Archive for LibGuides CMS

Some Impending LibGuides Updates to Warm your January!

We’ve been kindling the fires of Midwinter (will we see you there??) up here at Springy HQ by coding up some great winter features you can use to spruce up your LibGuides. Just for funsies, we’re throwing in an update to LibAuth configurations, too. 🙂 These features will be live in all regions within a few days. Check ‘em out:

LibAuth supports uploading authorized values

Screenshot

Click to Enlarge

If you use LibAuth groups, you now have a couple of ways to automate the population of the Allowed Values field for your group attributes. Head over to LibApps > Admin > LibAuth Authentication and click the edit button for your LibAuth configuration. You can either upload a CSV file containing your Allowed Values, or you can specify a URL from which we can fetch the Allowed Values, which we’ll do nightly. What does this feature do for you? You might have a group of rooms in LibCal that are only bookable by current students from a certain college, or by patrons who meet certain requirements. Use this field to let LibAuth know which people are allowed to book.

Additional customizable language keys

All of the below have been added to Admin > Look & Feel > Language Options > Language Customization. Don’t see one of these for your language? Kindly shoot us an email, and we’ll add it for you. Please include a translated phrase in your language that is as close to the English original as is possible. You can customize it further in your system if desired.

Interested in contributing translations for the public side of LibGuides in a language that’s not currently available? We’d love your help!

  • Screenshot of the AZ list

    Click to enlarge

    Key 373 is the phrase “Alt. Names/Keywords” that is used for that field in your A-Z Databases list. When you change this key, the changes will be visible on the public and admin side, for consistency.

  • Key 375 is the label “Popular” that appears next to Database assets that you’ve designated as such.
  • Key 387 is the text of the tooltip that appears when you hover over the website/blog icon in a profile box.
  • Key 376 is the word “for” in Database search results.
  • Key 275 is the word “All” that appears at the beginning of the alphabetical browse listing on your A-Z Databases page.
  • Key 123 is the phrase “Last updated” that appears when you hover over a guide’s last updated date on your system homepage.
  • Key 380 is the button text that appears next to the guide sort options on your system homepage guides list.
  • Keys 362 and 365 pertain to the Courses tab on Subject pages and apply only if you have the E-Reserves module.
  • Keys 100, 376, and 322 pertain to information shown on system search results screens in Bento Box format.
  • E-Reserves item modals now correctly display your customized language when you view an individual e-reserves item.

API response changes (LibGuides CMS only)

We’ve made some small changes to the v1.2 API used for creating and updating database assets. If you’re using these API calls, you’ll now be warned if it contains errors. If your API call is successful, we’ll let you know which fields were updated. For more information, please see the documentation for each API call in LibGuides > Tools > API > v1.2. Here is a sample successful call showing all the fields that were updated. Please note that GET requests for A-Z assets were not changed.

Screenshot of API response

E-Reserves updates!

  • When you have item search turned on, “Documents” becomes the default tab.
  • When you do a search but then click to another section of E-Reserves, your search terms are cleared, and you are presented with the entire list of available items.
  • When an item appears in more than one course, its name is spelled out in search results, rather than the phrase “View Item.”
  • In E-Reserves > Settings, you can specify whether the proxy setting is on when creating new items.
  • When adding a new E-Reserves item, required fields are marked with a red asterisk.

Other small updates

  • Email notifications sent to subscribers of your blogs will contain the blog name in the subject line.
  • We replaced the orange “loading dots” with ones that move at an accessible refresh rate.
  • If your custom SSL certificate is expiring in under 60 days, we will email you. We will email you again 7 days before it expires, if you have not renewed it. Please note that this email is sent to the person who uploaded the certificate files.

Things we fixed

  • Sites with guide titles using CJK characters display correctly when displayed in an LMS via the LTI tool.
  • Regular-level users can edit database assets that they own.
  • You can add a book to a blog post by just pasting its ISBN into the Add Book dialog.
  • When you check “Show entire post” for a blog widget, the “Show Images” checkbox works properly.
  • When you add a Database asset to a guide, the Description Display preference is preserved, unless you choose a different option.
  • When you go to a specific page in our support site and log in, you’re taken to the proper page instead of the support site home page.
  • We optimized the query behind the LTI Instances page; it’s super, super fast!
  • We fixed the “Filter by Owner” menu on the A-Z list so that it includes everyone.
  • The number of profiles listed on the profiles page matches the number of profiles displayed.

