Archive for LibAnswers

LibAnswers 2.10.0 Now Live!

We’re continuing the update party throughout January, and this week we’re bringing you the LibAnswers 2.10 release. From drag and drop file uploads to a new bulk edit / delete / apply macro option, there’s lots to love in this update! Let’s get to it…

Bulk Updates for Tickets

BulkEditThis has been a hugely popular request, and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to you just in time for Spring – Administrators¬†can now make bulk edits to LibAnswers tickets from the Dashboard and from the Knowledgebase Explorer! This impacts all sorts of edits and changes – everything from adding a new tag to a group of tickets, to sending several patrons the same message by applying a Macro, to changing the status of a group of tickets from “Open” to “Pending” – our new bulk changes feature will have you updating tons of tickets in no time. ūüôā To start making mass updates, Admins can¬†head to the Dashboard or Knowledgebase Explorer and select the Actions dropdown.

Temporary Trash Bin

TrashCanOne of the elements of the new Bulk Ticket Update feature is the ability to delete multiple tickets at once en masse – an exciting feature for sure, but one that could use a bit of a safety net to help cover itchy trigger fingers. That’s why we’ve also added a new Trash Can feature, to help with those potential accidental deletions.

Here’s how it works: Any ticket deleted from the Dashboard or Knowledgebase Explorer is sent to the temporary Trash Can. Tickets will remain in the Trash Can for 30 days before being automatically (and permanently) deleted. Admins can access this Trash Can by heading to Admin > Manage Trash Can – from there, you can view all trashed tickets, recover tickets (which¬†rescues them from the Trash Can), or permanently delete tickets.

Drag and Drop File Uploads

DragDropContinuing the theme of convenience, we’ve got another big feature in this update – we’re adding drag and drop file uploads on both the public and administrative sides of the system! We’re reducing the number of clicks required when uploading files for both patrons and librarians by adding a super simple drag and drop file uploader to all of the places where you can upload files in LibAnswers, including the Question Form, Ticket Reply pages, and in LibChat for both patrons and chat operators. To upload a file up to 20 MB, just grab the file from your desktop and drag it into the uploader. Of course if you prefer, you can still click on the uploader to choose a file from your desktop.

Additional Updates

  • We’ve made it a bit easier to view the history of interactions with a patron on the ticket answer page. At the top of the page, you should now see a link for (History) next to the patron’s name – click it to view all past interactions with that patron.
  • We’ve made a couple of minor adjustments to how search works, to ensure that all content in a ticket is indexed, and to make sure that the autocomplete functionality is working properly.
  • We now support SPF DNS records for sending email using¬†custom email domains (ie non-*.libanswers.com email domains) out of¬†LibAnswers. Admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Email > Custom Outgoing Email Address for more information on the new options.
  • We fixed a minor bug where clicking “Add Question” from QuerySpy wasn’t auto-populating the question information into the Create FAQ page (now it does!).

Login to LibGuides (And Other Springy v2 Tools!) Using Your Authentication Layer

LibAuth Login

LibAuth Login

Early this year, we announced greater LibAuth integration with Springshare Tools. One of the components of this integration is the ability to use your own authentication method to login to your v2 Springy tools!

Basically, if you’re using LDAP, CAS, Shibboleth, SAML, ADFS, or a self-hosted authentication tool – you can use that protocol¬†for logging into your LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, etc.

While you’ll still need to have an account in those Springshare tools, you won’t have to remember separate passwords for your Authentication layer¬†and¬†your Springshare apps.

Setting It Up – Cool Winter Project!

Navigate to LibApps > Admin > LibAuth Authentication. You need to be a LibApps admin in order to see this menu. Being a LibApps admin is different than being a LibGuides admin. Contact your LibApps admin if you need to elevate your account status.

On the configuration tab, set up your authentication protocol and be sure to run tests to make sure it’s working. At the bottom of the screen, click “YES” under¬†Allow logging into LibApps using this authentication. Inside your authentication layer, you’ll need to release the email attribute.

LibAuth Authentication

Creating a lot of LibGuides Accounts?

No one wants to click ‘Add Account’ 100+ times when adding all of your LibGuides authors. But, they do need to have a LibGuides account for the authentication integration to ‘connect’. So, we’ve got a workaround that will make things much faster for LibGuides admins!

  • Setup your LibAuth login credentials (see above)
  • Login to LibGuides > Admin > Accounts
  • Click ‘Invitations’ Tab > Invite Users Button
  • Paste in email addresses for all your LibGuides authors (paste in hundreds of emails!)
  • Choose account level > hit send!
  • Authors¬†will receive an invitation to create an account password however, their account has been ‘created’ so they can sign into LibGuides using your authentication layer!

Important Things to Note:

  • Not available with SIP2 – SIP does not contain the email attribute, so we’re not able to offer this option for SIP2 authentication services.
  • Granular Permissions – Are still managed at the Springshare Tool level. So granting access to specific tools and areas within those tools are handled inside LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, etc.

But Wait, There’s More!

Authentication in LibCalIf you haven’t had a chance to check it out, there are amazing LibAuth integrations with LibCal. You can route users through your authentication layer for Room Bookings, Calendar Event Registrations, Equipment Bookings module, and even My Scheduler Librarian appointments.

