Archive for September 27, 2010

New Features for LibGuides/CampusGuides and LibAnswers

Over the weekend we successfully completed another major code update (without any system downtime – kudos to our tech team!) and rolled out many new features. Watch for the full details of all new features in our upcoming October newsletter, but here is the summary:

LibGuides/CampusGuides:

  1. Mobile interface for your guides! The system auto-detects mobile devices and serves the mobile version. It’s pretty cool, check it out. Also, we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon, but watch for a super-major announcement in a few weeks – a cool new tool which lets libraries easily build mobile websites. The process will be as easy and as fun as creating guides!
  2. Including non-LibGuides guides in the LibGuides index. Now you can create “placeholder” guides in the system which can point to non-LibGuides pages, and display those pages alongside your LibGuides/CampusGuides content. Say you have a page which you want to make accessible/searchable from LibGuides. Now, you can place that page’s URL in your system, assign it all the standard LibGuides markup (title/description/tags/subject categories/etc.), and display it alongside your LibGuides/CampusGuides. This way your LibGuides/CampusGuides can aggregate *all* research and guide-related content at the library. The potential of this is far-reaching, to say the least!
  3. Unique CSS class for each box type. Now you can customize the look and feel of individual box types to your heart’s content.
  4. Folder support for E-Reserves (CampusGuides-only).
  5. More streamlined way to import your course lists into E-Reserves module (CampusGuides-only). We can help you import your course lists into our E-Reserves module simply by populating a simple Excel spreadsheet.
  6. Updated Asset Management screen (now includes “Books from the Catalog”) and Guide Index screen (more/better filtering options for finding guides).
  7. Custom Homepage Redirect – now you can assign a custom guide to act as your LibGuides/CampusGuides homepage (rather than the system default) by using the “Custom Homepage Redirect” option in your Customize Homepage screen.

LibAnswers:

  1. Keywords for enhanced searching/better auto-suggest matches. Now you can include up to 5 keywords with each Q&A pair. These are hidden fields (for the patron) but they will greatly enhance searching/finding answers).
  2. Much improved SMS Module. It now includes “Send a follow-up” option for librarian to send a follow-up message to the patron, to make sure their question has been answered. We  also have new and improved SMS Statistics with detailed charts for auto-responders, keyword-responses, turnaround time, “direct messages”, and more!
  3. The new LibAnswers html widget. Fully customizable html widget which can be embedded into any webpage, to make searching the knowledge base available from anywhere – literally.
  4. The Reference Analytics module can now track up to 10 fields (up from 6) and each field can have up to 30 values (vs 25 in the old version)
  5. Librarians can record Analytics information right on the “answer” page, without having to be redirected to the Analytics module screens. This makes recording analytics a snap!
  6. Improved Statistics screens – more charts and graphs, more statistics options, and the ability to filter statistics range by day (as opposed to monthly statistics in the old version).
  7. You can now use the handy “Edit Answer” link on the public question/answer screen to edit/update questions (rather than searching for the question in the Admin interface).

There are many other “small improvements and fixes” for both products, but we wanted to give you the heads-up on the most important changes in this post. The full details will follow in our Newsletter next month.

Many of these new features were developed as a direct result of your suggestions and feedback, so here’s a big THANKS to everyone who contributed ideas and helped with testing. Please let us know what you think!

Promoting your LibAnswers SMS/Texting service

Our client libraries will really like this new thing we’re doing – namely, we have started creating marketing/advertising/pr materials to help our clients promote the wonderful things they are doing with our products – LibAnswers, LibGuides, and CampusGuides.

The first marketing/advertising “how to” we put together is for LibAnswers – http://help.springshare.com/advertisingsms. It’s full of great ideas and practical advice about how to encourage patrons to use your LibAnswers SMS service – things like tear-away flyers with your SMS number, business card stickers, adding your SMS number to your databases, using keywords in classroom instruction, etc. There are many *free* templates you can download and customize for use within your library.

http://help.springshare.com/advertisingsms. Use it, and don’t lose it! 🙂

If you don’t have our SMS/Texting module for LibAnswers, check out what you’re missing!

Monthly LibGuides Stats – August 2010

Viewing the numbers from last month, its pretty clear that our community is ramping up for another school year with LibGuides and CampusGuides!  In August we saw the creation of our 100,000th research guide, and very soon our page total will go over the 700,000 mark and our membership will grow to over 1600 libraries worldwide.  Quite an accomplishment for our community members to say the least!

Community Sites: 1598
Librarian Accounts: 23,342
Total Guides: 107,769
Total Pages: 693,256
Unique Visitors: 1.12 million
Page Views: 31million