Protect the Integrity of Your Springy Websites… Free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ Security Certificates

hacker

In our October 2017 SpringyNews Newsletter, we informed Springy users that recent updates to web and mobile browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) mark any HTTP webpage that contains form content as insecure. Meaning that any public webpage containing a search box, LibCal booking form, or LibAnswers Question Submission form will automatically display a ‘Not Secure‘ warning to end users.

The security and privacy of your patron’s data is of prime importance to Springshare. Having any webpage, especially your Springshare-licensed tools, marked as unsecure is not good PR for us or you! You don’t want your patrons thinking your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal websites are untrustworthy.

To that end, we’ve made all v2 products hosted on a Springshare-controlled domain HTTPS enabled. For those of you on a custom domain, we’ve enabled security certificate hosting for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal!

Chrome ‘NOT SECURE’ Warning Message

And, we’ve taken it one-step further. If you have a custom domain, we’ve added integration with Let’s Encrypt to provide free, that’s right, completely free security certificates for your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal v2 tools. We’ve made it as easy as 1,2,3 to ensure your Springshare tools are HTTPS secure, trustworthy, and safe for your end-users.

Why HTTPS Matters

HTTPS secures the communication and data transferred between our servers and your users’ browsers. Hackers and intruders exploit every unprotected resource between your websites and users. And every time a user interacts with your Springshare tool, whether it’s sending a search query through a LibGuides search-box or submitting a LibCal room booking request, they are sending data from that website through the interwebs to our data servers. If any part of your website is loaded over HTTP, that data is unsecure and could potentially be used to exploit other secure parts of your website. So we recommend that all pages, resources, and widgets be loaded securely over HTTPS.

Furthermore, HTTPS doesn’t just block misuse. It’s often a requirement for many browsers.

HTTPS Protects the Integrity of Your Web Presence

HTTPS helps prevent intruders from interfering with the communication between your Springshare websites and your users’ browsers. They exploit HTTP/unprotected communications to trick your users into giving up sensitive information or installing malware. Given the opportunity, they will exploit every resource that travels between your Springshare websites to your users. Resources like images, cookies, scripts, HTML… etc.

Getting a Security Certificate is Important

Security Certificates are provided by reputable and trusted third-party companies that verify your organization and your website transactions. These Certificate Authorities provide a security certificate that proves that the website/domain really belongs to you and nobody else. Essentially, the security certificate is what allows you to put the S in HTTPS.

unlock

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, and its what allows users to access webpages. When you enter in http:// in front of your web address, it tells the browser to connect, fetch, and transfer the requested webpage.

 

lock

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, which uses an encrypted connection when transporting webpage data.

 

My Domain Ends in .libguides.com, .libcal.com, .libanswers.com, etc.

If your v2 system is on a Springshare-owned domain, you’re all set! These domains already have SSL/HTTPS support built-in. So you can update all links to / within your system to HTTPS links now. Learn more about enabling HTTPS for Springshare-owned domains.

Wait, I Have a Custom Domain (ends in .edu, .org, .co.nz, etc.)

If your v2 systems have custom domains (e.g., ask.mylibrary.org, calendar.university.edu), then you must obtain and install an SSL certificate in order to avoid warnings. There are two ways in which you can obtain an SSL certificate.

1. Work with Your Local IT Department

Connect with your IT colleagues to obtain an HTTPS certificate for each custom domain. You own your domain and thereby you own the certificate, too… just install it on our servers when it’s ready.

If – gasp – you ever decide to cancel any of your Springshare tools where you have an HTTPS certificate, you still own your certificate(s) and can move it/them to any other server.

2. Use Our Free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ Security Certificate

We’ve added integration with Let’s Encrypt, an industry-leader, to provide free and automated security certificates… right inside your Springshare tool.

LibGuides Users

We’ll do all the hard-work by requesting and installing a free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate for you! Poof, magic! Plus, we’ll automatically renew your ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate. This way, you can spend less time chasing down certificates and more time doing the stuff you need to do. And, if your IT department is going to need a few months before they can get your custom certificate, your site can still be protected with ‘Let’s Encrypt’ in the meantime.

The only thing you need to do on your end is to update your custom domain to point to the secure server. Once you’re pointing to the secure server, we’ll automagically install your free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ security certificate. Check-out this FAQ outlining the secure endpoints for your CNAME record.

If at any point you want to upload your own custom certificate, simply follow these steps.

For LibAnswers/LibCal Users

The first thing you’ll need to do is update your CNAME record to the secure server endpoints. Then, contact our support team about requesting a ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate on your behalf. It’s still free, and you can replace it anytime with your own certificate, but we haven’t fully automated the process… yet!

