Archive for Slaven

LibCal Equipment Booking Update Coming Your Way

On the heels of last month’s major LibCal Spaces update, this month we’re bringing the same types of accessibility and mobile-friendly updates to the Equipment Booking module! 🙂  This required some changes to the Equipment Booking grid and the booking details / confirmation pages, so if you’ve customized those, you’ll want to check your system post-update on August 16, 2017 (U.S. time) to make sure everything looks as it should. Remember, we’re here to help if you have any questions.

Here’s what’s new:

  1. The screens for Equipment Booking (the availability grid and the checkout process) are now fully accessible and mobile-optimized. The previous version was not fully up to par in this regard. We apologize for this omission, but we worked hard to address this problem quickly.
  2. Major API improvement: check whether or not the booking will go through, before actually making the booking! (This is applicable to the Spaces and Equipment APIs.)
  3. Admins can set up LibAuth rules on a Category-level and individual Item-level for Equipment pieces.
  4. Category-level mediators and visibility settings now available in Equipment Booking. Previously, the mediation and visibility was setup at the Location level only. This update introduces the same settings on the category level, for additional flexibility in organizing your Equipment Booking rules.
  5. Availability grid colors (for available slots, booked/unavailable slots, and “your selection” slots) are now customizable via color picker. The customized colors appear on both the public and admin sides of the system. Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings to find these options.

Get Trained / Take a Tour
Note: All times listed are U.S. EDT.

Attend an Equipment Booking training webinar!

Next Sessions: Wednesday, August 16, 2017:

Don’t have Equipment Booking yet? Take a tour!

We’ve also squashed several bugs and shined up some screens:

  • When exporting lists of events via CSV, HTML is now stripped from the event description text.
  • Closing hours no longer overlap with opening hours, so there’ll be no more entering the 4th dimension of the space-time continuum!
  • The “system time” format now displays consistently in all modules (spaces, equipment booking, events, hours).
  • The “Add Item” button no longer shows when Equipment Booking is disabled.
  • Event organizer profiles now show on event pages when LibAuth is enabled.
  • My Scheduler widgets now display properly within the LibApps LTI tool.
  • You can now use calendar widgets from different locations on the same webpage.
  • Fixed an issue where recurring bookings sometimes couldn’t be created before existing bookings.
  • Fixed a display problem with the “no timeslots are available” message in widgets.

In addition to all of these changes and fixes, we’ve made further iterative improvements to the speed of the system, so the screens are now even zippier and more responsive. After August 16th, LibCal will be an even better calendaring and booking platform for libraries, but our work is not done. Your amazing feedback, suggestions, and ideas are central to our success, so please keep them coming! In the upcoming months we’ll release more updates based on customer feedback, so you can expect more good things to come LibCal’s way.

Thanks to everyone who contributed the ideas that went into this release! 🙂

-The Springshare Crew

LibCal Space Bookings Update – All About Accessibility and Mobile Access

We love collaborating closely with our clients and taking their feedback & ideas to make our tools better for the entire community. Today’s LibCal code update is the result of one such collaboration. Namely, the LibCal implementation team at the University of Arizona was getting ready to roll out the Spaces booking system using LibCal when they noticed several accessibility and usability issues with the default spaces booking screens on mobile devices.

 

So, we worked with them on fixing many Spaces booking mobile-view issues and implementing accessibility improvements as well. Given the importance of accessibility for our clients, and the fact that an increasing number of patrons use mobile devices for bookings,  we wanted to release these improvements to production servers asap. Basically, the accessibility and mobile improvements trump everything else! Today (Monday) the changes were made live on US servers, and tomorrow (Tuesday) the changes will be live on EU and Canadian servers, too.

 

What Has Changed?

The booking process for Spaces (not the old Room Bookings, but the new Spaces Bookings) is very slightly different but much improved! We did a thorough testing run to ensure that nothing broke with existing customizations. The results were encouraging but we urge all admins to check their Spaces customizations and go through a sample booking of a space, to ensure everything looks good in your system. If you need assistance with any customization tweaks, please reach out to support and we’ll take care of it asap.

