Archive for June 27, 2013

LibAnalytics Insight Platform

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We hope we got your blood pumping with yesterday’s post about the next-gen LibGuides. But there’s more good news to share – we’ve been busy working on another platform which, we believe, will have an even greater impact on libraries than LibGuides has had.

Here’s the scoop… We know librarians love statistics. You collect statistics on all aspects of library operations, and keep those in spreadsheets, tick sheets, on staff computers; some stats are stored in your opac, some are with your e-journals aggregators, etc. Also, things change – a new e-journals aggregator, new catalog (especially when we develop one – JUST KIDDIN’ ;), heck you even change staff members, so what happens with your data? The whole “data all over the place”, “big data”, “small data”, “who has my data?” situation is a mess.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have *one platform* to gather, hold (forever!), and analyze all your library statistics – to track usage and capture trends using flexible charting tools, to easily run cross tab reports, to view & sort data tables, and to export data into presentations, annual reports, conference papers, etc. Or, why not just pull up your tablet at a meeting or a conference and create charts on the spot! Want to easily compare your statistics with peer institutions? You should be able to!

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LibAnalytics Insight is our brand new data storage and analysis platform. It is an optional upgrade to our base LibAnalytics tool, but what an upgrade it is! Here’s how it works… First, you upload your spreadsheet stats (soon we’ll offer direct hooks to import data via APIs automatically). You then mix and match various Datasets and analyze all your data. For example:

(All community comparison options are anonymous and on an opt-in basis.)

  • E-journals/Databases Analytics – with cost per click & cost per download analysis, platform-level usage and costs trends, journal-level analysis (top use/zero use journals, duplicate titles, etc.) You can also compare usage of any individual platform or a journal against peer institutions in the LibAnalytics community.
  • Acqusitions Analytics – get a visual representation of your acquisitions activity – by funding codes, item location, Library of Congress classification, format, etc. Compare your stats to the other institutions in our community.
  • Circulation Analytics – detailed insight into the circulation data – by location, by patron type, by popular items, by LC classification, etc. Create most-popular reports, compare annual trends on any combination of parameters, etc. And, of course, run Community Comparison reports to boot. 🙂
  • Store statitics for annual reports such as NCES statistics and the like. Compare annual trends for any NCES data points, draw charts and see how your library stacks up against the community – any NCES datapoint can be compared against your peers.
  • Track Library Budget trends? Heck, why not – LibAnalytics Insight makes it possible. Create as many budget categories as you want (expenditures or revenues such as printing fees, fines, grants, etc.) and track and analyze annual trends… whatever and however you need it.
  • Create Datasets for tracking website statistics, gatecounts, Reference use, Archives visits… If you can dream it, LibAnalytics Insight can track it, by creating a custom Dataset for your specific needs.

Keeping all your statistics in one place also enables you to cross-reference data and produce mashups to get new and interesting angles on the usage of your library resources. What about creating publicly accessible dashboards for your stakeholders and your patrons can view select statistics on how the library is being used? Check!

Going to ALA? Come to booth #563 for a preview of LibAnalytics Insight. If you can’t make it to Chicago, check out the link below for a screenshot tour.

LibAnalytics Insight will be available at the end of the summer, and will only cost a few thousand dollars per year. We know what you’ll say – is that all?. Yes it is – we make our tools affordable so that every library can take advantage of them.

LibAnalytics Insight Screenshots Preview

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LibGuides: The Next Generation!

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2013

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It’s been 6 years since LibGuides was first released and oh, my, what a ride it’s been! Almost 4,000 live sites, 55,000+ librarians using it, hundreds of millions of page views every month, and hundreds of new features introduced since 2007.

We’re in this for the long haul, and behind the scenes we’ve been working on the next generation of LibGuides – the system that will keep things exciting for the next 6 years and then some. We’re changing the innards of the platform to make it easier to customize, easier to manage, easier to use, and easier to create beautiful content. We have so much new stuff to share with you, it’s hard to know where to begin!

