Archive for August 30, 2016

Awesome LibGuides A-Z and Search updates still coming – just a week later

Couple of weeks ago we announced super exciting LibGuides updates with a slew of great new functionality, from social sharing and thumbnails, to brand-new A-Z database management functionality and much-improved LibGuides search. The first part of the functionality refresh went out last week (social sharing and guide thumbnails) and just as we were getting ready to release the A-Z and Search changes we ran into a few snags which necessitate that we do more tests and tweaks before the release hits our production servers. So in the interest of minimizing any potential issues or breakages we will spend a few more days testing and release the new A-Z and Search functionality on Tuesday September 6th, in the evening hours (EST).  This extra time will be put to good use…

  1. We have a guide ready for you detailing all the css changes on A-Z page (and we will update this guide in the next 24 hours to also detailed any Search page changes and search pro tips). http://support.springshare.com/libguides/changes  This will give you ample time to plan and execute any template updates right after the update.
  2. Even more accessibility improvements. We are going to use these few extra days of development to go through additional LibGuides pages and scrub them for any accessibility issues (and fix the issues we find). We’re thrilled that you are so excited and supportive of the accessibility improvements we are making in LibGuides (and all of our apps for that matter) and we are fully committed to you in our promise to ensure that all our apps (with LibGuides as the flagship) are fully accessible both from the patron view and soon enough from the admin view as well. Accessibility trumps all and we will gladly lead the charge in ensuring all library web systems are fully accessible.
  3. Instead of splitting up the update into A-Z update and then Search update a day later (as originally planned) we were able to figure out how to do them both at the same time without causing any downtime – yay. So there will only be one code update on September 6th, introducing all the new functionality.

Thanks for your support during this development and testing process, and we look forward to September 6th, EST evening time LibGuides code update – you are going to love the new functionality as much as we loved developing it!

A-Z Changes, A-to-Z

If you have applied a custom A-Z template or custom CSS on your A-Z page, you’re probably wondering what tomorrow’s update means for you. Well, wonder no more! We’ve whipped up this guide for you in our Springy Support Site to facilitate the changes that are coming to templates and to CSS / HTML. Log in with your LibApps account to check out the new template keywords, changes to in-page and stylesheet CSS changes, and changes made to the HTML that make the A-Z page accessible to your users.

We will be extending those web accessibility changes to the rest of the public pages in future releases, starting in September.

Miss the memo on the upcoming new tools? The A-Z updates will be coming in the evening August 30, U.S. Eastern time, and the update to the search back-end is coming the following evening.

LibWizard 1.7.4 Now Live!

The LibWizard 1.7.4 update is live, and we have lots of great new features to share. This update is all about streamlining new content creation, so you can create and share new surveys, quizzes, & assessments at blazing-fast speed. We have a ton of goodies in store, including a site-wide question bank, reusable questions throughout the system, and streamlined controls to help as you’re creating new assessments and tutorials. This update truly makes LibWizard a one stop shop for all of your data collection and assessment needs.

Question Bank

bankDo you find yourself using the same questions in multiple surveys & assessments? Perhaps you have a set of demographic questions you tend to ask everyone – like name, email address, and library affiliation – or perhaps you have more complex questions with correct answers and rules that you tend to reuse in multiple forms, surveys, quizzes, & assessments. Well have we got some great news to share – the question bank is here, and it’s going to make reusing questions a snap!

The question bank is a curated set of questions available for reuse by librarian in a LibWizard site. Admins create this set of questions and add them to a site’s question bank. To start creating questions, Admins can head to Admin > Question Bank, and click “Create Question” to start the party! Questions you add to the bank will then appear for all users in the “Bank” tab. This is a great way to create a master list of reusable questions to be shared by everyone in your system.

Reuse Questions

reusequestionSo, the Admin-curated Question Bank is going to be awesome (if we do say so ourselves 😉 ), but what if you’re a regular level user who just wants to reuse a question you’ve previously added, without getting the higher-ups involved? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered, too. With this update, we’re introducing a super simple “Reuse Question” feature to make reusing any question a snap.

To reuse a question, just click the “Reuse Question” link/button option in the builder. Select the name of the original form/survey/quiz/assessment from the list on the left, then choose the question you’d like to reuse from the resulting list on the right. Good to know: reused questions don’t retain a connection to the original item after reuse, so if the original question changes, the newly-reused question will not change. You can edit reused questions once they’ve been reused, making it a snap to customize reused questions in specific forms/surveys/quizzes/assessments.

Improved Question Grouping

groupThe question grouping function is a super-powerful tool. It makes it easy to refer to multiple questions using a single “group” name, and is a fantastic way to simplify any Rules you use to show/hide/stem questions. We’ve updated the way question groups work, making it super simple to create a group once, then assign as many questions to that group as you’d like using a simple dropdown list. To get started using groups, edit any question, select the Advanced Customization accordion, then add or select a group.