It’s important to know that these changes only affect the Spaces booking. The Equipment booking is next in line for accessibility and mobile-view improvements, and we plan to release Equipment booking improvements in a few weeks (around Aug 15th). Here are the changes:

  1. The Spaces booking grid now looks good on mobile devices, with larger/more tap-able grid which can now be used to book multiple spaces. Plus, it’s accessible, too!
  2. The Dates-related buttons in the top right corner of the booking grid are now larger, for easier emphasis, and accessible / they “glow” nicely into new line on small mobile screens.
  3. The legend for color coding of the grid now looks like real legend, rather than looking like small button labels which can be confusing to users.
  4. The Spaces booking calendar now defaults to the current hour of the day as much as possible given the screen size issues. This is great for mobile screens because it minimizes the amount of scrolling required.
  5. The Info button for more information about a space is now accessible and mobile-friendly, as is the resulting modal window showing more info about a given space.
  6. The Booking Details section is now presented in a grid for better mobile layout and accessibility.
  7. Separate Terms & Conditions sections are now condensed into one shaded area so that it looks better on mobile screens.
  8. The Thank You screen is more verbose with a bit more detail on what happens next (this text is customizable as well, via language tokens).
  9. The customizable Date formats now apply consistently across the Spaces bookings screens.
  10. “Add Equipment” button no longer appears unless there is equipment a the location the user is at (duh, right? We agree, and sorry about this bug).
  11. “Submit Times” button wording is now fully customizable using the language tokens.

 

What Is New? 

Besides these mobile and accessibility changes to the existing screens, we also used this code update opportunity to introduce bunch of important new features. We know you are going to love these, and they will make LibCal even more fully featured spaces booking platform. This is the new stuff/new functionality we rolled out:

  1. LibAuth authentication booking restrictions now work (optionally, of course) on a Category level or even on individual Item level too. Imagine the possibilities – set the rules as to who can reserve a given space on an item level – this specific conference room can only be booked by Staff, or this Category of auditorium spaces can only be booked by Faculty… this new feature truly opens exciting possibilities for the utility and usefulness of LibCal at your institution.
  2. Capacity display is now optional in the booking grid/table. So many of you asked to hide this using CSS tricks. Now you can do it “the right way”  – head to admin>equipment & spaces>settings>public spaces settings>capacity information, and you can choose to hide the capacity label.
  3. Spaces can now be set to show either a single day’s worth of availability, or the multi-day slider we use right now. Change under admin>E&S>settings. This was another frequent feature request.

 

That’s it for this release! We know, it’s a lot. And all good stuff, too. Over the next 2 weeks we will work on similar changes (accessibility improvements and mobile-friendly view) for the Equipment Bookings so stay tuned… and please do not hesitate to reach out about any of the changes we have introduced today. We stand ready to help with any customization issue that may pop up.

Big thanks to the library team at the University of Arizona for their help in getting these improvements out quickly, for the benefit of the entire 1,000+ strong LibCal community.

LibGuides v2 Server Move And Many New Features

2016 was an action-packed year for our apps, with hundreds of new features across all products and an ever-growing platform. So, it’s fitting that we end this big year with another big update which will set the stage for even more growth and exciting new features in 2017 and beyond.

Namely, on Friday December 30th at 10pm US EST we are moving LibGuides v2 to a new, better, and more powerful infrastructure.  We anticipate no more than 5-10 minutes of downtime during the move, as we have the process down now, having moved all our other servers (LibAnswers v2, LibCal v2, LibWizard, LibInsight) in the past two months. We selected the time/date accordingly, to cause as little disruption as possible.

