anything else Springy-related.

Happy Holidays to All!

LibCal 2.3 Update – A New Look and a Whole Lot More!

The LibCal 2.3 update just rolled out, and we’re thrilled to introduce a whole new way of looking at Calendars and Events. There are so many things to love in this update – everything from the updated/modern look for calendar, event, and homepage displays, to the new tools that make it easier to find events, and the new event publishing workflow for managing the publication of events at larger libraries. Excited? Us too!

Calendar & Event Redesign

We’ve rolled out a new design for calendars and events. The new layout is more focused on events themselves with easy to use filters and search options to help users find events of interest.

 

NewListView

 

The new stuff includes:

  • Event Search – Integrate a new event search box on your LibCal homepage, and folks can search for events of interest!
  • Browse and Filter for Events Across Calendars – These changes also mean your users can view, browse, and filter for events across multiple calendars in your system! Browse and filter all calendars, or limit to just a couple of calendars in your system.
  • List View and Monthly Calendar View – As users search and filter for events in your calendars, they’ll be able to quickly switch between List and Monthly view and see their results in the format that makes the most sense.
  • Perma-linking to Search & Filtered Results – Now you can link directly to calendars with filtered search results.

Exciting right? Along with these new public page updates, we’ve also redesigned the Create Event screen to make it faster and more intuitive to create new events. We’ve added new features here too, including:

  • Event Draft Mode – Not quite ready to publish an event you’re working on? Event Draft Mode is here to save the day! You’ll see this option at the end of the Add Event screen – as you save the event, you’ll see the option to set the event status to Published, or to Save it as a Draft so you can come back and finish it later!
  • Featured Images – Looking for a way to make your events pop? Add a featured image and help each event stand out from the rest!
  • Redesigned Day & Date Controls – We’ve retooled the layout and controls for date and time entry, making the process of entering date and time faster and more intuitive.
  • Related LibGuides – Select a related guide from your LibGuides system, and we’ll show a link to this guide below the description field.

With these new features, it was also time to redesign the standard Event Template and associated template editing screen. You can see an example of the new template in the screenshot below – to update your site to this new template, Admins can head to Admin > Look and Feel > Event Page Editor > Edit Template, then click the option to Restore Default Template.

 

NewEvents

 

Homepage Redesign

With the awesome new look of the calendar homepage, we figured it was also time to revamp the look of the LibCal homepage. You can view a live sample of the new homepage layout on our demo site at http://springylib.libcal.com/ – our goal was to create a layout that’s clean, informative, search-friendly, and just plain gorgeous!

If you’re ready to switch to the new homepage layout, it’s easy! Admins, head to Admin > Look and Feel > Homepage Editor and click the “Reset” link. This handy button will update your homepage to the new look with just one click, and you can then add desired content & options to make it look exactly the way you want (e.g. add library contact info, a carousel of featured events, etc.).

a screenshot of the homepage editor with the Reset link highlighted

Event Publishing Workflow

We’ve added a new tool to help admins establish and maintain more consistency in the events being published in your systems! Modeled after the publishing workflow in LibGuides CMS, the new publishing workflow will help sites maintaining a large number of events keep track of everything being published in your system, and ensure that standards are followed.

Here’s how it works: Admins, head to any calendar in your system and select Settings > Publishing Workflow. Select as many reviewer accounts as necessary to approve events within this calendar – these folks will receive an email each time a new event is submitted; they’ll also see a notification on their LibCal dashboard alerting them to any new events that require approval. If you’re not an approver in a calendar, all events you create will require approval prior to publication.

Calendar Permissions

If your LibCal site is managing multiple event calendars, then this feature is for you! We wanted to give sites who manage lots of calendars more fine-grained controls over which users in your system can add and edit events in specific calendar. This is particularly useful for sites using calendars for multiple branches, or even multiple libraries – now you can limit folks to working in just the calendars they need.

How you ask? Easy! Admins, head to any calendar in your system and select Settings > Calendar Permissions > Custom Permissions List. You’ll see a list of all of the regular-level account holders in your system, and you can assign each user one of 3 permission levels:

  • Event Admin – Allows the user to create/edit ANY event. These users can’t change Calendar Settings.
  • Editor – Allows the user to create/edit their own events only
  • Read-Only – Allows the user to view events only (but not create new events or edit any existing events – this is an informational-only account level)

Event Import

Are you considering migrating from another calendar system to LibCal? Well heck, we want to make it easy for you! In this update we’ve added the option for a one-time event import from other calendaring systems.