It’s Just the Beginning!

This release is just phase one of our big plans for LibAuth integration with Springy Tools. We hope to integrate authentication services inside all of our Springshare apps! Just imagine, routing LibWizard quiz takers through your authentication service. Or allowing students to post on discussion boards or comments on your blog through your active directory of users. Or using your authentication protocols before patrons can initiate a LibChat chat exchange. This is just the beginning of great things to come!

LibAnswers 2.9 Update Now Live!

Exciting news, we have a slate of LibAnswers updates to share! This release is all about LibChat – we’ve introduced several¬†“holy cow, that is awesome!” features, including chats that can follow the patron from page to page, searchable transcripts, and accessibility updates. Let’s get to the good stuff!

Follow Me Chat Widgets

It’s a common frustration – a patron is chatting with you and happens to navigate to another page in your site, causing a sudden disconnect and lost conversation. We have big BIG news – we’ve added follow-me capabilities to all LibChat widgets, so if a¬†patron navigates to a new page, as long as the new page also contains a LibChat widget, your patrons will be able to continue the conversation seamlessly, without starting a brand new chat session.

This feature makes it much simpler to assist users as they navigate across pages. Previously the popout widget was the best answer to this conundrum (and it’s still a great resource), and we’re thrilled to be able to extend this functionality to sliding widgets and in-page embedded widgets as well!

Searchable/Filterable LibChat Transcripts

Search Transcript Filter ScreenshotThat’s right – you can search the full text of LibChat transcripts for specific keywords! This is a great way to get a read on the number of questions that are coming in on a particular topic. Plus, not only are transcripts themselves searchable, but we’ve also added a keyword search filter to LibChat statistics and reports. Use this to create a report on the number of times a particular keyword has been mentioned on a daily/hourly basis, or by staff member, etc.

LibChat Accessibility Improvements

We’ve made major strides toward fully accessible LibChat widgets, and we’re thrilled to say that LibChat is accessible right from the get go. From better focus management when the window pane, changes, to ensuring that all images have appropriate alt text links, to rewriting the slideout widget so it’s easier for screenreader software to navigate, we’ve made sure to cover accessibility in chat widgets from top to bottom. We’ve also made major improvements to the load time efficiency for all LibChat widgets. All of our chat widget scripts are now roughly 1/4 of their former size under the hood, meaning that any webpage that contains a LibChat widget will load that much faster!

Please note – it’s a good idea to take a peek at your widget today to make sure everything looks as you remember, especially folks using sliding¬†widgets. One of our accessibility improvements updated the way that sliding widgets display¬†– use the same image in any of the 3 page positions (left, right, or bottom). It’s possible that for folks already using an image in a sliding widget, the¬†widget image may be rotated incorrectly. If this happens to you, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Edit Widget and find your widget. In most cases if your image is just text on a colored background, you can remove the image and use the existing text and color settings for the tab (that will be more accessible!). If your image is more than just text, you will need to edit the image itself. Rotate the image so the text reads normally (left to right for most of you). Our widget code will automatically rotate the image as necessary for the difference widget positions.

Chat Operator Console Updates

  • Screenshot of FAQ Search BoxFAQ Search in the LibChat Operator Window – Picture this – you’re in the midst of helping a patron answer a tricky question, and need to¬†search your LibAnswers FAQ for an answer. We’ve got a fun new addition to the Chat Operator Window to help – now, you’ll notice a FAQ search build right in, so no more navigating to other pages to search your FAQs!
  • Improved Resizing for Chat Widgets – When you start a chat with a patron, sometimes it’s helpful to expand the size of the chat window to view more of the conversation. We’ve made improvements to the drag-to-resize functionality with this update, so you’ll find it much easier to drag the window to the size that works best for you!
  • Offline Button Colors – We’ve made it easier to customize the color of button widget when they’re offline, to give your patrons more of a visual cue when your service is online vs offline. Head to LibChat > Chat Widgets and select any button widget¬†to customize the offline button color.

Concierge / “Can We Help You?” Popup Widgets

  • Auto-popout Button Widget – Do you love the concierge / “Can we help you” auto-slideout widgets? Us too – they’re a great way to call attention to your live chat service and prompt users to ask for help when they need it! We’ve extended this functionality beyond slide-out widgets – now you can add a concierge message using button widgets too! Just head to the widget builder and select the button widget type, scroll to the Autoload Delay setting and select how many seconds the widget should wait before popping up.
  • Dismiss “Can We Help You?” Popouts – Previously, if you had multiple “Can we help you?” concierge widgets on separate pages in your site, the prompt was displayed every time a patron loaded a new page, making it a bit hard to dismiss. There can be a fine line between offering help and pestering the user, so we’ve updated this behavior – now if a patron dismisses the message, it won’t continue to pop up on subsequent pages.

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:

LibAnswers: Social Media Management is Here!

The LibAnswers 2.8 Update is now live, and with it we’re thrilled to announce our new Social Media Management functionality inside LibAnswers.

Nowadays so much communication happens on social media hence it‚Äôs essential for libraries to effectively ‚Äď and efficiently ‚Äď communicate with users on social media channels, too. LibAnswers now helps libraries¬†effortlessly manage¬†their social media presence¬†and communication with users.¬†Monitor and respond to conversations happening¬†on¬†Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Publish new posts, tweets, and pins, or schedule them¬†for future posting. Follow relevant #hashtag conversations and measurably improve¬†engagement with your community.