LibGuides v2 Server IP will change – your action may be required

If your LibGuides custom domain is setup using an A record, you must do something on your end to ensure a smooth transition. We have a handy utility for you to check whether any action is needed on your part. Simply enter your LibGuides domain and the utility tells you what you need to do. In short:

  • If you’re using a libguides.com domain = no action is required on your part;
  • If you’re using a custom domain with CNAME alias = no action is required on your part;
  • If you’re using a custom domain with A record you will need to do something – we recommend you switch to CNAME because it’s more flexible.

The utility will tell you all you need to know so please check it out asap:
http://springshare.com/dns/lg2.php.

New stuff made possible with the new infrastructure

Here are some of the things which are now going to be possible on the new infrastructure.

Load balancing for handling spikes in usage and improved backups infrastructure so that we can do up-to-the-minute backups in case any failures occur.

https support for custom domains. In January 2017 we’ll start offering our LibGuides v2CMS clients full https support – but you still need to provide the required certificate files to us. Please fill out our https interest form (note: this form is for v2 users only – v1 users please see info for v1 systems). We are starting with LibGuides v2 CMS support for custom domains first, until we reach the scale required to support https for custom domains for base LibGuides installs too.

European hosting facility. For clients who do not wish to have their data/apps on US soil, we are offering hosting in our new European hosting facility in Amsterdam. This server cluster is completely independent of our US server cluster so the data in there will not “cross” into US.  Starting in mid-January we will offer free migration to all clients who wish to be moved to the European facility. This is not just for LibGuides but for *all* Springshare apps (i.e. LibGuides/LibAnswers/LibCal/LibInsight/LibWizard/LibCRM) – when an institution decides to host in our European hosting facility, all of their Springshare apps will live there. Please fill out our european hosting interest form (note: this form is for v2 users only – v1 users please see info for v1 systems).

Write APIs for all Springshare apps. Starting in January we will release the write APIs for LibGuides v2 A-Z content and for LibCal v2 Equipment and Spaces. Then we will expand the write APIs based on users’ feedback and needs so please let us know what you want write APIs to do and we’ll put it on the to-do list. We are super excited about write APIs – it will enable your in-house library developers to develop exciting apps and functionality and turn LibGuides/LibAnswers/LibCal/LibCRM into data and content stores and distribute this data and content from our apps anywhere at the point-of-need.

LibGuides v1 systems are unaffected by this server move

We are only migrating LibGuides v2 servers so if you are still on LibGuides v1 none of this applies to your system – however we strongly urge you to upgrade to v2 asap so that you can take advantage of these amazing new features (plus hundreds of other features we built into v2 over the past couple of years). It’s a FREE upgrade so there’s no reason to wait.
Help Docs & More Info for v1 to v2 Migration:

We are super excited about this and cannot wait for 2017 and beyond because we have really big plans for the growth of Springshare apps that will benefit our client libraries. We’re just getting’ started, folks!

So, to sum it up – the LibGuides v2 server move is happening on December 30th at 10pm US EST, there will be about 5-10 minutes of downtime, and you must check whether your domain setup requires any action on your part. Please go to our utility at http://springshare.com/dns/lg2.php to test your domain.

As always we’re here for any questions or comments, please email us at support@springshare.com. Happy Holidays!

Slaven & the Springy Team

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!

Introducing LibAuth – Authentication for Springshare Tools

We are excited to announce a new tool in Springshare’s cloud platform of apps – LibAuth. LibAuth is our implementation of patron authentication inside Springshare apps and systems. This is important new functionality which will make Springshare tools even more useful and more applicable to a wide variety of use-case scenarios within libraries. We have big plans for LibAuth and will be enhancing it further to offer innovative authentication-based solutions and services to our libraries.

But first things first. LibAuth is a free module inside our LibApps platform.  In essence, if you use any of our v2 tools (LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, LibInsight, etc.) you automatically get LibAuth. Your Springshare LibApps admin configures LibAuth to link to the authentication method used at your institution. We currently support Shibboleth, LDAP, SAML, CAS, SIP2, and a remote self-hosted script option. If your institution relies on a method not listed here, please contact us and we’ll investigate how to make it happen! Springshare is also a member of InCommon and the UK Federation which makes authentication setup even easier for institutions who are members of either of these federations.