We know you’re amped right now, but we also know that some of you may be having minor panic attacks at the extent of the change + your customizations, so we want to put your mind at ease:

This is an opt-in change starting this fall.

You decide the right time for your site to move to the new system.

You take however long you need to plan and execute the move.

In other words, you’ll continue to use your existing LibGuides system, just as you do now, and whenever you decide is the right time for your site to move over to the new platform – this fall or winter, next summer – we’ll make it happen. Your domain, your accounts, your content – everything stays the same in the new system, no worries.

And no, this is not an excuse to change our (awesomely affordable) pricing. This migration will not cost you a dime; our pricing will remain as it is now. The only change is that you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck…and that’s the kind of change we can all get behind. 😉

Breathing again? Super! Now let’s get to the list o’ goodies! 😀
(The big stuff, at least. There are literally hundreds of new features and enhancements we’ll share through our newsletter and emails to admins over the summer.)

  • Redesigned UI
    From the back end admin screens to the front end public view, it’s all getting a facelift. The new LibGuides is 100% jQuery and Bootstrap. That means fantabulous stuff like:

    • Responsive, bootstrap-based layouts.
    • More layout options – no more 1-2-3 column restrictions.
    • Easily customizable CSS tabs (no longer image based!).
    • Streamlined admin menu that follows you around whether you’re on your Dashboard or editing a guide.
    • Streamlined guide editing with in-context menus/options. For example, add a new page by simply clicking the + tab to the right of the rest of your pages!
    • 20 different box types making things confusing? Not anymore – we’re down to 3 box types (general, tabbed box, and lightbox). W00t!
    • Wait, what, only 3? How are we going to do anything with just 3? (Trust us, you’ll LOVE the 3.)
      • How often did you want to mix text, links, embedded content, documents, headers, etc. all in one box?
        Well, with the new LibGuides, you can with the general box type. Limitations be gone!
        Add sections of links with headings without CSS tomfoolery…it’s infinitely flexible.
      • Wait, wait, wait – a tabbed box?? You got it! Create tabs inside boxes and add whatever content you want – it’s super easy point and click construction.
      • Hold up, now – a lightbox? Like, for content slideshows or carousel-type image rotating goodness? That’s the one! Creating beautiful and dynamic content has never been easier.
    • Did you ever want your boxes to span columns? C’mon, you know you did…we know you did…and with the new LibGuides, you can!
    • You say you want to automatically embed Previous & Next buttons inside your guides? Sure, why not! It’s all right there, in the new LibGuides.
    • I’m sure you’re noticing a theme by now: flexibility. The new LibGuides is flexible – it will adjust to your needs, whatever they are.
  • More Admin Stuffs!
    We didn’t forget the site admins in our awesome-ifying, either! Here are a few things admins will be thankful for:

    • Centralized asset management (links, documents, embedded content, etc.): view, manage, edit, reuse…all in one place.
    • An automatically generated A-Z subscription database link guide. Say whaaat? Yup, the A-Z guide is a standard part of LibGuides now and is automatically generated to boot! You specify which items should be on the A-Z guide, associate subjects, and voilà: an A-Z guide that is a joy to use and maintain. 🙂
    • Publishing workflows (optional) – guide authors “submit for review”, admins approve the guide for publishing.
    • Redesigned API – anything stored in LibGuides will be accessible via API, so you can reuse that content anywhere else. LibGuides becomes your content store for your assets and tracks their cumulative use; you distribute them anywhere and everywhere…in or outside of your LibGuides site. 🙂
    • Fully customizable guide templates – write your own HTML template, inserting special keywords where you want the guide title, description, author info, content boxes, etc. It’s as awesome as it sounds, trust us on this one!
  • Redesigned Search
    Yes, we know. The LibGuides search can be made better, it’s a comment we heard quite often. So, we’re thrilled to share the great news – we redesigned our search from scratch using Solr on the back end, so this thing is powerful – really powerful – and offers features like:

    • Customized search term weighting.
    • Faceted search options.
    • Search history (for admins – think QuerySpy in LibAnswers) – see what users are searching in LibGuides (anonymously, of course) and whether they’re finding what they’re looking for.
    • And we have plans to enable sites to tweak the relevance ranking for your site’s search. Stay tuned for more on this later this summer.