Here’s one more screenshot of the new calendar look, just because it’s so pretty… :)

 

NewMonthView

 

 

As always, a huge thanks to all the LibCal clients who helped us make this update a reality, with their awesome suggestions, tips, and ideas. Keep ‘em coming, please… we’re on a mission to create the best calendaring platform for libraries and this LibCal 2.3 update is another step in this direction, with many more to follow… Thanks and Happy Holidays to all! Don’t forget to update your LibCal calendars with Holiday hours and listing of Holiday events 😉

Using LibCal to Create Dynamic Digital Signage

The University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library runs a program of drop-in sessions to cater to new and returning students. The sessions are over a 6-week period with up to eight individual sessions each day. In 2014, upcoming sessions were displayed on digital signage manually. The manual nature of updating the digital signage resulted in updates being missed and past sessions being shown. So, in 2015, the Library decided to do something different using LibCal Calendar Widgets! Mike Ewen, the LLI Online Coordinator, reached out and let us know what they’re doing!

Digital Signage at Hull University

Digital Signage @ Hull University
using LibCal Calendar Widgets

LibCal Calendar Widgets to the Rescue!

A specific induction calendar was populated with the drop-in sessions and each session assigned to one of four categories to allow the widgets to target them specifically. The visibility of the calendar was set to internal as only widget access was required. (Springy Note: You can create an internal calendar and still utilize public-facing widgets if you only intend to display the widgets, and not the full calendar, to your public.)

LibCal Calendar Widget Set-Up

The following widget settings were used:

  1. Widget Type – Upcoming Events List
  2. Filter by categoryRelevant drop-in category
  3. Event Details – Simple List
  4. Widget Request Format – JavaScript

Widget: JavaScript & CSS Tweaks

The  LibCal Calendar Widget JavaScript code provides the required data but for our purposes we only needed to display the next three events with time and date. To achieve this we made two small changes in the JavaScript, highlighted in red below:

Calendar widget embed code

Changing “ul” to “br” switches the formatting from a bullet list to a series of lines breaks. And changing the “l=5” to “l=3” means that only the next three events would display in the widget.

We created separate webpages for each drop-in category and embedded the LibCal Widgets in them. We then applied the following CSS to each page to style the widgets to our liking:

Custom CSS code

 

The Result?

LibCal Calendar Widgets: Before & After

LibCal Calendar Widgets: Before & After

Creating the Digital Signage

Finally, we displayed the separate web pages with the embedded LibCal Calendar widgets, using multiple webpage plugins, in our digital signage solution. The final output is displayed below.

Once the signage was set up we could leave it to run knowing that as soon as an event had ended, it would automatically be replaced by the next upcoming event! Bye bye manual, hello automation! :)

University of Hull Digital Signage

University of Hull Digital Signage using LibCal Calendar Widgets

 

Big thanks to Mike Ewen and the folks at the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library for sharing this awesome LibCal Calendar usage!

Got Questions? Contact University of Hull Library!

Mike Ewen

Carl Barrow

LibGuides 2.1.9 Update Live!

Hello Springyverse! On this hopefully-beautiful-where-you-are day, we want to add a little more sunshine with a bunch of new LibGuides features. :)

This is a long one, so hold on to your hats and enjoy the read…

mSite Builder is here!

mSite Builder: Mobile Menu Example

mSite Builder: Mobile Menu Example

mSite Builder is the next generation of LibGuides v1’s Mobile Site Builder…but trust us when we say, it’s a totally different animal. You’ll get up to speed right away, since adding boxes and content items is the same (or similar to) adding them in guides. You can even reuse Assets from your LibGuides system – hooray for leveraging content!

LibGuides is built on a mobile-first platform, so this is not intended to replace your LibGuides pages / site on mobile / handheld devices.
This is for creating mobile versions of your library website / other library-related content outside of LibGuides.

With mSites, you can make any site mobile-friendly using our handy redirect option – this catches anyone viewing the site using a mobile device and redirects them to your uber friendly mobile landing page. Plus, you can integrate widgets from LibCal, LibAnswers, LibSurveys, or any other site that provides widgets. It’s even super easy to add icons to your mSite thanks to the fully integrated Font Awesome icon library.

But why stop at creating mobile menus for your website? Let your imagination run wild! Create info sites / micro sites / interactive sites / app-like sites – whatever you want to call them. For example, create sites for: a self-led tour of exhibits, a self-led orientation / tour for folks to walk around the campus or library, classroom assessment / feedback opportunities, and so much more. We’re sure you all could think of a slew of ideas for learn-as-you-walk (or sit 😉 ) tools!

The mSite Builder area is available to Admin level users (and Regular users with elevated account privileges in CMS) – you’ll head to Content > mSite Builder to try out the new awesome. :)

This is an additional module for LibGuides and LibGuides CMS. When you subscribe, you can create up to 5 sites. If you want more, we can (of course!) make that happen, too! Interested? Contact our amazing sales team to get started.


Public Discussion Boards (CMS only)

The link to the System-wide Discussion Board, which can be added to your site's homepage.

System-wide Discussion Boards button on the LibGuides homepage.

We brought you internal boards in the last release, so it just makes sense that public boards would be in this one! Public discussion boards allow you to engage with your community right in your site – both on a system-wide board for general conversation and on individual guides. If you’ve used the internal boards, you know what to expect…and if you haven’t, it’s time to check it all out!

For the moment, use of public discussion boards is limited to folks with LibApps accounts in your system and users you invite to create accounts. (More info on invitations is below – trust us, it’s fantastic.) There’s a brand new account level for Patrons that allows your community to join in on the discussion board fun without giving them access to the admin side of the system. It won’t be invite-only forever, of course…unless you want it to be. 😉 We’ll be adding in other options to allow users to request or just create Patron accounts as well as an overall admin setting so you can choose what method is right for your system.

  • The System-wide board is available for general conversation among your community. Easily add the button to your homepage in the Admin > Look & Feel > Page Layout > Homepage area. If you have a custom guide as your homepage, you can add the link there (or anywhere) by adding /discussions.php to the end of your LibGuides CMS URL. (For example, http://testdrive.libguidescms.com/discussions.php)
  • Guide boards are added like any other page in your guide. Add a new page and choose Discussion from the “Type” dropdown – boom! Discussion board! Like all other pages, you can reorder it / place it anywhere and set the visibility of the page. There are also a couple of Board Management options:
    • Notification Options – anything from manual addition of notifications discussion-by-discussion to “follow everything!”. Guide owners & editors set these notifications separately.
    • Guide Owners & Guide Editors can invite Patron-level users with the Invite Patron Users link.
  • Tags for Internal and Public boards are separate. We’re looking into / planning for allowing tag creation at the individual board level (vs. one big set for all boards), so keep that in mind as you create tags.
  • You get all of the same great functionality as Internal Boards, too! Mark a discussion as a question and select the Best Answer, mark a reply as Helpful, close / re-open a discussion at any time, set notification options for each discussion, edit / delete your own discussions/replies, etc.

An example of a public discussion board on a guide.
Example of a public discussion board on a guide.


Invite Users to Create Accounts

As mentioned above, there’s some new account related functionality in all systems! Admin-level users can go to Admin > Accounts > Invitations and invite users to create accounts at any level. Just add the users’ email addresses, choose the account level, and send those invites. Those folks will get an email with a link inviting them to create an account in your system. Once they submit that form, their account creation is complete & they’ll get an email welcoming them to the system. You can resend or revoke invitations at any time.

Don’t forget that with LibGuides CMS, Admins, Guide Owners, and Guide Editors can also invite Patron level users from Discussion pages in their guides, using the Invite Patron Users link!

No more individual account creation! (Unless you want to, of course.) Just add folks’ email addresses and invite them to create their own account. :)

Admin > Account invitations area.
Admin > Account invitations area.


Other Additions, Modifications, and Fixes

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGEFloating box option on the public page of the guide - no header, border, or padding!

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Floating box option on the public page of the guide – no header, border, or padding!

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Floating box option on the Guide Edit screen – note the life ring icon!

  • Floating Boxes! How many times have you used CSS to hide box headers? Now you can hide box headers, borders, and remove the padding around the content with one click! (Well, okay, maybe more than one, but you get the idea. 😉 ) When adding or editing boxes, check the box next to the “Floating Box” heading & Save. Boom – done! The header will display on the guide edit screen so you can get to the box edit menu, but it will not display on the public side – use the Preview button to check it out! As a visual cue that the box has that attribute set, you’ll see a life ring icon in the box header.
  • More LTI Updates:
    • You can now add the tool to the nav of your course sites at either the Account or Course level.
    • When using the Full LibGuide > Match by Metadata option, we made it easier to figure out which LMS attribute to use by changing that field to a dropdown list of available options.
  • More E-Reserves Updates:
    • Password protect the E-Reserves Request Form.
    • Course Name, Number, and Instructor fields are now required.
    • New user level: Contributor. E-Reserves subscribers now have an additional user level in their systems. The Contributor level user is much like the Editor level user, except they are also allowed to create new Courses.
    • Terms is now separated out into its own tab, for ease of maintenance.
    • Add/Edit Items: (almost) all fields now on one screen (Copyright status is still on a separate tab.)
    • Reordering of Folders on the Course Edit screen has been consolidated into one menu at the top.
    • When on the Course Edit screen, the tabs for Courses, Items, etc., will be hidden, minimizing the clutter on the page. Use the “Back to Course List” button to get back to the main Course list / other tabs.
  • New class options for tables in the Rich Text Editor.

    New class options for tables in the Rich Text Editor.

    Tables in the Rich Text Editor:
    Have you (literally) run into padding issues when inserting or editing tables inside the Rich Text Editor? Good news! We’ve swapped out the default classes for more friendly Bootstrap styles. This means that the borders of your tables will no longer display right up next to your text. We all need a big of breathing room! :)
    Tables existing before this code release are unaffected.

    • By default, Bootstrap’s table and table-bordered classes are used for newly created tables. This means your table will have borders and some standard cellpadding.
    • Other Bootstrap classes / class combinations are also available. Check out their page on their table classes to see what each class means.
    • If you want to change the classes used on tables created prior to this release, edit that box, right click and choose Table Properties, and select a new class option from the Class dropdown.
  • Dashboard / Home Screen Update for E-Reserves Customers:
    If you subscribe to E-Reserves, you’ll now see a second “shortcuts” box on your Home screen dedicated to the E-Reserves area. Only folks who have access to E-Reserves will see this box. (For example: if you have Editor level accounts in the system who aren’t added to E-Reserves Courses as Course Editors, they won’t see that box.)
  • Fixes:
    • Issues with the Serials Solutions database import have been resolved.
    • We are no longer caching the LibGuides CMS API. All calls are real-time.
    • “Sort Link Group” (or books or databases or files) sorts correctly.
    • Files are copied when guides containing Document/File assets are copied between sites.
    • The Guide List content item only lists Published guides. (For CMS users: If guides in Internal Groups are published, they will display in the list. The access restrictions are still in place, however, so a user may not see / be able to access that guide based on their account permissions.)
    • When embedding LibGuides widgets in LibGuides pages, the statistics tracking code from the widgets no longer conflicts with the statistics tracking code on the page.
    • Statistics for E-Reserves Course pages in guides are now being tracked. (The guide page hit itself in the Guide > Pages statistics report.) A link has also been added to the Guide > Page statistics pointing to the course statistics in the E-Reserves Statistics area.
    • In Statistics, if you choose an end date prior to today, the table sticks to the timeframe entered vs. displaying the extra columns from your entered end date through today. (This only happened the first time a report was run; subsequent reports behaved normally.)

LibInsight SUSHI Integration is HERE!

Fish might not go well with our American customers’ Thanksgiving Day turkey, but boy do we have a LibInsight update that we hope you’ll be thankful for—SUSHI integration.

What’s SUSHI? It’s a protocol that enables LibInsight to connect directly to your e-resources vendors for data retrieval, eliminating the middle steps of downloading files from your vendors and uploading them into your E-Journals / Databases or eBooks datasets.   Reports available currently are JR1 (r3 & r4), DB3 (r3), PR1 (r4), and BR2 (r4).

Set Up

To get started, go to Admin > SUSHI Providers to add and manage your connections:

The Add a SUSHI provider screen
For each vendor from which you’ll make requests, you’ll need this information:
  • The SUSHI web service URL
  • Your Requestor ID
  • Your Customer ID

Request a Report

Once you have your datasets and SUSHI credentials set up, head to Record Data > your dataset > choose Platform > SUSHI Harvesting. Select the provider, report type, and time period, click Get Report, and kick back while the data is retrieved for you.

screenshot of SUSHI harvesting request

Be sure to retrieve fewer than 12 months at a time, as that’s usually the maximum that providers allow. We’ll process large files on the server for you and email you when the data is available for analysis.  The data retrieved via SUSHI is included seamlessly along with other data that you add to your e-resources datasets, be they COUNTER reports, generic data, or manually-entered numbers.

Need to Undo? No Problem!

Like with other data entry to E-Journals / Databases and eBooks datasets, you can overwrite data or add to the existing values, and if you need to undo any report, you can do so by going to Record Data > your dataset > choose Platform > Uploads List.

screenshot of a platform's Uploads List demonstrating the SUSHI file naming convention in LibInsight

As with retrieval, we will email you when a file you delete is completely removed from your dataset.

Want to know more about SUSHI? Check out NISO’s General or Librarian FAQs. Also see the Datasets for Databases, E-Journals and eBooks guide in our support site (login required) for more information.