Tutorial/Assessment Updates

  • Improved Navigation in the Slide Builder – We’ve added several improvements to the slide builder screen to help streamline building assessments and tutorials. We’ve added handy Previous and Next links, so you can jump from slide to slide with ease, and we’ve added an “Add Slide” option so you can add a brand new slide without having to return to the workpad. You’ll see new options underneath the Slide Display area.
  • PDF Support – We’ve added support for displaying PDFs in assessments and tutorials. Now, when you create a new slide, you’ll see a new option for “PDF.” This makes showing static PDF documents in slides super easy!

Accessibility Updates & Bug Fixes

We’ve addressed a few known accessibility issues to ensure that LibWizard is fully accessible, right out of the gate. These include:

  • Skip Links – We’ve added standard Skip Navigation links to LibWizard, so folks who need to skip repetitive page navigation have a quick way to jump to the main content of forms, surveys, quizzes & assessments.
  • Iframe Titles – We’ve also added HTML titles to Iframes in assessments and tutorials.
  • PNG Images now responsive – Some of you may have noticed that PNG images added to slides in assessments and tutorials weren’t resizing responsively on smaller devices. Now they will!
  • Removed extra padding around span tags – Previously, when you added custom formatting to text in the rich text editor (like bold or italic text, special font sizes, etc.) the text also ended up with some extra padding on either side. We’ve corrected this, so you shouldn’t see extra padding being added in the future.
  • “Grid” questions are now graded correctly – Previously, there was an issue with grading the “Grid” question type, where the first answer was graded correctly but all subsequent answers were graded incorrectly. We’ve corrected this behavior in this update.

As always, thanks so much for your suggestions and comments on LibWizard. We can’t wait to hear what you think about the new reusability options, so please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think!

Big LibGuides Update Coming Your Way

We’ve been busy bees over at Springy HQ. You probably heard by now about our awesome new LibAnswers Social Media Management, or the LibCal Equipment Booking Module, and the new LibCRM product… Well, we’ve also been working on the biggest and boldest LibGuides update since we announced v2 a few years ago.

Some of these changes may affect your customizations, so all you admins out there, read on…

1. Social Guide Sharing / Guide Thumbnails / Simplified Guide Menu

We’ve made it super-easy for you to share guides on social media. Promoting content is more effective if one can associate imagery with it. Now you can take screenshots of your guides and of LibGuides homepage, and use those thumbnails when promoting a specific guide or your LibGuides system.

LibGuides Publication Screen

 

Next, we simplified the guide menu options and made the menu more compact while also reorganizing the options slightly, by their logical sequence. And, we made it easier for CMS users to assign group ownership to guides.

Before and After Publication Menus

New LibGuides Cog Menu


LibGuides Blog Post Publication2. Social Sharing & Advanced Scheduling of Blog Posts

We improved the LibGuides blogging functionality making it even easier to start using LibGuides blogs to keep your community informed.

Share blog posts on social media with one click.

Write blog posts in advance and schedule them for posting at a predetermined date/time in the future.

 


3. New A-Z Database Management Functionality

Many of you told us you want to make LibGuides *the* place to manage your A-Z databases. Well, now you can, and in the process we also created an amazingly useful A-Z Community feature (CMS-only). Use the A-Z Community to compare database holdings with peer institutions, do subject comparisons and identify subject-coverage gaps, share and reuse database descriptions, browse database reviews from fellow librarians, and more.

For both LibGuides and LibGuides CMS users, we’ve improved the local management of A-Z databases in a serious way.

  • Redesigned View – The Admin view shows you all the relevant info about the database and offers easier editing.
  • Alternative Names/Keywords Field – Improve the search accuracy for A-Z items with alternative names and any relevant keywords (e.g. primary sources).
  • Hide a Database – Hide it on your A-Z page and on guides but keep it in the admin console.
  • Popular Databases Box – Designate “popular databases” and feature them on the A-Z public page in a separate section. And soon, feature popular databases on A-Z widgets.
  • Librarian’s Review Add your own angle/advice for patrons about a given database using the new Librarian Review field.
  • Permitted Uses – Track permitted uses for each database and let everyone know which databases can be used where (e.g. ILL Use, E-Reserves use, LMS use, etc.). Define as many different uses as you need and customize the permission level for each.

LibGuides A-Z Community Statistics


4. A-Z Page Customization & Accessibility

We are making a big accessibility push with LibGuides pages and you helped us identify a few issues on the A-Z page. We addressed all of them – one of the big ones was that the Select dropdowns were not accessible so we replaced them with accessible versions. This may break your customization if you customized this aspect of your LibGuides A-Z page.

