Archive for LibAnswers

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 LogoLibGuides 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​LibWizard: 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 LogoLibAnswers 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 LogoLibCal: 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 – 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 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 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… whatever you choose).  Even when this “automatic anonymizing” 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 – we’ve 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… 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’re thrilled to announce that this service is now available. So, if you need backup chat reference staffing, talk to us and we’ll 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 – 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. 🙂

We are super excited about the evolution of LibChat and its “parent” LibAnswers, and we’re 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 – 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’t believe the twitter hashtag rumors, he’s super-nice 😉 ) 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 – Skip 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 – it could be as simple as asking for just Name, or as complex as asking them additional info (grade, initial question, desired department, etc.) – LibChat makes it possible for you to customize this form fully. But, what if you don’t want to ask any questions and would rather just have the patron start chatting anonymously? Well, now you can 🙂  We’ve 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 – head 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.

LibAnswers 2.6 Update Now Live!

The LibAnswers 2.6 Update went live earlier today, and we have several big time-saving collaborative features to share!

Answer new SMS Messages in LibChat 

We’re introducing a big +1 for librarians who staff your real time patron communication channels, aka Chat and SMS – you can now monitor and reply to SMS messages directly from within the LibChat Operator Pane!

In LibChat, SMS messages will appear in blue – claim the SMS just like you’d claim a normal chat message, and you’ll see the new SMS answer pane:

Chat Activity

 

This new interface makes it much easier to keep up with the fast and furious pace of SMS/text conversations. You’ll still have access to all of the tools we offer to help answer SMS questions, including previous message history and canned messages.

Ticket Page Updates

Speaking of fast and furious, we’re making it much easier to keep up with high velocity conversations happening on the LibAnswers ticket answer page, thanks to several key features:

  • Auto-updating Answer Page – Now, when you view the ticket answer page, new patron replies, replies from other librarians, and internal notes will appear without your needing to refresh the page. 
  • “[username] is also viewing this ticket” – You’ll now see a live on-screen alert when another LibAnswers user is viewing the same ticket you’re working on! This is especially helpful in larger organizations trying to prevent duplicate work – just keep an eye out for the small blue alert message to see who else is interested in the ticket you’re working on!
  • Forward Question into LibAnswers – Let’s say a patron emails your personal email, but the message really belongs in your LibAnswers system. Just forward that email to your LibAnswers email address without additional comment – now, LA will be able to identify the original sender’s name/email address & will create a ticket based on that contact info.

Additional Updates

  • Sound On for LibChat Widgets – You can now create LibChat widgets with sound alerts set to “on”, so your patrons will receive audio alerts for new messages you send.
  • API Filtering based on Keyword – You can now filter API calls based on the internal keywords added to FAQs.
  • Next Button for Chat Transcripts – Reading through many transcripts? We’ve added a “Next” button in the transcript viewer to help you read through faster.
  • Ticket Filtering Updates – We’ve added several new filtering options to the Knowledge Base Explorer.
  • Filters for Canned Messages – We’ve added a quick typing filter to the Canned Message area in LibChat, so you can quickly find the canned message you need.

As always, thanks to the awesome LibAnswers community for your continued ideas and feedback – we love hearing your ideas!

Watch ALA 2015 Springy Presentations By Guest Flash Presenters!

Whether you attended ALA in San Francisco, or not, you can still watch (and rewatch!) guest presenter’s Jessie Riggins (TBLC), Cathay Keough (Delaware Libraries), Aaron Dobbs (Shippensburg University), and Louise Hilton with Andrew Tadman (EBPRL) presenting on their use of Springy Tools!

Jessie Riggins

Jessie Riggins

Using LibAnswers for Statewide Ask-A-Librarian Services

Jessie Riggins – Tampa Bay Library Consortium

Jessie Riggins is the Member Services Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. Jessie manages the statewide virtual reference program for the State of Florida, Ask A Librarian. The program consists of 130 public, academic, special and k-12 libraries. The live Chat and SMS service is open 84 hours a week, and offers 24/7 email.

>> Watch Now (11min 31sec)


Cathay Keough

Cathay Keough

Cathay Keough – Delaware Division of Libraries

Delaware Division of Libraries was the first consortium to use LibAnswers to power their statewide reference.
Hear from Cathay on why they made the switch and how Delaware Division of Libraries reference teams are loving LibAnswers.

>> Watch Now (11min 10sec)


Using LibGuides @ East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Louise Hilton & Andrew Tadman – LibGuides @EBPL

East Baton Rouge Parish Library

East Baton Rouge Parish Library

EBRPL is the largest library system in Louisiana, covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. We have nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and last year we circulated 2.5 million items. EBPL has 135 active LibGuides and last year they received nearly 150,000 LibGuide views. The largest LibGuide successes have been using them as ‘how to guides’ for Overdrive, and as a focal point for community programs such as out ‘One Book/One Community’ and for their Maker resources and programming.

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LibAnswers: Not just for Library Answers @Shippensburg University

Aarron Dobbs – LibAnswers @Shippensburg University

Aaron Dobbs

Aaron Dobbs

Do you ever get questions about non-library topics? Ship Library sure does. They reached out to offices around campus and asked them what question they most commonly (and most easily/straightforwardly) answered. They worked out a process to gather, answer, and update the questions commonly asked across campus – and, because they’re librarians, they classified the heck out of the Q&A pairs and linked to the webpages which provide more information.