Best of all, managing¬†your¬†social media communication happens right alongside the existing communication channels in LibAnswers ‚Äď email queries, question form responses, SMS, and real-time chat via LibChat.¬†This way all patron communication across all channels happens within one easy-to-use platform,¬†making it that much easier to provide best-of-the-best customer service to your users.

We really can‚Äôt wait to tell you more about it, so enough with the small talk ‚Äď let‚Äôs get to it‚Ķ

Social Media Management

socialfeedoverview

Integrate any number of Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, and Pinterest accounts into your LibAnswers Queues and voila ‚Äď all your social media activity shows inside LibAnswers social feed. This feed becomes your social command center, and you respond and engage with users from one place¬†‚Äď everything from Twitter mentions and¬†Direct Messages¬†to Facebook likes, comments, and posts and Pinterest Pins, too. If an item requires follow-up (e.g. a reference question sent¬†via Twitter), turn it into a LibAnswers ticket with just one click.¬†As you finish reading/replying to items, just ‚ÄúMark as Read‚ÄĚ to dismiss them¬†from the active monitoring stream.

Facebook Messenger Integration

Facebook Messenger Screenshot

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular social media conversation platforms. Now librarians can respond on FB Messenger directly from the LibChat operator console.¬†Patrons can Facebook Message the library from anywhere‚Ķright from your Facebook page or using their mobile FB Messenger App.¬†This makes the¬†LibChat operator console your¬†one-stop shop for¬†all your chat needs, and it makes it incredibly easy for your patrons to reach out to librarians when they need help ‚Äď as easy as communicating with their friends on the communication platform which they use all.the.time. Being so easily reachable on FB Messenger is a great way for libraries to increase the ‚Äúmind-share‚ÄĚ with patrons.

Facebook Pages Integration

Our new Facebook integration doesn‚Äôt end with Messenger ‚Äď with our new Social Media Management tool, you‚Äôll be able to view and respond to any and all patron interactions that occur on your institution‚Äôs Facebook page. View and respond to posts, comments, replies, and likes ‚Äď LibAnswers collects it all and makes it easy to respond to everything, all from your social feed.

Twitter Integration – Including Hashtag Tracking

We’ve included twitter integration inside LibAnswers for a while now but this release takes it to a whole new level with a major host of updates, including:

  • Send & Receive Direct Messages – In addition to the public @mention integration, you’ll now be able to send and receive private messages with other Twitter users. Manage public and private Twitter conversations all in one place!
  • Hashtag Tracking –¬†Keeping an eye on ALA Annual Conference Hashtag,¬†#alaac16? Or hashtag trends that are happening in your local community like #MIT? Or even hashtags¬†on the¬†national or global scale like #BRexit? Track up to 5 hashtags per LibAnswers queue,¬†and all tweets with those hashtags will automatically display in your Social Feed.
  • Improved Fetch Rates –¬†We’re speeding up communication rates with Twitter to bring you fresh information¬†even faster!
  • Twitter Engagement Statistics – See below on the new statistics features but suffice it to say that you will be blown away with the depth of the statistics reports offered.

Pinterest Integration

We’ve noticed libraries¬†using Pinterest in a myriad of ways – everything from showcasing new acquisitions¬†to highlighting unique archival collections. Libraries have a wealth of visual¬†content, and Pinterest is the perfect medium to share that content with your community!

With our new Pinterest integration, it’s a breeze to create pins for any type of content the library wants to highlight, and schedule them to post¬†to Pinterest¬†at a later date. This makes it easy to create a schedule of content that posts at the ideal time to reach your patrons. How do you determine what that schedule should be? Easy – just head to your¬†Pinterest Stats panel for an in-depth look at monthly, daily, and hourly breakdowns of likes, comments, and repins of the pins you’ve created. Plus,¬†view your most popular pins¬†at a glance – this helps you tailor your social media strategy so you can keep generating¬†content that users love the most!

Schedule Social Posts

Effective and successful social media strategy requires the ability for advance scheduling of posts on any social media channels. LibAnswers has you covered – compose Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest¬†posts right from inside your LibAnswers system.¬†Embed live links, send Twitter Direct Messages, and post right to your Pinterest Boards. Scheduling posts ahead of time ensures that your social media channels are always buzzing with activity ‚Äď even when you‚Äôre too busy to create them at that moment.

Stats, Glorious Stats

impressions

We’re harnessing the full power of the Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest APIs to bring you¬†turbo-charged statistics on your library’s social media presence.¬†With these new statistics your library can demonstrably measure and report on user engagement. You’ll know at a glance which of your posts generated the most likes, comments, and shares. Plus, it’s easy to get an overview of your full social media presence – everything from your number of followers to a breakdown of impressions is included!

Ready? Let’s Go!

We hope you’re as excited about the new Social Media Management tool as we are! To get started, have your¬†LibApps Administrator authorize each app (Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest) by heading to the LibApps dashboard and selecting¬†Admin > Social Channel Integration.

