Archive for March 31, 2014

Request a LibAnswers v2 Beta Site!

We’re happy to announce that LibAnswers site admins can now request a LibAnswers v2 beta site via your LibAnswers v1 Admin dashboard!

LA2 Beta Site Request Button Image

Inspired by the same ideas that made LibGuides v2 possible, we’ve redesigned LibAnswers from the ground up – and we’re confident that the new version will set new standards in virtual reference management. We’ll give you the quick breakdown of all the new features below, but trust us – the new system really has to be seen to be believed!

A few quick notes about the beta site request process:

  • Your beta site will be a “blank slate” (meaning no content in it) so you can get familiar with the system and start planning your content transition.
  • Your previous site customizations will not translate to the new site framework. You’ll need to start fresh (and thanks to the new template and customization options, this will be a whole lot easier!)
  • Beta sites are outfitted with temporary communication channels (email, chat, etc.) to use for getting familiar with your site (so your live site remains your live site)
  • Once you click Submit Beta Request, we’ll do our best to install your beta site within 30 days of the original request.

But enough with the small talk – on to the v2 features!

Queues to the Rescue!

Queues are here, and they’re on a mission – to fight the forces of information overload. Queues give your site a big dose of efficiency – they’ll help you funnel questions to the right departments and people, and reduce the signal-to-noise ratio for your staff.

  • Channel Tickets to the right queues with the route that’s right for you:
    • Communication streams – Use a dedicated email address, unique question forms, an answer to a question on a shared question form, SMS numbers, twitter account, etc.
    • Self-selection – Your question forms can direct tickets to the right queue, based on intel your patrons provide.
    • Custom Forms – Create unique forms and collect customized information for different queues
  • User Permissions – Create the right level of access to the abilities and features of each queue. Assign each staff member access, per queue, to:
    • Claim & Answer Tickets
    • Publish Public FAQs
    • Admin Settings (just for that queue)
  • Targeted Notifications – Decide who to notify when new tickets arrive in each queue.

Each LibAnswers platform comes equipped with one queue. Optionally, you can add any number of additional queues – contact us at sales@springshare.com for pricing (hint – it’s only a nominal cost to add queues for departments within an individual library, and very affordable to add queues for different libraries within a single campus).

Plus, LibAnswers v2 has a lot more in store:

Streamlined Content Organization

  • Group public FAQs – Your public FAQs can be “Grouped” into searchable sub-sets of the overall FAQ. Add as many groups as you need – each gets its own:
    • Custom Layout – Our new template options make customizing layouts super easy!
    • Look and Feel – Each group gets its own homepage, topics, banner, custom code, etc.
    • Visibility Setting – Groups can be public (available to anyone) or internal (requires a site login to view).
  • Questions Restructured – we overhauled the way we treat questions in LibAnswers:
    • Questions (aka Tickets) that patrons ask are “private” no matter how they come in.
    • Ticket answers can become the base for public FAQs
  • Statistics Restructured – Those question changes have exciting implications for statistics:
    • All Ticket stats are stored together – Date & time stats, turnaround time, question method, etc.
    • All public FAQ stats are stored together too – Public FAQ views, up/down votes, views by topic, etc.

Simplified and Enhanced Librarian Views

  • Enhanced Question Collaboration – New question statuses and an improved answer page layout make it easier to collaborate on answers
  • Revised Dashboard – It’s easier to scan for the info you need, and you’ll love the new Quick Look feature.
  • All New APIs – grab any data from your LibAnswers site and display it anywhere using our new RESTful, JSON-based APIs.

Improved Look and Feel Options

  • New Look and Feel – Responsive Design that’s beautiful from the get go – thanks to Bootstrap 3, there are no longer separate “mobile” versus “desktop” views of your FAQ. Your site adjusts to render beautifully on any device!
  • Simplified Site Customization – Customize your LibAnswers pages with our brand new templating engine – we’ve made it super simple to display your pages exactly as you’d like to see them!