So, if you are the super-admin of Springshare tools at your institution (we call these LibApps admins) head to LibApps Dashboard -> Admin -> Manage Authentication (see screenshot below) and configure your authentication method.

LibAuth Setup Location

 

 

Click on the “Manage Authentication” link in the navbar to enter the details of your authentication method and select attributes to release to Springshare. It is very likely that you will need to work closely with your IT folks to set this up so we recommend that you have your IT folks on good terms 😉 while setting up LibAuth. The setup form also provides testing tools to ensure you set things up correctly.

Pro tip: LibAuth also lets you define and configure any number of “rules” – for example if certain functionality should only be available to faculty or to undergraduates etc – as long as your authentication supports it and you release the necessary attributes to Springshare, you can setup all sorts of rules to be used in Springshare (and later in non-Springshare) apps.

 

libauth-setup

 

 

Once you successfully setup your authentication scheme in LibAuth, here’s what happens next.

  1. At your option, your librarians with access to a LibApps account (to work on LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibInsight etc) can login to these tools using LibAuth, i.e. using their campus/library username/pwd.
  2. Starting tomorrow, LibCal room booking functionality is ready to work with LibAuth. Once you set up and verify your authentication method via LibApps, head to LibCal > Room Bookings > Settings > Edit Group to require LibAuth authentication for that group of rooms. If you’ve previously setup room booking authentication inside LibCal, we’ll automatically transfer those settings to LibAuth so you’re all set (but check the LibAuth console to confirm and do a couple of room booking tests, just to make sure).
  3. Over the next few weeks we will turn on authentication support for Event Registrations and Librarian Appointments so you will be able to restrict these (optionally of course) to your authenticated users (or groups) only.
  4. Over the next month we will turn on LibAuth authentication in our E-reserves module (our library reserves/reading list solution). This way our ER module will not only be the most affordable Reserves/Reading solution, but also one of the most secure ones too ;).
  5. In the next 3-4 months we will add support for LibAuth inside all of our apps, wherever and whenever needed. We’d love your feedback and ideas on this – email our support or sales teams and let us know where you think we should add authentication support (inside which Springshare apps and for what use-case scenarios). This is a really exciting and really big development for us, and we truly feel that adding authentication points inside our apps will bring many more use-case scenarios which will make your Springshare tools even more useful and will make you love ’em even more!
  6. Over the next 6-12 months we will be adding new products and services based on LibAuth capabilities, and we will be releasing an API to use LibAuth anywhere. Yes, we’re going there! We believe there are many opportunities ahead for providing seamless authentication that “just works” inside other library products and services. Send us your ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Last but not least – please bear with us over the next few weeks regarding support and fixing any issues you may encounter while setting up your authentication method in LibAuth. We did tons of testing but with so many different authentication setups out there the best way to test and fix any issues is to release it into the wild and invite everyone to start using it. So while this is not “beta” because the full functionality is there and it works, we appreciate your patience while we ensure that it works well for everyone.

Thank you to all our clients who helped us during LibAuth development, with your excellent feedback and suggestions. We’re starting 2016 with a bang, and we have so many new things in store for our clients this year (and beyond). Thank you all for being the best clients, ever!

-Slaven & The Springshare Team

 

Announcing “Systems & Services Management” via LibAnswers

Great Customer Service – The Holy Grail

Let’s start with a few important questions:

1. How do you provide effective online help/faqs at the point of need, for the Library’s many systems and services – everything from the Website, to the Catalog, to the Discovery/Search system, to the variety of E-Database and E-book platforms, etc.

2. How do you solicit and manage ideas and feedback from patrons, regarding these Library’s systems? Wouldn’t it be great to know what patrons think of your systems and how to improve them?