    Want more? Okay! How about indexing your LibAnswers site in LibGuides so your FAQs show up alongside your guides? If you just said “sa-WEET!”, that is correct. 😉 (We’re amped about this for our Help site!)

*Whew* That was a lot to get through! And that was just the big stuff…

Join us in booth 563 at ALA for a 20 minute Flash Presentation on the LibGuides reFresh:

See the
LibGuides reFresh
at ALA!

Springshare ALA Booth 563

  • Friday, June 28: 6:00pm
  • Saturday, June 29
    • 9:30am
    • 12:30pm
    • 3:30pm
  • Sunday, June 30
    • 9:30am
    • 12:30pm
    • 3:30pm
  • Monday, July 1
    • 9:30am
    • 12:30pm

There will be other Flash Presentations on LibAnalytics Insight and LibAnswers Enhancements as well, so make sure you drop by booth 563 to get a presentation schedule!

Whether or not you’re going to ALA, you need to check out the latest SpringyNews for:

  • Lists of upcoming features for LibGuides (refresh) and LibAnswers (yes, LibAnswers, too!),
  • deets on what you can expect functionality-wise for the upcoming release of LibAnalytics Insight,
  • and a whole lot of great information about the Springshare Community, including the article “5 Ways Into the Springy Community”.

Springshare’s Getting Flashy!

ALA BoothThe ALA Annual Conference! A time of year to meet up with old friends, learn new things, eat delicious food, and visit your fave library vendor, of course!

Well this year, we’ve got several surprises in store for you. <sly grin>

We’re unveiling our biggest ever update to LibGuides – a complete and utter redesign of the LibGuides public interface.

Is it amazing? You betcha!
Do we have some spectacular new features to show you? Absolutely!
Is it, dare we say, FLASHY! Resounding Yes!

What else are we showcasing? Well, it’s a bit of a surprise and we’re keeping it under wraps. Want to get in the know? Come by Booth #563 and get FLASHED by Springshare. Will there be an impromptu Flash Mob? We aren’t opposed. 😉

Trying to find us in the Exhibit Hall? We’re at the end of hall where the fun begins. Look for us near the ‘What’s Cooking’ stage.

LibChat Under the Hood Update Now Live!

We’ve been hard at work on the next generation of LibChat, and we’re thrilled to report that part 1 – our major under-the-hood rewrite – is now live! This update is all about improving the general back-end performance of LibChat, so you may not “see” much new stuff at first – we’re saving the major widget improvements and additional updates for later this summer. Here are the changes we’re rolling out now:

  • We’ve rewritten the core of LibChat from the inside out – But don’t worry, any existing widgets will still work as they always have.
  • Online/Offline behavior is now directly tied to the chat window – We know, it happens. Now, if you close the chat operator window without clicking “GO OFFLINE”, no worries – your status will remain accurate.
  • New “pop out” option in all patron chat widgets – Now all chats can be floated on top of the existing window instead of being embedded inside. If your patron navigates away from the current page, no sweat!
  • New help text in chat widgets – we’ve added a helpful “press enter to send” message to the public chat widgets
  • Terminate Operator Session (Admins Only) – We’ve all been there – anxious to leave at the end of the day, you forget to close your browser window; when you get home, you realize your chat service still appears available. No worries – head to Admin Stuff > LibChat > Who’s Online and click Terminate Session – this remotely closes your browser window.
    • Please use this feature with care, as it will end any existing patron chats when the chat window closes.

As a result of this update, several commonly-reported bugs have been eradicated, including:

  • New patron chats won’t “flicker” in the operator pane
  • You’ll no longer see chat duplication in the operator pane

Stay tuned for part 2 of the LibChat update later this summer – we’ll be revamping the widget builder and adding all manner of new features!