So, You’ve Added a Security Certificate… What’s Next?

Kudos to you – you’ve taken a huge step in ensuring that your patrons’ experience a safe web experience. But, there’s still a few more things you need to do!

1. Update All Links to HTTPS

Most likely, you’re linking to your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal systems from a variety of websites like your Library homepage, on your blog, your Facebook page, etc.

It’s imperative that you update all references to these systems with the updated HTTPS link. There’s no point in doing all this work to make your Springy tools secure if you’re still pointing to the HTTP/unsecure URL.

Update links to Springy Tools to HTTPS

2. Update Embedded Widgets to HTTPS

Although your site is configured correctly to display over HTTPS, individual pages can still be considered unsecured if they contain content from HTTP sources (such as embedded videos, search widgets, etc.). To prevent this from happening, you will either need to change the content’s source URL to HTTPS, or remove the content from the page.

Be sure to check with your database vendors about getting HTTPS widget code.

We’ve made it as easy, and free, as possible for you to ensure a secure and trustworthy experience for your end users. So, c’mon folks – let’s make sure your Springshare sites are safe and ‘Let’s Encrypt’!

LibGuides Update: E-Reserves Item Search, Patron Login with LibAuth, LibAuth Setup Wizard, and a Ton More Updates!

E-Reserves Search

Check out this giant present for your holiday celebrations!

Or if you’re not into December holidays, Happy 2018 from Springy to you! 🙂

There are a ton of new features for you to explore in LibGuides this month.

Log into LibApps patron accounts with LibAuth

If you head over to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron accounts = and if you see accounts listed there, those users can now sign into Discussion Boards and Blog Comments using your local authentication layer (LDAP, CAS, AD, etc.).  If you don’t see any accounts listed there, good news, you can batch import! This way, your users can actively participate and comment in your LibGuides system using their trusted and known local authentication layer and without having to remember yet another login. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Go to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron Accounts to create accounts via import, or to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron Accounts > Settings to enable self-registration.
  2. Set up your LibAuth configuration.
  3. Be sure to set the “Allow logging into LibApps using this authentication?” option at the bottom of the screen to “Yes.”

LibAuth Setup Wizard

If your institution is a member of the InCommon Federation or UK Federation, you can now set up a LibAuth connection in just a few clicks. Just choose your institution name from the setup drop-down, and we’ll create a configuration for you, pasting in your metadata URL and filling in machine-readable attributes. If you’re not a member of either federation, or you wish to use a different protocol outside federation setup, no problem! Just choose to set up a configuration manually. We continue to support SAML / Shibboleth / ADFS, CAS, SIP2, LDAP, and a self-hosted script of your own creation.

Let’s Encrypt support

We are pleased to announce support for free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. Similar to the certificates that we manage for Springy domains (e.g., libguides.com), these short-term certificates for your LibGuides domains will be installed and renewed by us at no cost or bother to you. Simply change your site’s domain to your desired custom domain, and we’ll do the rest!

Already have a custom domain? No problem! We’ll be requesting and installing Let’s Encrypt certificates for LibGuides custom domains  in the coming weeks. If you prefer to upload your own SSL certificate, you can still do that, no problem! Sites that have already uploaded their own certificates will not be changed, although you are welcome to switch from your own certificate to Let’s Encrypt. Please contact support to get started: support@springshare.com.

Let’s Encrypt certificates are currently only available for LibGuides sites with custom domains but will be coming to LibAnswers and LibCal custom domain sites in the near future.

As always, we manage the SSL certificates for your LibWizard, LibStaffer, and LibInsight sites.

E-Reserves item search

Now you can provide a deeper search of your e-reserves content! Go into E-Reserves > Settings > Search and enable item search to see new tabbed search results on your E-Reserves pages that includes all E-Reserves items. Search results include courses like they always have, but item search retrieves documents that are not assigned to a course as well as those that are. Visibility dates and access rules (passwords) for courses and items are also enforced.  The new enhanced display also shows you which Subjects courses are assigned to.

If you don’t want item level search, just head to E-Reserves > Settings > Search to disable the item level search.

Screenshot of e-reserves item search results

E-Reserves page URLs are “savable”

Want to send a link to your e-reserves courses by Instructor? By Subject? Now you can! Any URL that you navigate to on your public e-reserves pages is now savable and shareable. Bonus: this extends to search results, too! You can create a search retrieving exactly the desired subset of courses and documents and forward that on to the appropriate audience. Pssst, we heard you! We’ll be making this change for the LibGuides system and group home pages in a release coming up in a few short weeks.