We’ve added two new template keywords “{{popular_box}}” and “{{chat_widget_box}}” to enable precise control of where these boxes appear on your A-Z page.

The A-Z page is now easier to customize without you having to work with templates. For detailed customizations you should still utilize templates but this update enables you to do two things with just a flip of a switch on the A-Z setup admin page:

  1. “Flip” the layout of the A-Z page so that the “auxiliary” column (showing popular/new/trial databases) is either on the left side or on the right side.
  2. Easily embed a LibChat or LibAnswers widget directly on A-Z page. If you have system-level customization that already embeds LibChat widgets on every page inside your LibGuides then you don’t have to worry about this.

ADMIN ALERT: If you’ve customized your A-Z template, please take a look at the A-Z page immediately after the code update to see if any tweaks to your template are needed. In most cases, you won’t need to do anything though some div elements did change due to our accessibility improvements (e.g. the dropdowns). We did our best to minimize any template/div changes but accessibility trumps all and we want the new A-Z page to be fully accessible.

The new A-Z functionality is a revolutionary step forward in LibGuides A-Z management. In the next few months we’ll release improved import features and write-API functionality so your techies will be able to programmatically update A-Z items and the changes will automatically be distributed on all widgets and relevant guide pages.


5. New Search Functionality in LibGuides

Let’s put it this way – you were loud and clear in telling us that the current LibGuides search is… shall we say “lacking”. So we went to work and re-architected the search engine from scratch. It’s now better, more efficient and effective.

  • In-Context Snippets – Search results show snippets of the page where the search term appears.
  • Search Focus on Page vs. Guide – This helps patrons land on the correct page based on their search term rather than guessing what is the most relevant page within the guide based on the search.
  • Faster Guide Edit Indexing – Guide changes are included in the search index within 5 minutes (we are working on getting this down to 1 minute or less).
  • Search within Guides – Restrict your search to individual guides.
  • Search within LibGuides CMS Groups – Search content within groups, with proper access permissions (e.g. internal groups only for logged-in users, etc.).
  • Separate Search Indexes for Local vs. Community – Regardless of what your community-indexing setting is your local LibGuides search will always work and local content will always be indexed for local searching within your own system.

In the next few months we’ll unveil document-indexing so any uploaded documents in the “Documents & Files” asset type will be indexed for searching.

LibGuides Search Results Page
Phew, so there you have it – this is possibly the most impactful LibGuides update since we released the v2 system. We are thankful for the amazing feedback and suggestions, so please keep it coming.

We have big plans for LibGuides and we’ll be accelerating the pace of these significant, big, bold updates. We can’t wait to share with you all the amazing things that LibGuides will do in the near term (and beyond)!

The new features detailed above will be released in two steps, in the evening (U.S. Eastern Time):

  1. Guide & Blog Updates: Monday, Aug 22nd.
  2. A-Z Database Updates & Search: Tuesday, Aug 30th.

We’ll do another blog post detailing and documenting every one of these changes, on the day of the code update(s).

LibAnswers +Social: Your Library’s Full Communication Platform

Last month, we announced a major new LibAnswers enhancement which enables you to manage your library’s social media activity from with your LibAnswers platform. Please join us for a “LibAnswers +Social” webinar series and learn how you can effectively – and efficiently – use LibAnswers as your full library communication platform.

LibAnswers is already the most popular all-in-one reference and help desk platform for libraries. It integrates live chat, ticketing functionality, a searchable FAQ knowledge base, robust SMS integration, and a Systems & Services Management Tool. It also comes with Reference Analytics for powerful reference service statistics reporting. Now, with Social Media Management functionality, your LibAnswers is the communication platform for your library.

Integrate Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest into LibAnswers and effortlessly manage your social media presence… all from one interface.

Watch a 3min Video:


Join us for a 60min two-part tour of LibAnswers +Social:

Brand-New to LibAnswers?

Already Using LibAnswers?

We’ll explore:

  • Searchable FAQs
  • Ticketing System
  • Live chat w/ LibChat
  • Systems & Services Management Tool
  • Robust Statistics
We’ll cover:

  • Dynamic Social Feed
  • Facebook Messenger Integration
  • Twitter Hashtag Tracking
  • Create & Schedule Posts
  • Full Engagement Statistics

Webinar Tour Details

  • All times listed in U.S. Eastern Time
  • Sign-up for just Part One, just Part Two…or both!
  • To attend both, sign-up for each session separately.
  • 10min Break between sessions

Part One: LibAnswers Help Desk Tour

(30min Tour + 10min break)

Part Two: Social Media Mgmt. Tour

(20min Tour)

This tour is not an in-depth training session: