Archive for April 26, 2008

Adding LibGuides Search Provider to FireFox

Tiffany sent us another great tip for the blog – this time explaining how she created a custom search plug-in for her LibGuides site at DePauw University.  Here are instructions on how you can create one for your library.

1) Start out at the MOZDEV website located at http://mycroft.mozdev.org/submitos.html.  Check the “show full instructions” box so that you can get some assistance creating your plug-in.

2) Provide values for the first six fields on the page; we have a LibGuides image that you are welcome to use if you would like: http://springshare.com/blog-images/libguides.gif

3) Use the following address for the search URL, but be sure to replace “demo.libguides.com” with your LibGuides URL: http://demo.libguides.com/search.php?search={searchTerms}

4) Select one of the Education categories and enter a comment describing the plug-in; the rest of the values can be left at their default values or can be customized as needed.  Click the Generate and Submit buttons to finish creating the component.

5)  After submitting the plug-in, you will be taken to a page where you can install it in your browser.  You should bookmark or save this URL so you can provide it to other librarians and patrons as needed.

Once the plug-in is installed, you can search your LibGuides site by typing in the FireFox search bar (top-right corner) and selecting the LibGuides icon from the drop-down menu.  This will take you directly to the LibGuides search results page for whatever term(s) you entered.  Pretty neat!

We have created a custom search provider for the LibGuides Community site, which allows you to search across the entire universe of LibGuides content.  As of this afternoon that covers 42,000 pages on 6500 subject guides, created by 3000 users at 176 libraries worldwide.  This is a great resource for researchers as well as content creators, as it exposes users to subject information and ideas from all over the world.

Custom search providers can also be created for Internet Explorer; for detailed instructions please see our earlier blog post titled “Adding LibGuides Search Provider to IE7“.

Exporting LibGuides Reports to Excel

To further support integration with 3rd party applications and services, LibGuides can now export its statistics reports into two new formats.

The “Plain” option will display your report in a new window, formatted in such a way that it can easily be copied and pasted into another application or sent to your printer.  The “Excel” option will allow you to view the selected report in Microsoft Excel, or any other application that supports the XLS file format.  In addition, we still have the “Standard” report that looks great in the browser and is best for quickly viewing reports right inside LibGuides.

Thanks to Jason for suggesting we add this functionality to LibGuides; we look forward to receiving your feature requests and suggestions at  support@springshare.com.

Full Text Search in LibGuides

We’re pleased to announce the availability of full-text search in LibGuides. The full text search is available on individual LibGuides sites as well as for the community site (if you haven’t checked out the community site yet, what are you waiting for? – http://community.libguides.com). Unlike our previous search function which only searched the guide titles/descriptions/tags, the new search is true full text, i.e. it searches all content in LibGuides.

The search is a) blazingly fast, and b) relevance-based, but in order to make it so we had to make one compromise – your newly published guides will not be searchable immediately after they’ve been published. The search is similar to google search, i.e. we index the search content periodically – once a day to start with, but as we improve our search technology the indexing will happen several times per day.

There are still a few little issues to work out so we’ll consider this a “beta” search release. If you encounter problems or issues please let us know.

Dublin Core (DC) metadata in LibGuides

Based on feedback and ideas from our clients we are pleased to announce the availability of Dublin Core metadata in individual guides. This will help your catalog and search products index the guides more effectively. So far we’ve included the standard set of DC meta tags (see example below), but if you think we need to include more of these meta tags, please let us know.

For example, if you check out a sample LibGuide on our demo site – http://demo.libguides.com/content.php?pid=257 the DC meta tags for it are:

<meta name="DC.Title" content="LibGuides. Finding Newspapers. Home.">
<meta name="DC.Creator" content="Kenneth Liss">
<meta name="DC.Subject" content="newspapers news media journalism history">
<meta name="DC.Description" content="This guide describes sources of current, contemporary (recent past), and historical newspapers available in print or electronically via the Boston College Libraries and/or on the Web. ">
<meta name="DC.Publisher" content="Springshare University">
<meta name="DC.Unused" content="Contributor, Date, Type, Format, Identifier, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage, Rights">

As we always point out, LibGuides is a community-led effort so please keep sending us your ideas, feedback, and suggestions to make LibGuides better for the benefit of everybody involved.

 Muchas Gracias!

Beyond Research – LibGuides at DePauw University

Tiffany was nice enough to send us an email this week, showing an innovative way that DePauw University has expanded their LibGuides system beyond subject-based research.  She describes the project focus as follows…

“While we value our role in supporting curricular and research needs, academic librarians should also support their students’ needs for extracurricular, recreational, health, and other information, just as a public library does. We can and should provide resources about current and campus events, such as visiting speakers, colloquia, festivals, and exhibits.”

In order to attract and keep visitors, these “extracurricular” pages must be even more dynamic than those required for a specific course or lecture.  To accomplish this, Tiffany and her colleagues have made use of the RSS, audio and video support provided in LibGuides to create guides that are both current and engaging to students.  Here are just a few examples from their site:

National Poetry Month
College & University News
Election 2008
DePauw’s Food Initiatives

Tiffany and Kathryn will be hosting a poster session on this topic at this year’s summer ALA conference in Anaheim.  We will be sure to post more information on this, and any other LibGuides related sessions, a few weeks before the show.

Springshare @ CIL Conference

Just a reminder that Springshare will be at the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference next week in Arlington, VA.   If you are attending the conference, please set aside some time to come by booth #214 and say hello.  We will be doing live demos of LibGuides and will have product brochures available – perfect for taking back to the director or purchasing officer at your library!

During the conference there will be two presentations that discuss real-world implementations of LibGuides; we recommend you try to attend both if time allows.   The first session, “Library Web Presence: Engaging the Audience” (B102 – 11:30am), will discuss how to improve library web services, using the LibGuides implementation at Temple University as an example.

The second presentation, “Facebook Apps & Libraries Friendly Future” (C203 – 1:30pm), will show how libraries can leverage the power of social networking to engage their students in new ways.  For additional information regarding these sessions, please check out the full CIL schedule online.

We look forward to seeing you there!