AZ fixes and features

There are two new filters on the A-Z Databases management page: Asset Owner and Last Updated date. Use these to search for a subset of databases maintained by a certain person, or to make sure that updates have been done timely.

Screenshot of new filters on the AZ management page

Additional AZ Fixes and Features

  • Login credential updates save correctly
  • Column filters on AZ settings page work correctly
  • Counts of popular databases are correct on the Analyze Holdings page
  • Internal notes with quotation marks save correctly

Accessibility fixes

  • Added missing labels on public blog pages
  • Reference to non-existant imagemap removed
  • ALT text for Books from the Catalog

…and Even More Small Fixes!

  • Added a link back to domains page from certificate upload page
  • Image manager: replacing an image with a new image works correctly
  • Databases without a URL show properly as plain text in a guide
  • Guide Blog page RSS feed works if your site is forced to HTTPS
  • Accounts page: account type filter works correctly
  • Search:
    • EBSCO Discovery Service search results pagination works correctly
    • Punctuation inEBSCO Discovery Service search results works correctly
  • The default template for individual subject page is editable when E-Reserves module is enabled
  • Link checker
    • Exclusion list URLs with special characters filter correctly
    • All proxied assets are skipped
  • Blog widgets: new option to display post dates
  • Blog widgets display correctly for posts with more than one subject
  • Statistics: Content Summary visible when E-Reserves module is disabled
  • Updating single database asset with the API works correctly

And last but not least: we disabled the “Create Guide” button after you click on it once, so that it’s no longer possible to accidentally create more than one guide. 🙂

 

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #3: Is Your Library Holi’Ready?

Avoid Holiday Stress

A big part of holiday planning is knowing where to be, and when. You’ve got dinner plans at your friend Tina’s house on the 24th at 6pm and latkes at your cousin Tim’s abode on the last day of Hannukkah. Coordinating all of those invitations and appearances requires a lot of planning and forethought. Will the train be packed at 5pm causing you to be late? Should you take 95N instead of 93N so you can swing by your favorite wine shop for a hostess gift? Can you fit your workplace New Year’s Eve party AND your family’s party on the same night?

Planning, Planning, Planning. Stress, Stress, Stress.

And just imagine, your library guests are under the same amount of pressure as you – plus they’re trying to find time to swing by the library as well! Maybe they’re trying to pick up some light reads to enjoy during the break, or studying for exams, or even attending your super awesome’sauce events! Whatever their reason for swinging by, you want to make sure you’re alleviating and not adding to their stress.

So the question is, is your library Holi’Ready?

Tip #3: Getting Your Library Holi’Ready

Getting your library Holi’ready doesn’t mean elaborate decorations, traveling snack-carts, or tons of holiday events. Good on you if you are (seriously, awesome job!), but even the smallest things can have a big impact and help to reduce the stress your library guests are already under.

Are Your Holiday Hours…. Everywhere?

LibCal-Hours

LibCal Hours Module: Today’s Hours Widget.

Your library hours are probably available on a hundred different webpages. And if you’re updating them to reflect your special holiday schedule, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a few places. And inevitably, a library patron will find that one webpage where the hours haven’t been updated and they’ll show up at your doors at 9pm – well past closed. They’re going to be peeved, upset, and frustrated.

And rightfully so! Most likely, their entire day is planned down to the minute – so if they found a webpage that says you’re going to be open, and then you’re not, that throws their entire day (and probably subsequent days) into the lurch.

A great way to ensure that you’re updating all your webpages to reflect your current library hours is to use the LibCal Hours ModuleThe Hours module let’s you define your standard hours, special holiday hours, and even one-off exceptions like “Aaaccck, we have to close early because a Snowa’caine is coming!”. Simply define all your hours, for all future dates and then grab an hours widget and embed that widget into those aforementioned webpages. As your hours update, day-by-day, the hours module will automagically update.

Say goodbye to outdated webpages showing inaccurate hours and say hello to happy patrons!

Text ‘Holidays’ to Get Library-Related Information

Back in 2011, about 73% of American adults and nearly almost all young adults (95%) send and receive text-messages according to a Pew Research Report. Fast-forward 6 years, and those numbers can only have increased. In fact, Forbes reported in 2015 that Millennials text more and talk less because they see phone calls “as overly intrusive, even presumptuous”.