3. Last but not least, how do you keep your community informed and up to date about these aforementioned systems? Are any systems having problems at the moment, and if yes what are they? What are the new features? When is the scheduled maintenance? What are the top ideas for improvement?

Your library provides many services via many systems, and the number of these systems & services increases every year. Providing effective help to patrons on how to use these systems, and ensuring patrons’ voices are heard and their product questions answered is essential to the library’s success. Keeping users informed about your systems and services, and receiving feedback – be it ideas, suggestions, praise, or negative feedback, and responding in an organized and timely manner – that’s what great customer service is all about.

How we help you get there

We did what we’ve been doing for libraries since 2007 – clients told us they have a big problem so we developed a tool to help solve it, and delight their patrons to boot! We created this new tool as part of the existing platform libraries already use to answer patrons’ questions – LibAnswers, of course! With the new “Systems & Services Management” functionality inside the LibAnswers platform you can do three new things:

1. Systems Help Widgets: Create product-specific Help widgets (for the Website, the Catalog, the Discovery/Search platform, for any E-Database platforms, E-book platforms etc…), and embed them directly inside the given product. If a patron is in the catalog and they need help, they get catalog-specific help with a click of a button. Need help while using the Discovery/Search platform? Help is right there, along with all other Discovery-related faqs, feedback, etc. You get the idea – you can do this for any product or service within your library. Patron questions & feedback are fed into the LibAnswers dashboard and you answer them like any other question/ticket in LibAnswers. You also get awesome statistics on how much support each product generates.

2. Systems Feedback Manager: These product-specific widgets also have a built-in feedback mechanism for patrons to send feedback, questions, ideas, and praise right inside the product they’re using. It doesn’t get any more convenient than this! And, any idea/feedback/praise goes directly into the LibAnswers dashboard so librarians can organize it and answer (if needed) right from the system they already use to answer patrons’ questions.

3. Systems Status Dashboard: LibAnswers now gives you patron-facing public “status dashboard” pages outlining the status of every library system and service. The status dashboard is also an embeddable widget so you can plug it into any webpage or a blog. The dashboard shows the current status of each system but also goes deeper and shows any new feature announcements, scheduled maintenance times, community top-voted product ideas, etc. Keep your patrons up to date about every library system, in real-time. The “internal” status update posts can be used by library staff for internal communication.

You have to see this in action, it’s going to transform the way you manage your library systems – check out the 5 minute video below (it will open in a new window). We will start rolling out this new LibAnswers functionality over the next few weeks – contact us for more details.

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers

LibAnswers/LibChat Planned Maintenance – Friday Night Feb 7th

A quick note to our community –  LibAnswers and LibChat servers will be down for planned upgrades for about 20-30 minutes on Friday February 7th, starting at 10pm EST.

We are upgrading these servers to add additional capacity – we have seen a big spike in LibAnswers and LibChat usage and have added hundreds of new clients lately, which is great news. By upgrading the servers we’ll ensure their continued smooth operation.

This downtime will only affect LibAnswers and LibChat – our other products, i.e. LibGuides, LibAnalytics, LibStaffer, LibCal… are unaffected. We did a thorough analysis of LibAnswers and LibChat usage logs and found that Friday nights were the lowest usage periods so we picked this time for upgrades.

It could be that the actual downtime will only be a few minutes, but for your planning you should count on LibAnswers and LibChat being inaccessible for about 30 minutes on February 7th starting at 10pm EST.

It is very gratifying to all of us at Springshare to see so many libraries adopting LibAnswers and LibChat, and the usage increasing exponentially. For those libraries that do not have LibAnswers/LibChat yet, contact us today to get started on your trial. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

As always, we’re here if any questions pop up – support@springshare.com.