If you need help identifying your LibApps Administrator:¬†Click¬†the blue dropdown menu from the orange command bar and select “LibApps”. Your LibApps administrator(s)¬†is displayed at the top of the list of sites in the center of the screen.

Additional Updates

We also rolled out several smaller updates as part of this release. These include:

  • LibChat Expanded “Information” – We’ve heard your¬†requests to make the “Information” about new chats more obvious – this includes things like the URL of the page where the patron started the chat, their browser version info, and their responses to any initial questions. With this update, this information comes front and center – just click the “i” icon at the top of the chat pane and boom, all the info you need is at your fingertips.
  • Searchable Internal Notes – Several of you asked if the internal notes field could be indexed & made searchable (but only on the librarian side of course!), so we did just that. You can now search for keywords and content in internal notes – just use the “full text” search from the ticket knowledgebase.
  • Friendly URLs are case-insensitive – We’ve updated the behavior of friendly URLs, so they now treat capital and lowercase letters the same. This was causing isolated issues where a friendly URL had been assigned more than once (once with uppercase and once with lowercase letters), and now those issues are no more.

Train Future Librarians and Request a *Free* Suite of Springshare Tools

Graduating Librarians, Information Professionals, and School Media Specialists are entering a workplace that requires more and more specialized skills, knowledge, and experience. Things like:

  • Experience at building a LibGuide;
  • Knowledge of administering & maintaining a LibGuides system;
  • Skill in using¬†virtual chat reference tools like LibChat;
  • Know-how with coordinating, managing, and advertising library events;
  • Expertise in building and creating interactive instructional tutorials.

At Springshare, we recognize that Librarians-in-Training are the future <cue cheesy music> of Librarianship and we want to help them be as prepared as possible for what’s to come!

To that end, we’re offering a free¬†Suite of Springshare Tools to any and all LIS Programs, School Media Specialist certification programs, or M.Ed Programs, and others. If you’re not sure your school or program qualifies, just fill out the form below and inquire!

With your LIS Suite, students will gain real-world experience using Springshare Tools. Furthermore, it can serve as a living and online archive of their student work – invaluable to future employers.

What’s in the LIS Suite of Springshare Tools?

Each LIS Suite comes with the following Springshare tools and you’re welcome to choose one, a few, or all of the tools to utilize within your program. You don’t need to get the entire Suite if you don’t need it! But, we think you might like to make use¬†of all the tools in your proverbial toolkit!

LibGuides Logo‚ÄčLibGuides CMS: ¬†Students learn to curate knowledge and build multimedia-rich guides by:

  • Creating subject, course, or topical Guides
  • Creating a mock ‘Library Website’
  • Learning about Bootstrap in a user-friendly environment
  • Creating a mock ‘Staff Policies & Procedures’ manual

LibWizard Logo‚ÄčLibWizard: Students learn to create interactive tutorials, quizzes, surveys, and forms to engage patrons by:

  • Building self-paced interactive tutorials and assessments
  • Assessing patron learning with quizzes
  • Creating engaging feedback surveys
  • Replacing paper forms with mobile-friendly online forms

LibAnswers Logo‚ÄčLibAnswers Platform: Students develop their virtual reference and reference interview skills by:

  • Practicing a live chat exchange using LibChat
  • Creating media-rich FAQs and learning best practices for keyword optimization
  • Practicing their reference interview via email, SMS, Twitter, and more

LibCal Logo‚ÄčLibCal:¬†Students learn how to create engaging library programming and events, manage space bookings, and create their own one-on-one consultation scheduler by:

  • Practicing creating a library calendar with engaging events
  • Communicating and advertising events to patrons
  • Managing library spaces, study rooms, and bookable spaces
  • Creating their own schedule for librarian consultations and advertising them to patrons

Terms of Use – All the Fun Without the Jargon

  1. Your LIS Suite of Springshare Tools may only be used within your library school, educational, or certification program to train future librarians and information professionals on the use of Springy Tools.
  2. You / your designated group of local admins are front-line support for any questions your students or faculty have about using Springshare tools. They / you can have full access to our help documentation and training, but all support questions from students/faculty are routed through you. Basically, you know them better than we do so it makes sense for their questions to be answered locally!
    • If you / your designated group of local admins have questions or need to report any issues, contact Springshare Support.
You may not use Springy Tools to provide services to patrons or end-users.

What About Content on Other LIS Systems?

Since 2011, we’ve realized the importance in providing access to LibGuides for¬†Librarians-in-Training.¬†If you’ve created content on these systems, we’ve outlined your options below.

Request Your LIS Suite of Springshare Tools!

Ready to get started? Request your LIS Suite of Tools today!

 

LibGuides 2.1.12 Update – Unified Search and LTI updates are here!

The LibGuides 2.1.12 update has rolled out, and we have several big updates¬†aimed at helping you unify the user experience across Springshare’s tools! Our huge new LTI update is now available for LibGuides CMS clients –¬†it’s¬†ready to help you deploy targeted guide and help content across hundreds of courseware pages, all from a central and easy to use interface. Our Unified Search has also rolled out and is available to all clients, so you can¬†present search results from across your Springshare tools, plus¬†integrate search results from 3rd party sources like your library catalog and discovery service. We’re stoked to see how folks use these new tools in the wild, so enough with the small talk – on to the updates!

LTI Updates

We’ve revamped our LTI tool¬†so that you can offer tailored subject-specific resources inside courseware pages across hundreds or thousands of courses.¬†Use the¬†new LTI tool to deliver a customized library landing page displaying subject-specific LibGuides, Databases, E-Reserves, and subject-expert librarians right inside your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, or any LTI-compliant LMS platform.

Take it one step further, and integrate point-of-need help with LibChat and LibAnswers FAQs. And then knock it out of the park with the ability for students reserve study rooms and book consultations with librarians using LibCal integration. All of this, with full usage statistics, on one scalable, customized, auto-generated Library Resources page inside your LMS. LibApps admins can head to LibApps > Admin > LTI Tool Builder to see all the new LTI features!

Curious how this works? Check out a great video that explains all of the new functionality!


Unified Search

Our¬†new¬†search interface options are now available in both LibGuides and LibAnswers, and can show a unified search results view¬†. You¬†can also include¬†search results from any 3rd party source ‚Äď such as your library catalog, individual databases, etc. ‚Äď any resource that offers an open search API can be integrated directly in your LibGuides and LibAnswers system!

Even better, you‚Äôll be able to select from multiple layout options for this search. Choose whether to show search results from multiple sources either in multiple tabs on the search results page (1 tab per resource), or use a bento search display, where results from each source are displayed in an individual box on a single page. ¬†We‚Äôre confident these new options will revolutionize the way users search your Springshare resources ‚Äď and best of all, all of these great new search features are¬†included as a standard part of every LibGuides and LibAnswers subscription!

Setting Up Unified Search

LibApps admins can¬†configure their search settings and integrate 3rd-party tools by going to¬†LibApps¬†> Admin > Manage Search Sources.¬†We’ve automatically added all of your Springshare apps, including LibGuides, LibAnswers, your A-Z list of databases, and even LibCal events; use the Manage Search Sources page to customize the title and description of each of these resources. You can even control the relative search weight of fields within each of these resources, ex for your A-Z resources, you can assign a higher “weight” to your Best Bet resources so they appear earlier in the list.

Plus, use the new Manage Search Sources tool to configure custom search sources. Any resource that offers an open search API is fair game, and anyone familiar with using these APIs will be able to set up custom search results from your library catalog, discovery sources such as EBSCO EDS, and many more! Select your source type, fill in the required fields, and voilà: your unified search is configured. Use our on-screen help language to walk you through the process and remember to consult with your library IT department for information on 3rd-party APIs.

Once you’ve configured your search sources, head to the Search Template customization area to set up your new custom search page! In LibGuides, admins can head to Admin > Look and Feel > Page Layout > Search; in LibAnswers, head to Admin > FAQ Groups > Edit Group Settings¬†> Pages > Search Page.

SEARCH PAGE TEMPLATE CHANGE

If you’ve created a custom template and want to take advantage of this new functionality, you’ll need to make a quick update to your template code.

Change this: To this:
<div id=”s-lg-srch-cols” class=”row”>
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†<div id=”col1″ class=”col-md-4 center”>
                {{search_filters}}
         </div>
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†<div id=”col2″ class=”col-md-8 center”>
                {{search_results}}
         </div>
</div>
<div id=”s-lg-srch-cols” class=”row”>
         {{content}}
</div>

Tabbed Search:

searchtabbedlayout1

 
Bento Search:

searchbentolayout-1


A-Z Search Improvements

While your A-Z search results page won’t look any different on the outside, we’ve¬†rolled out some great under the hood features to improve the results returned. Our new search engine will address many frequently requested improvements to the A-Z database search results, including:

  • Increased field indexing – We now index more Database fields, including¬†Subjects, Database Types, Vendors/Providers, and the More Information field.
  • Custom field weighting – Thanks to the new search customization options available to LibApps admins in LibApps > Admin > Manage Search Sources, you can now¬†customize the search weights of different fields for even better results.
  • Improved wildcard searching – Search terms will no longer need to occur in the precise order entered to retrieve results – a search for the phrase “ebook mobile” will now return results that include “Mobile friendly ebooks”, etc. Plus, a search for agr* or agr will now return results for agriculture, agricultural, etc.
  • Support AND/OR search – Include AND or OR in your search phrases, and LibGuides will handle the terms¬†accordingly.

LibAnswers 2.7 Update Coming Soon!

We’ve got some great treats in store in the 2.7 LibAnswers update, coming to you¬†this Thursday, March 3rd at 8:00am EST. While there will be no downtime for the LibAnswers system as a whole, there will be approximately 5 minutes of downtime for the LibChat service. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.¬†Read on to learn about all of the great new features coming soon!

New FAQ Group Customization

We’re simplifying the process of customizing FAQ Group pages,¬†with a focus on making customization as easy as point and click. Admins can head to Admin > FAQ Groups to check out the new options – we’d recommend trying them out in a new FAQ Group initially to ensure you don’t change the layout of an existing group.¬†All of the existing customization options are still¬†available, but you’ll now see an option to switch between simple customization vs advanced customization options.