Bottomline, if they want to communicate with your library – they’d prefer to do it as efficiently as possible and preferably over text-message.

If your library is using LibAnswers, be sure to take advantage of SMS Automatic Keywords. This way, your patrons can text a keyword, like ‘Holiday’, to your library’s SMS number and receive an auto-response with all the relevant information. Navigate to Admin > Queues > Select Your Queue > SMS Tab > SMS Automatic Keywords to set those up.

It’s fast and easy for them, and no staff monitoring of your library’s SMS service to boot. This 2010 interview with Johnson & Wales University Providence shows how their using SMS keywords in the library – it’s an oldie, but goodie!

Be sure to advertise your keywords inside the library and on your webpages too.

Pro-Tip: Update the automatic response periodically to entice your users to text again, and again – always getting new information with each one.

LibAnswers SMS Automatic Responses: Each Keyword gets up to two auto-responses = 300 characters.

Do Librarians Know All Relevant Holiday Information?

If you’re anything like most Americans, you suffer from inbox fatigue. You’re inundated with emails – whether it’s newsletters, marketing emails, SPAM, or internal communication that could have been done f2f, your inbox is exploding. In fact, 205 billion emails are sent every day. Yup, that’s billion…. with a B. 

Can you remember the last time you achieved inbox zero? For some folks, that day is yet to come.

So, if you’re trying to communicate important holiday information – try and give your colleagues a break and take it outside of email. Getting your library Holi’ready means getting your staff ready too.

1. Use Your Admin Alert Boxes!

Inside your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibStaffer tools – you have access to an Admin Alert box. Head over to Admin > Admin Alert Box or System-Settings (depending on the tool).

This way, your colleagues can see custom alerts letting them know about important holiday information like hours, food drives, events, etc.

LibAnswers Admin Alert Box right on the Dashboard.

 

2. Discussion Boards in LibGuides (CMS Only)

For LibGuides CMS users, you have access to an internal discussion board. This is great for housing and storing internal discussions related to this holiday season – such as staffing schedules, holiday staff parties, and what types of events to throw at the library.

LibGuides CMS discussion boards are searchable and can be keyword tagged for sorting/filtering. So if you’re trying to remember, “What were our holiday hours last year?” you can simply login, filter on your keyword ‘Holiday’ and see the entire discussion thread and final resolution.

Remember, email was never intended to be a permanent archive – so if you’ve got saved emails in your inbox from 2008, it might be time to consider an alternative approach. 😛

LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards to Create an Internal/Searchable Staff Intranet

 

If you have any additional suggestions for getting your library holi’ready, comment below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing tips’! Hopefully you enjoyed Tips #1 and #2 and tune in next year when we do it again!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

Crafting

Nothing says the holidays more than homemade. Whether you’re baking rugelach, hand-crafting thoughtful gifts, or DIY’ing your decorations – you’re sending the message that your guests are special and deserving of homemade. Nothing beats homemade, but it can take a lot of effort, time, and work!

If you’re looking to bring that ‘homemade’ feeling to your library, you’re probably daunted by the idea of providing a homemade experience for each and every one of your patrons! How will you do it?! Well, a great way to offer a homemade experience is to provide tailored services. So while you’re not knitting individual items for each individual patron, you’re still providing a tailored experience just for them.

In fact, a 2016 article in Forbes magazine on 2017 technology trends predicted the ‘everything on-demand’ trend that definitely took off this year. Apps to deliver food, laundry, a ride, movie streaming, and more.

So, our next tip in our ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ is all about delivering that tailored homemade and on-demand experience.

Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

You might already be familar with creating LibGuides tailored-made for specific courses or assignments, but there are loads of other Springy tools you can use to bring that feeling of Hygge into your Library and for your users.

Create Holiday-Specific Mobile Micro Sites

The 2016 Pew Research Center Libraries Report showed that 49% of people accessed a public library website from their handheld mobile devices – smartphones and tablets. The 2017 Horizon Report highlights a 2016 StatCounter study which found that 51.3% of all web browsing worldwide took place on mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop web browsing for the first time. So, mobile access is important!

In case you didn’t know, LibGuides and LibGuides CMS subscribers have access to an optional add-on module called the mSite Builder. The mSite Builder allows you to create multiple mobile ‘micro’ sites for users to access on their smartphones.

There are tons of way you could use the mSite Builder. You could create a microsite for a walking tour of your library, or one showcasing upcoming library events, a fun scavenger hunt, or even a mobile conference site if you’re hosting!