Plus a bevy of frequently requested features:

  • Improved cc options – now it’s easy to cc additional librarians and patrons on answers
  • User “Away” Setting – What, they let you take vacation?! Set your status to “away” to prevent questions from being assigned to you while you’re enjoying that hard-earned break.
  • Publish and unpublish public FAQs – Set your FAQs to automatically expire / publish themselves – just pick the dates, and your FAQs will become published and unpublished all by themselves!
  • Add a stat to Analytics at any time (instead of only the first time a question is answered / replied to)

 

New in LibAnalytics: Analytics Engine Overhaul

Our new analytics engine will turbo-charge your data analysis, making it possible to analyze exponentially larger datasets in LibAnalytics. What does that mean exactly? With the previous engine, sites with especially large numbers of individual records in a single dataset (in the neighborhood of 50,000 records) could experience lags and timeouts while generating reports. Fixing this issue required a major under the hood rewrite of how we store and return data. We’re happy to report that the new engine is ready for prime-time – we’ve tested it with the largest datasets we could find (more than 700,000 records!) and it performs admirably, without lags or dreaded timeouts.

Thanks to our rewritten analytics engine, we’ve also added a couple of frequently-requested reporting features:

  • Expanded Field Analysis – Run Analysis on Numeric and Text fields! To see this in action, head to a dataset and click View/Analyze Data > Field Analysis > Analyze All (Numeric or Text) Fields.
  • Frequency Analysis – The new Field Analysis options include Frequency Analysis – quickly view how frequently each numeric and text entry occurred. Just select Analyze All -> Numeric / Text fields.
  • Expanded Cross-tab Reports – We’ve added Numeric and Text fields to cross-tab analysis! Head to a dataset that contains free text and/or numeric fields and click View/analyze Data > Cross Tab Analysis.
  • “Inactive” Account Level – When a user leaves your institution, instead of reassigning all their data entries to someone else, just change their account status to Inactive. This will disable their account from logging in and recording new entries, while preserving the records they’ve created.

As always, a huge shout-out goes out to everyone who shared suggestions and feature requests – we love hearing from you!

New Blog URL and New Support Site

Happy Monday everyone! 🙂

We have some exciting news to share with you all:

  1. As we told you last week, our blog URL has changed: http://blog.springshare.com/
    You might’ve also noticed the look of it has changed, too.
  2. Our new documentation site for v2 products launched: http://support.springshare.com/
    • This site is customer access only – meaning you must be logged in to your LibApps account to access the site.
    • The help icon in the command bar from any v2 site (currently only LibGuides, soon to be LibAnswers, too!) will link you directly to the appropriate area of the site for that product.
  3. Our documentation site for v1 products will remain at http://help.springshare.com/

There are several ways for you to keep up with Springshare’s blog:

  • The Dashboard page of every product has a feed right there for you! So it’s super easy to check on anything new right when you log in.
  • Add our blog’s feed to your favorite feed reader! Grab the link from the icon at the top of the right column…or right here. 🙂
  • Subscribe using the Email Subscription box in the right hand column and get email notifications whenever we post something new.
  • Follow us on Twitter! You don’t have to have an account to keep up with what we’re tweeting, and we always tweet our blog posts. 😉

Blog URL Changing on Monday

We’ve been using support.springshare.com as our blog URL for a lot of years now, but it’s time for a change.

As of Monday, March 10, 2014 our blog URL will be blog.springshare.com.

What does this mean? Your current feeds will need to be updated to the new feed URL. If you do not update your feeds, they will break. <sad panda>

We apologize for this inconvenience, but it’s for a good reason:

We’re launching a new support site and needed the support.springshare.com URL. 😉

That’s right! We’re launching a new support site specifically for documentation on LibGuides v2 and our other v2 products as they are released. (Have you heard? LibAnswers v2 is coming!)

Our current Help site (http://help.springshare.com) will still be around as well – that’s the site for all of our v1 product documentation.

So, to summarize:

  • Our blog URL as of Monday, March 10th will be http://blog.springshare.com/
  • You’ll need to update your blog feed URLs.
    • We’ll still have the blog feed available to you right from the Dashboard page of every product, too!
  • Starting Monday, March 10th, we’ll have 2 sites for product documentation:
    • v1 products (all of the current stuff) is staying in the same place: http://help.springshare.com/
    • v2 product documentation: http://support.springshare.com/
      (This site will be customer-access only, meaning that you need to have an account in a v2 product in order to view the documentation.)

We’ll update this info everywhere on Monday as soon as the change happens! Look for notifications in the updated blog feed on your product Dashboard, the box in the top right corner on your Dashboard, on Twitter (you don’t have to be a Twitter user to check out our tweets!), as a log in message when you log into your system(s), and any/every other way we can think of to get the message out to you!