LibGuides v2 Beta Site Requests

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

request-beta-site

We know the anticipation has been building and we appreciate your patience for the past few weeks. There was an important last-minute code change we had to make – switching from the no-longer-supported Bootstrap 2.3 to the new Bootstrap 3. It meant changing literally every screen and changing every template (a great new v2 feature!), because the Bootstrap 3 code structure is very different. It’s an exciting change, though, because Bootstrap 3 fixes several accessibility issues and makes LibGuides even more mobile friendly, given BS3’s mobile-first approach. We still need to polish some things and plug in several remaining pieces of functionality, but we’re ready for you to start requesting your beta sites.

Requesting a Beta Site

When you’re ready – before or after the holidays – go ahead and request your beta site via your LibGuides Dashboard. We’ll do our best to install your beta site as early as we can, and within 30 days of your request.

Given that we have 4,200+ live sites, it’s impossible to get everyone started at the same time. Folks who started earlier with LibGuides v1 will have preference in the beta install queue. (i.e., the lower your institution ID [IID], the sooner your site will be installed.)

Your beta site will not have any content in it initially. Content migration comes later. (Explained below.)

Beta Site Domain / 2 Concurrent Systems

Your beta system will be installed on a temporary domain, with your current site and beta site running simultaneously. Your existing system is still your official, public-facing LibGuides system, until you are ready to make your v2 system live.

In your beta system, you can start working on customizations, templates, workflows, and training your staff on the new platform. (Never fear, we’ll have documentation & training webinars available!) You can even start creating content, if you’d like, but do not share URLs for this content with your patrons since the domain will change once you go live.

Planning for Content Migration

As you train your colleagues on the new system, you should also start planning for your content migration. We’re going to do a blog post next week on guide clean up (and will have similar info in a migration guide we’re creating), but in the meantime you can start by removing any unnecessary content, whether this means whole guides, old images you know you’re not using anywhere, unnecessary CSS / javascript, etc.

Starting at the end of January / beginning of February 2014, you’ll be able to request a content migration from your current site into your beta site. We’ll work with you to determine the best time to migrate, and run the scripts at that time. This is a one-time migration, so make sure you are ready for it to happen.

After Content Migration

Even after your content has been migrated, your existing LibGuides v1 system will remain your public facing system – for a little while longer. You should not create any new content in your LibGuides v1 system from this point on. Any new content you create will not transfer to your LibGuides v2 system.

You will need to go through the migrated guides in your v2 system and fix whatever needs fixing. The new page / content structure is completely different, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that each user will need to spend anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours fixing / restructuring the content on each of their guides to take advantage of new functionality. This could include things like:

  • Removing “hacks” for things like tabbed boxes, rotating images, or boxes spanning columns and using the new Tabbed box type, Gallery box type, or Top/Bottom boxes (to span across columns).
  • Combining some content into one box vs. several.
  • Removing unnecessary CSS / JavaScript that was migrated across.

Taking Your v2 Site Live

When you’re happy with your new site, we’ll work with you to go live with your shiny new site!

Have a custom domain? We’ll give you instructions to change the DNS records on your end. You’ll need to work with your IT department on this change.

No custom domain? We will update our DNS records to point your current LibGuides URL to your new site.

Once your new v2 site is live, this will be your official LibGuides system – for both you and your patrons. Your existing v1 system will be hidden on a temporary domain. You will still have access to it for a few months, if need be. (i.e., only you and your colleagues will have access to the “old” system at this point.)

A New Platform

We built the LibGuides v2 platform from scratch (literally), based on several years of usage data and awesome suggestions & ideas from our clients. Because of this, we are now capable of offering features and functionality that were impossible in the old structure. We know you’re going to love it – everybody who has seen the system has been impressed.

The other side of the coin is this: it’s a new codebase, a new system, so there will be bugs / issues at first – just like with any new platform. So we ask for your patience in working with us on resolving any issues that might arise. With that in mind, don’t feel you have to rush with the transition. We are as excited as you are because the new system is awesome, but let’s also keep in mind that the existing LibGuides system is battle-tested and works well – it easily handles 180M page views and millions of users every month.