Here are a few key features of our new simplified customization options:

  • Simplified Header Layouts – Choose from 3 straightforward header layout options to customize the position of major header elements, such as the search box, browse buttons, etc.
  • Simplified Color Customization – Use simple point and click selectors to customize font and header colors.
  • Simplified Contact Us Box – Set up your¬†Contact Us box once, including all of the ways patrons can contact you (by phone, email, SMS, LibChat, question form, etc.) and display it on every page in your¬†FAQ group with a simple click.

LibChat Updates

  • Schedule LibChat sign-off by department – We heard tons of great feedback on the new LibChat scheduled sign-off option, so we decided to extend the power to all individual departments in your site! Admins can head to Admin > LibChat Settings > Settings – you can now apply your sign-off rules to All departments, or to an individual department.
  • New LibChat department status list in¬†“Who’s Online” – We’ve also added an option so site admins can easily see which departments are currently signed in online. Head to Admin > LibChat Setup > Who’s Online to see the list!
  • Clarified LibChat status indicator on dashboard – We’ve heard some confusion from folks regarding the “LibChat is Online / Offline” message on the dashboard, so we’ve expanded the indicator to show both the status of your LibChat service as a whole, as well as your personal online/offline status.¬†LChindicator
  • Dual-claiming Bug Fix – We squashed a bug that could potentially arise when 2 people claimed a single chat at the same time.
  • Update to current version of node.js – This one’s for the nerds! We’ve updated to the most current version of node.js to ensure that LibChat is the most stable, reliable chat available in the market.

Ticket Updates

  • AND filtering for tags – We’ve updated the way tag filtering works – now, if you filter by multiple tags, we’ll treat this filter as an AND search rather than an OR search, to help you find tickets that match all tag criteria in one go.
  • Rich Text Editor¬†now available¬†in ticket transfers & internal notes –¬†Add some style to the internal notes and transfer notes you add to tickets – we’ve included the full Rich Text Editor
  • File upload in internal notes – We’ve added the option to upload files when leaving internal notes, making it easier to collaborate with your fellow librarians on documents prior to sending them on to patrons.
  • Views now support multiple owners – Are you using Views? They’re a fantastic way to create custom views of the tickets in your system – think of them as a way to save a set of¬†filters which can then be selected using an easy drop-down list on the dashboard.¬†In addition to all the other filters you can already use when creating views, you can now create views based on multiple ticket owners.
  • Ticket Export improvements:
    • Keywords and Tags are now included¬†in ticket exports.
    • Added Other Missing Filters to Stats Export – this includes the ticket status, updated between dates, turnaround hours, patron name, and email address.
    • New Export Option: Strip HTML – We’ve added an option to strip HTML from ticket content during export, which can make the contents of ticket exports much easier to read.

Coming Soon: New and Improved Search

While this is still a preview / coming soon for now, it’s one we’re very excited about!! In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding a massive update to the¬†customization options available in search. We’ll still be supporting the current search layout, but we’ll also add¬†advanced search options to¬†support executing¬†a search in multiple sources from a single search box. Both LibGuides and LibAnswers will support this new search interface right out of the box, and you’ll also be able to show search results from any 3rd party source – such as your library catalog, individual databases, etc. – any resource that offers an open search API can be integrated directly in your LibGuides and LibAnswers system!

Even better, you’ll be able to select from multiple layout options for this search. Choose whether to show search results from multiple sources either in multiple tabs on the search results page (1 tab per resource), or use a sweet bento search display, where results from each source are displayed in an individual box on a single page. ¬†We’re confident these new options will revolutionize the way users search your Springshare resources – and best of all, all of these great new search features will be¬†included as a standard part of every LibGuides and LibAnswers subscription! Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more info on when these great new features will be available!

New Tabbed Layout:

searchtabbedlayout

 

New Bento Style Layout:

searchbentolayout

LibAnswers 2.6.5: LibChat Updates Coming Soon!

We’re cooking up another great LibChat update that’s coming soon to a computer near you! We’re planning a chat server¬†restart to bring these updates live on Wednesday, December 23rd at 8:00am EST. There will be no downtime for the LibAnswers system as a whole.

Over the past few months we have dedicated a lot of development time to making the most popular chat platform for libraries even better and the response from our library community has been amazing. Our job is never done, however, so this latest batch of updates is just another step in our commitment to constantly improve and enhance our tools. You are going to love these new LibChat-centric features so let’s get right to them…

 


New Chat Widget Builder

As we’ve been cranking away on offering sweet new features for LibChat, we figured it was time for a¬†Chat Widget Builder¬†refresh. LibChat widgets offer an unprecedented level of customization, and with this new refresh,¬†the¬†smorgasbord of customization options are 100% intuitive and easy to use. Here’s a quick preview:

NewWidgetBuilder

 

The new widget builder layout is designed around a simple theme – Widget Options on the left, Text and Color customization on the right, and help text offered at every step of the way.¬†Widget Options cover how the widget functions in the wild – they’re how you control things like:

