Archive for June 27, 2008

Honorable Mentions: Anaheim Edition

Library Lady Dee posted about adapting LibGuides to document internal library procedures and policies.  While the “hit by a bus” analogy is a bit of a downer, the idea of reaching out from beyond the grave to instruct on ILL intricacies makes up for it.  Thank you Dee, and please be careful crossing the street!

Cindi has created a great LibGuides intro video for the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2008 and will also be hosting a LibGuides chat tomorrow afternoon (June 28th).  Be sure to check out citegeist.com for more information.  Thanks Cindi!

Finally, an important post found on the University of Iowa library news page; “We have recently added a guide with information on flood recovery – and with special attention to public health issues. This guide is available at http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/floodrecovery.  All of these resources are available to the public.”

New Springshare Website is Live

Our new website is live at http://springshare.com and we think it came out great!

Be sure to check out the new video on the LibGuides page.

Another LibGuides Related Presentation @ ALA

The excellently titled “Research Guides Remixed” – hosted by Steven from Princeton University and Margaret from Oregon State – will cover the creation of research guides via LibGuides as well as Oregon’s ICAP.

Part of the ACRL College Science Librarian’s Discussion Group, the session takes place Sunday, June 29th, 2008  01:30 pm – 03:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Orange County (HYATT) Salon I.

Springshare’s Libguides, Oregon State University’s open source ICAP (Interactive Course Assignment Pages) and other systems are making it easier to create web-based research guides that appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of our patrons and lead them to the scholarly resources they need. In this year’s discussion group, we will talk about these research guide management systems and explore best practices for their use in science libraries.

This session will feature two “Pecha Kucha” presentations from librarians who have experience with these systems. Pecha Kucha, Japanese for “chatter”, is a new presentation format that limits each presenter to 20 slides and gives them 20 seconds to talk about each (6 minutes and 40 seconds per presenter.) Following the presentations, we will discuss these systems and share creative ways to enhance web-based research guides using “Web 2.0” technologies.

Springshare @ ALA Annual Conference

Just a reminder that we will be at the ALA Annual conference in Anaheim, CA later this month.  If you are attending the conference, please set aside some time to come by booth #874 and introduce yourself.

During the conference, Tiffany and Kathryn from DePauw will be hosting a poster session titled “Guides 2.0: Supporting Campus Programming and Current Events” that explores LibGuides beyond traditional subject guides.  From the session abstract…

“Academic librarians have long maintained general pathfinders for subjects like art, biology, and sociology, and course-specific guides to support instruction. 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.

DePauw
University’s librarians are finding new ways to support campus activities and engage with student and faculty interests.”

We highly recommend you attend this session which will take you “beyond subject guides” and introduce some new LibGuides tricks.

Google Search Box as a Content Box Type

Among the new features we announced today, the “Google Search Box” content box type is perhaps the most important because it is a harbinger of future functionality for searching content inside LibGuides boxes.

Our grand plan for world library domination involves creating a set of APIs which anybody (e.g. library techies who wish to create native catalog search content box in LibGuides, or database publishers who wish to create a content box for searching of their database content within LibGuides) can use to create their own content box types and include them in the content box library inside LibGuides. We will release these APIs later this year, but the Google Search box gives you an idea of how these custom search boxes will work.

When you create a Google Search Box (it is listed as the last option in the Box Types list), you’ll get a blank box with a search form inside. Just like with any other box type, you can add introductory text by clicking on the “add text” link. An example of this would be to provide instructions on searching, or some examples of search terms.

After performing a search (in admin mode) you will notice the “make this the default query” option at the beginning of search results. This enables you to define a default query whose results will appear in the search box when the user loads the page for the first time.

The box displays top 20 results from Google and at the bottom provides the link to Google Search page for more result matches.

New LibGuides Features Announced

Our tech guys have been busy cranking out code so we have another batch of new features to announce. They all come as a direct result of the suggestions and ideas from our customers, so keep up the great work and continue providing us constructive feedback.

The new features we are announcing today are:

  1. Enhanced user profiles. The system administrators can now define up to 5 additional fields for user profiles. For example “What I do in the libraries”, “What I’m reading now”, “Favorite Website”, etc. (you get the idea). Creating these additional fields will enable you (the librarians) to provide a bit more information about yourself that may be interesting to patrons. Sys-admins can define these questions in the “Custom Fields” screen, under the System Settings tab.
    Once these optional questions are defined, they will show up in the Customize Profile screen for individual librarians
  2. Friendly URLs that do not redirect in the user’s browser bar. Most of you know that you can define a “friendly URL” for your guides, but when the user typed the friendly URL in the browser bar, the system would redirect them to the real url, which ends with content.php?pid=xxxx. We have figured out a way to keep the friendly URLs in the user’s browser bar, without redirecting to the internal url. For example, check out http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/srop and notice that the friendly URL now stays in your browser bar.
  3. Friendly URLs for profile pages. Just like you can define a friendly URL for your guides, now you can also define a friendly URL shortcut for your LibGuides profile pages. The format of the URL will be http://yourdomain/profile/shortcut. The shortcut is defined in the “Customize Profile” option on the main admin page.

    Check out an example of the profile shortcut http://demo.libguides.com/profile/slaven
  4. The ability for guide owners to associate their guides with more than one category. You asked for it – we delivered.
  5. The ability for guide owners to define more than 3 editors. Note that when you create a new guide the form still limits you to 3 editors, but then on the guide admin page, under “Add/change editors” drop-down option you can add as many more editors as you’d like.
  6. Links and Lists content box type. We renamed “Web Links with more information” content box into “Links and Lists” and made the URLs optional, so now you can mix and match links with non-link items when creating lists.
  7. Introduction of “Google Search Box” content box. This is an important new feature so we will do a separate blog post about it. In short, it enables your users to search Google directly from inside the content box. Also, you can define a “default search term” whose results will show inside the box when the user first loads the page.

New Look of the LibGuides Community Site

Based on the feedback from our users, we have revamped the LibGuides community site. The URL is still the same – http://community.libguides.com so check it out when you have a moment.

Besides the cleaner look, we have added a new feature – “Browse Institutions” which enables you to filter and find institutions by State/Country, in addition to the old method of filtering institutions alphabetically. So, now you can find all LibGuides institutions in Florida, for example, as well as Canada, Australia, etc. (yes, we are growing world-wide)

Jump to the LibGuides Community Site. 

Customizing the Look and Feel of LibGuides

As most of our LibGuides admins know, there is a  system-wide customization screen in the Admin functions area (under the System Settings tab). This screen enables you to customize the look and feel of your LibGuides system. With a bit of knowledge of html and css style sheets, you can go a step further and truly customize every aspect of the look and feel of your LibGuides.

To help you along, we created a LibGuide called “Customizing the Look and Feel of LibGuides” – it is available at http://demo.libguides.com/customization. The guide also contains a gallery of links to LibGuides systems that took full advantage of the customization options to achieve a custom look and feel. You will find these links under “The Gallery” tab. So, check out this guide for the inspiration and for how-to in terms of customizing your LibGuides.

Customizing the Look and Feel of LibGuides

Monthly LibGuides Stats – May 2008

Here are the most recent cummulative stats for the LibGuides community.

Community Sites: 215
Librarian Accounts: 3556
Total Guides: 7973
Total Pages: 49,225