>> Watch Now (7min 14sec)

LibAnswers 2.5 Update Coming Friday

The summer of updates continues! The LibAnswers 2.5 update is coming on Friday, July 24th at 7:30am EDT. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of a minute or two of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat. Here’s what’s on deck:

LibAnswers Updates

  • Updated Dashboard Views – We’re making a few adjustments to the Dashboard ticket view pages to make them easier to scan for key information on each ticket. Now it’s easier to scan the page for patron name/email, current status, and who last replied (so you know who’s waiting on a response).
  • Image Previews in Tickets – We’re adding an onscreen preview for submitted image files (gif, jpeg, png, etc.). When patrons send you image files in LibChat and LibAnswers, you’ll see the image in a little popup window instead of downloading the file, so you’ll never have to download an email signature or social networking icon again. 🙂
  • RefAnalytics Completion Prompts – Want to make doubly sure librarians fill out key Reference Analytics metrics when answering tickets and chats? We’re adding a new administrative setting to remind your LibAnswers staffers to fill out the Reference Analytics form. Admins will head to Admin > System Settings > General and scroll to the new RefAnalytics settings.

LibChat Updates

  • Emoticons – We’re adding support for basic smiley chat images, making it that much easier to let folks know how you feel. 🙂 Click on the smile image in the chat widget pane to see which emoticons are supported, and add to your live chats using menu-selection or keyboard entry.
  • Updated Canned Message UI – We’re updating the selection menu in the chat pane for canned messages, so it’s easier to scan and quickly choose the right message.
  • Wait Time Statistics – We’re adding a new stats report to show you how long, on average, your chat patrons are waiting before their chat is answered. You’ll see this metric integrated in various chat reports, and you’ll also see individual wait times in each chat transcript.

Delaware Libraries Using LibAnswers for Statewide Reference

AskALibrarian DelawareWith more than 30 public, academic, and special libraries participating statewide, Ask a Librarian Delaware has been servicing Delawareans since 2003. In 2014 alone, they answered 3,000 chat questions and an additional 3,000 email questions roughly equating to 500 questions answered per month.

On March 1st, 2015 – the Ask A Librarian Delaware service switched to using LibAnswers for their statewide reference expanding their service to include SMS/Text-Message Reference. We had a chance to chat with Cathay Keough, Statewide Coordinate of Reference Services for DAAL, and here’s what she had to say!

Delaware Division of Libraries - Genealogy LibGuides

Delaware Division of Libraries – Genealogy LibGuides

What inspired you to switch to LibAnswers for your Statewide Service?

Ask a Librarian Delaware is an extension of Delaware libraries’ reference services, and in keeping with our initiative to find ways to improve library services, it was important to keep our eyes open for products that best fit our ideals.  Springshare’s LibGuides was already being used by Delaware Division of Libraries, and that gave us an introduction to the other products Springshare provides.  Upon closer examination and through a trial process, we decided to proceed with this transition to LibAnswers.  I had also seen the FAQs portion of LibAnswers in action through another library service, and was impressed by a demo provided during a library conference.

Statistics are important to DAAL – Tell us how you’re using LibAnswers Reference Analytics to track reference stats.

To track statistics, we began using the Dewey Decimal system a few years ago as a way to help us identify types of questions asked across all of our reference interactions (on the desk, telephone, email, chat, texting) and have coined the term for this reporting process, “Dewey Delaware.”  Our LibAnswers Reference Analytics was easily set up to continue this type of tracking.

You’ve been using LibAnswers for DAAL for 5 months now – tell us about your experience!

June Stats!

  • 555 Views on FAQs
  • 86 SMS/Text-Message Questions Answered
  • 600 Total June Reference Questions across Email, SMS, Chat

So far, from the training to the statistics, LibAnswers has been just what we hoped it would be:

  • easy to train library staff
  • intuitive to use
  • responsive on any device for library staff and patrons
  • adaptable for future considerations, such as developing a separate Group or Queue identity for a special library, but within the same cooperative.

Staff commonly remark that they love the interface and find it to be an easy and effective way to provide reference for online customers.

As a shared statewide system, the “Reuse Answers” (FAQs and librarians’ responses) have already shown value for library staff; it saves time as well as creates consistency in answering to share what we know in this way.  Features like Reuse Answers, patron surveys on chat, and Query Spy give us excellent information to continue to improve our reference services.

We also appreciate that Springshare’s Support Team have listened to suggestions and ideas for improving the interface as well.

What does the future hold for Ask a Librarian Delaware?

In the future we plan to explore more options for visibility of the Ask a Librarian DE service.  The widgets are easy to create and implement on library websites and anywhere Delaware patrons are online.  Our only challenge is to work with those in charge of the sites; sometimes there are hurdles with website restrictions, depending upon the library or institution.  Springshare’s products are well established and their reputation is rapidly growing, however, so it’s just a matter of time.

We enjoy providing professional and fun options for all our library patrons and students and look forward to serving our Delaware community in ways that fit their needs, where they are and when they need it.

New Castle County Public Library

New Castle County Public Library – LibAnswers Search FAQ Widget

LibAnswers Update this Thursday

Hello, hi, and howdy! We’re rolling out a LibAnswers update this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of a minute or two of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat.

This update is focused on making several important under-the-hood updates, so you won’t see any major changes in the UI, functionality, etc., but you will see exciting opportunities! 😉

Remember last month when we told you about Consortial Shared Systems? You know, the awesomeness that allows you to hook up with other, related LibAnswers v2 systems so you can share queues and chat departments (and where we rolled out the chat functionality piece of the equation)? Yeaaaah. That one. Cool, right?

Well this update brings in the big guns with shared Queues. Yup, not only can you band together to answer all patron chats, you can do the same with submitted questions! Librarians in separate sites can monitor and answer tickets from the same Queue. It’s breathtaking.

Interested in Shared Systems? Just use the handy Support tab on the admin side of your site and write to our crack support team to get your sharing party started!

And remember…there will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers v2 system this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT, but there will be a minute or two of downtime for users logged into chat, so please plan accordingly.