  • Widget Fallback Options – choose whether the widget should connect to a specific person, or to a chat department. If that person or department isn’t currently available, you can then choose as many fallback options as you’d like. A typical fallback might look something like: If Sarah is online, then connect new chats from this widget¬†to Sarah; If Sarah isn’t online, then connect new¬†chats from this widget to anyone in the Reference Department; If no one in the Reference Department is online, then connect to any department in my library; If no one in my library is available, then connect to our shared consortial chat service. This ensures a totally seamless experience for your patrons no matter who’s online!
  • Behavior Before the Chat – LibChat widgets support virtually any combination of welcome screen options. Some libraries prefer to¬†prompt patrons for information prior to starting a chat, to collect things like the initial patron question, patron name and email address, or even a patron’s current status with the library. Other libraries prefer to skip initial questions entirely and jump straight into a chat. LibChat supports all of these potential setups with zero coding skills necessary – two clicks and you’re done!
  • Behavior During & After the Chat – Allow or Prevent file uploads, and create custom error messages for patrons who may have trouble connecting to your service due to outdated browsers.
  • Behavior When Chat is Offline – The heart of a good 24/7 service is¬†connecting users to the help they need any time, anywhere.¬†The Offline FAQ integration is here to help you do just that – if no one is available to chat, you can set your chat widgets to show a FAQ auto-suggest search box right in the widget, so patrons¬†can connect directly to your other help content right at the point of need!

The right side of the widget is dedicated to text and color customizations. Literally every text¬†element of the chat widget¬†is fully customizable with zero coding skills- just click on the element you want to change, type in your text, and voila, you’re done! All colors are fully customizable as well – again, just click on the element you want to change, and you’ll see a color picker – pick any color you’d like, to fully brand each widget for your institution.

 


LibChat “Away” Status

Need to step away from your computer for a moment, but don’t want your LibChat service to appear¬†offline while you’re away? Then the¬†new Away status is for you! You’ll find this new option in the LibChat Operator Pane next to the Go Offline button:

setaway

 

 

When you enable the new Away setting:

Personal Widgets: Patrons will see an alert message informing them that while the chat is online, the operator is temporarily away; they can then re-check the status to see if a librarian is available.

Department Widgets: If multiple librarians are monitoring a department and one is set to Away, Department Widgets will continue to display as available. If all librarians monitoring a department set themselves to Away, the chat widget will then check to see if a fallback department is available. If all librarians are Away and there are no fallback departments available then patrons will see an alert message like the one below.

checkstatus

You can fully customize the Away message and the look of the widget¬†(and our revamped widget builder page will make customizing this text even easier!). Here’s an example of what a typical Away message might read. Remember that all of this is customizable so you can pick and choose whatever message works best for you.

 


Idle Chat Hold Messages

Picture this: a chat patron asks a real humdinger of a question – like “How many helium filled balloons would it take to lift a person off the ground?”. While you’re engaged in the thrill of the hunt for an answer, you may find this type of question will take more than a few seconds to research – heck, you may even need to leave the¬†desk to consult local reference materials.¬†While this is exactly the type of researchy thrill that many of us live for, the downside is that while you’re on the hunt, the typical chat patron is left with “dead air” – every minute that ticks by is a minute where the patron is left wondering if you’re coming back…

That’s why we’re excited to announce our new Idle Chat Messages. These help to reassure patrons that you’re still actively working on tracking down¬†an answer, automatically – so even if you’re away from your terminal, patrons will know you’re hard at work researching their question!

To create an Idle Chat message (once the update rolls out), click the “Manage Account” link from the orange command bar and scroll to the “Idle time” section. From here you’ll be able to define an idle message – like “I’m working hard on your question, thanks for your patience!” – along with the amount of time (in minutes) that should elapse before the message is shown.

 


Editing & Anonymizing Transcripts

We know how critical patron privacy is for libraries – that’s why we’re making it easy to anonymize patron information in your LibChat transcripts. Once the update rolls out, Admins will see a new option under LibChat > Chat Transcripts to Edit Chat Transcript. We’ve included 3 streamlined ways¬†to edit patron information in transcripts with minimal clicks:

  • Convert [entered name] to “Patron” – this strips the¬†name that the patron initially entered in the chat pane and changes it to “Patron”
  • Integrated Search and Replace – This allows you to automatically search on any word or phrase that may appear in a transcript (such as the patron barcode, name, etc.) and automatically replace it with either a blank space, or any text you’d prefer.
  • Click to Search – Click on any text in the transcript itself to search on that term or phrase, and use the search and replace tool to strip information as necessary.

edittranscript

 

We’ve also added a¬†new system-level option for Admins which¬†automatically removes Patron name from all¬†transcripts upon saving. When this option is enabled, the system will automatically change whatever patron name entered upon entering chat to the customizable term (Patron, or Customer, or‚Ķ whatever you choose).¬† Even when this ‚Äúautomatic anonymizing‚ÄĚ system-level option is enabled by the Admin, you will still be able to go edit individual chat transcripts, if any other information needs to be changed in the transcript itself.

 


Saved Chat Operator Settings

Do you find yourself re-setting your LibChat settings – such as the departments and queues you monitor – each time you log in to LibChat? Then our new Saved Chat Settings are for you! With this new setting, you can¬†create a login profile that applies every time you log in to your chat service. Just select which¬†chat departments and LibAnswers queues you prefer to monitor by default, and we’ll apply those settings each time you log in to your chat service.

Once the update rolls out, head to the Manage Account area from the orange command bar to set your preferred default departments and queues to monitor when you sign into LibChat.