So, don’t rush with the content migration – there is no time limit on upgrading, no rule that your system must be live within 30 days of content transfer. Take your time, get your current content ready to migrate, learn the new system / set it up the way you want, train your staff on it, and take advantage of the new functionality. We’ll use this time to do more testing, polishing, and adding of new features – we are still updating the code on a daily basis.

As I often say when talking with clients: We (Springshare) are in this for the long haul. We are building a great company and great products, with the long-term view. The official rollout of LibGuides v2 and our upcoming LibApps platform (unifying all of our apps into one cohesive platform) is just one part of the great things we have in store for you in the near future. In other words, we’re just getting started, folks!

Without being too corny, I will say that every single one of us Spingys loves what we do and we love working with all of you, our clients. And when you love what you do, it shows! Thank you for your ideas and your help in making LibGuides v2 the best content curation and management platform for libraries.

Let the LibGuides v2 fun begin! As always, we’re here for you if any questions/issues pop up.

Slaven & the Springy team

LibAnalytics Insight Platform

lan-logo-240

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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Monday’s LibGuides Server Issues Post-Mortem

We waited until today to post the explanation behind yesterday’s LibGuides connectivity issue because we wanted to make sure that the fixes we deployed took care of the issue.

Here’s what happened: a couple of weeks ago our hosting facility had a big infrastructure upgrade – new routers, switches, the whole nine yards. But yesterday something went wrong with the shiny new stuff which caused one of our critical servers to be overloaded with access requests. Pings and connections were failing or being delayed, and  those delayed requests would then hit the servers all at once. We designed our servers to handle large loads and handle spikes in usage, but when you get a rare “super-spike” things slow down. A lot.

“Why don’t you just add more servers and hot-swap them?”, you may say. Well, adding more servers instantly in the case of LibGuides is not so simple: for some critical servers (like the one that we had problems with yesterday) any institution with the custom domain mapping option (most of our libraries have it) would have to update their local DNS records to point to new servers and it takes time (hours, sometimes even days) to propagate the changes to all DNS servers around the world.

In any case, we worked with our hosting provider to alleviate the networking issue and also made some changes to our server cluster so that it can handle way more traffic – about 10x more, to alleviate negative effects from any other potential super-spikes.

Here are a couple of important takeaways:

  • Server issues happen – internet connectivity is complex beast – and unfortunately there are no guarantees that our infrastructure won’t have other issues unrelated to this problem. You can be sure of this, though – we monitor our infrastructure round-the-clock so we are the first to know whenever there are any issues. And whenever there are issues we spring to action immediately to remedy the situation asap.
  • Whenever you have issues accessing LibGuides please check our Twitter webpage first to see if there’s a known issue (http://twitter.com/springshare). When we get thousands of support requests in a span of a couple of hours—literally, no joke—it is impossible to answer all of them quickly. If it’s a known issue our support team is already working on it and will fix it faster if they don’t also need to respond individually to thousands of emails.

    If you see an issue posted on Twitter, we are working on it and will post regular updates as well as “all clear”.

    If you are still having issues after things are back to normal (or no issues are mentioned on Twitter) you should send your support request and we will take a look at it asap – as we always do. 🙂

Again, we apologize for the problems accessing your trusty LibGuides yesterday. It was a networking black-swan type event (and just to reiterate—it was in no way connected to the attack on GoDaddy – please see this post). Remember, we are always doing everything we can to prevent these problems from happening in the first place.

It is worth noting that even counting yesterday’s issues, our uptime has been in the 99.99% range since we started LibGuides in 2007 – meaning it’s been down for only a handful of hours in the past 5 years.

Thank you, and onwards and upwards. Now we need to sign up 10x more libraries, because there’s a lot of room to grow in our infrastructure. 🙂

Best,
-Slaven & the Springshare team