 


Backup & Off-Hours Chat Staffing Service

OK, we admit it ‚Äď we‚Äôve saved the best for last! ¬†Many institutions and consortiums have told us they are very interested in using LibChat with a backup staffing option, for those times when they do not have enough staff options to offer full 24/7 (or weekend, or‚Ķ whenever) online reference. We have worked long and hard on this and took the time to ensure that we are able to offer this service while maintaining the highest standards that Springshare is known for, and we‚Äôre thrilled to announce that this service is now available. So, if you need backup chat reference staffing, talk to us and we‚Äôll provide you with a world-class super-duper knowledgeable staff of professional librarians with MLS degrees from accredited US library and information science schools to cover your chat reference 24/7 or during any time slots you need us, to ensure your patrons get the answers they need ‚Äď whenever that is. ¬†We are working on offering a full suite of professional services to academic, school, public, and special libraries so this chat backup staffing is just the first offering of more to come. ūüôā

We are super excited about the evolution of LibChat and its ‚Äúparent‚ÄĚ LibAnswers, and we‚Äôre constantly working to make them even better. None of this would be possible without your most excellent feedback and ideas so please keep them coming ‚Äď we love it and always want more J.¬† Please contact your Springshare regional manager, or our support & training team, or our chief springy Slaven (don‚Äôt believe the twitter hashtag rumors, he‚Äôs super-nice ūüėČ ) about these latest and greatest LibChat and LibAnswers offerings and tell us what else we should be doing to make them even better. Oh, and if you are going to MW ALA in Boston, please stop by our booth #1611 to say hello and talk to us about your chat backup staffing needs or anything else Springy-related.

Happy Holidays to All!

LibAnswers 2.6.4 Update Now Live

The LibAnswers 2.6.4 update rolled out this morning! This mini-update includes several awesome LibChat improvements and a new widget option to boot. It also includes a number of back-end server updates, which make LibChat even more stable and more powerful than ever before!

New Widget Option РSkip Entry Screen

New Widget

LibChat provides you with tons of options to customize the Chat Entry form, i.e. what question(s) you wish to ask the patron ‚Äď it could be as simple as asking for just Name, or as complex as asking them additional info (grade, initial question, desired department, etc.) ‚Äď LibChat makes it possible for you to customize this form fully. But, what if you don‚Äôt want to ask any questions and would rather just have the patron start chatting anonymously? Well, now you can ūüôā¬† We‚Äôve added a new option to skip any questions before starting the chat.

You’ll find this option in the widget builder options to Skip Entry¬†Screen. This option bypasses the need for patrons to click on a button to “Start Chat” – patrons who see the widget will¬†hop straight into the chat-in-progress view.¬†As always, all elements of this view are customizable right in the widget builder – just click on the¬†widget preview down below to customize the language to say just what you want to say.

Good to know: widgets created that skip the login screen can’t include the same pre-chat questions that our other widgets offer (like multiple choice questions and prompting people to enter their name prior to starting the chat), and all users who chat with you will be recorded as anonymous users.

New Chat Ratings & Comments Report

Chat Feedback ScreenOne of our very favorite parts of LibChat is the ability to automatically collect quick feedback¬†from end-users¬†when a chat concludes. This feature is built into every chat widget by default – it’s a fantastic way to get a quick read on patron satisfaction with your LibChat service.

Up to now, the comments that each user provided were stored inside individual transcripts. We thought we’d make it easier to discover these comments along with their associated ratings, which is why we’ve added the new Chat Ratings report! To find it, head to LibChat > Statistics and select the Chat Ratings tab.

Scheduled Chat Service Log-off

We know how it is – sometimes days have a way of getting hectic, and with the million-and-one things that happen at any library service point, sometimes folks forget to log out of chat at the end of the day. That’s why we’ve added¬†the new scheduled sign-off feature – just enter the time of day when your service should go offline, and a few minutes after the hour¬†all librarians¬†signed in¬†and monitoring LibChat will be disconnected. If librarians are currently engaged in a chat, they won’t be logged off – this will just affect folks who aren’t actively¬†chatting with patrons.

Admins Рhead to Admin > LibChat Set-up > Settings > Sign-off Schedule to set your logoff schedule!

Customized Chat Error Message

We’ve added a new customizable error message for folks who may be having issues connecting to your chat service. This message will display to patrons who, for one reason or another, are having trouble establishing a connection to your LibChat service – it could be they’re using an outdated browser (IE8, we’re lookin’ at you), or it could be that¬†they’re suffering from spotty wifi or an unreliable internet connection.

When issues like this arise, LibChat will display a special error message¬†which alerts¬†folks to the situation and displays a link to Submit Your Question. Clicking on this link will pop open the LibAnswers question form in a new window, and any information the patron previously entered will be populated into the form.¬†You can now customize this message – just head to the Widget Builder & edit any widget, then click the “Error Message” link.

Wait Time

We’ve added a new statistic –¬†you’ll now be able to see how long each chat¬†patron waited¬†before a librarian chat operator claimed and replied. This gives a bit more contextual information on your chat service, & can be helpful for monitoring staffing levels. It also provides¬†a bit more context for missed chats – did the patron wait a long time before giving up, or did they immediately navigate away (because ooo look a butterfly!).¬†You can view this new metric¬†listed in each chat transcript – it’s included for both successful chats as well as in the missed chats report.