But, what about creating a microsite focused on the library’s holiday events and activities?

Holiday Microsite: Getting Hygge With It!

Link to your special holiday microsite off of your regular mobile website to deliver a homemade, tailored, and on-demand experience to your patrons.

Plus, you can embed Font-Awesome icons on your mobile page menu to add a visual element.

Librarian On-Demand – Uber Reference Using LibAnswers SMS

If your library promotes roving reference, why not rebrand it as Uber reference? Everyone is calling themselves the ‘uber of something’ these days and it immediately brings to mind “they’re coming to me”. Plus, nothing says tailored library services than literally showing up at their library location with research goodies just for them.

Add signage throughout your library encouraging users to text-a-librarian for uber reference! If they text their location and what they need help with, you can reply back with an estimated arrival time of a librarian.

LibAnswers SMS

Uber Reference using LibAnswers SMS

 

Meet Me Under the My Scheduler

LibCal’s My Scheduler lets you set up your own personal schedule of availability so patrons can book time with you for one-on-one consultations. You can arrange My Schedulers by location, branch, or even by topic – so patrons don’t need to know who they’re meeting with, just that they need someone who’s great at setting up eReaders.

But what about patrons who can’t physically come to the library. It is the busy holiday season after all and in some parts of the northern hemisphere it’s brutally cold! How can you provide one-on-one tailored services to people who won’t, or physically can’t, come into the library for help?

Create a LibCal My Scheduler Category called ‘Online’ – and encourage patrons to make appointments with librarians, virtually! Using your library’s webinar technology tool or even something simple (and free!) like Join.Me.

Simply create a LibCal My Scheduler Group called ‘Online Appointments’ and assign librarians to it. Patrons can select that category when scheduling an appointment.

LibCal My Scheduler – Online Category for Providing Online-Only Assistance

 

Have fun exploring how these Springshare tools help you bring that homemade, tailored, library experience designed to make them feel like it’s all ‘just for them‘ into the library. If you can think of other ways your library can get Hygge with it, drop a note in the comments below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back next week for Tip #3!

7 Tips for Making Your Case to Use LibGuides CMS to Power Your Website

Kutztown University Library Homepage

When updating the library’s website, you’re not making that decision in a vacuum. More often than not, it’s a group decision that must go through multiple layers of stakeholders and departments.

If you’re advocating moving your Library Website into LibGuides CMS, you’ll need some feathers in your quill to strengthen your position.

Here are seven tips designed to help you ‘make your case’ towards moving your library website into LibGuides CMS.

1. Streamline Interfaces…For Everyone

Your library employs many web-based services to meet the needs of your patrons. From your website to the online catalog, from your blog to your Facebook page – you have a lot of virtual touch-points to manage.

Moving your library website into LibGuides CMS helps you to streamline interfaces, for everyone. Staff only have to go to one place to access research guides and website content. Plus, with LibGuides CMS you get free access to LibWizard Lite survey and form builder. This means one less login and password to remember to create forms and surveys. And, if you setup LibAuth integration, staff only need to login to your CAS/LDAP/AD/Shibboleth or other authentication tool to login to LibGuides CMS.

Patrons only have to navigate to one URL to access their website, research guides, embedded LibWizard surveys/forms, E-Reserves content, and more.

August University Library Homepage

Augsburg University Library uses their LibGuides CMS homepage to showcase library resources and prominently display their research guides.

2. Mobile-Friendly & Accessibly Designed

The 2016 Pew Research Center Libraries Report showed that 49% of people accessed a public library website from their handheld mobile devices – smartphones and tablets. The 2017 Horizon Report highlights a 2016 StatCounter study which found that 51.3% of all web browsing worldwide took place on mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop web browsing for the first time.

These stats are letting you know that mobile access is not a trend, but the ‘new normal’ and it’s here to stay. But, that’s easier said than done. A mobile-first website is more than just ensuring that your website adjusts properly on all screen sizes, but it’s also important that your website’s user-interface elements change based on their screen size as well. A submit button, for example, should adjust for both desktop mouse usage and smartphone’s touchscreen ‘finger’ usage.

And, if that wasn’t already too much to consider – you also need to ensure that your website is accessible to boot. Do you have ‘skip to’ navigate for screen-readers? What about Aria tags for any JavaScript elements?

If you’re looking to make a case to move to LibGuides CMS to power your website, a mobile-first layout and built-in accessibility features can help!

Kutztown University Library Homepage

Kutztown University Library’s LibGuides CMS powered website looks great on desktop and mobile.

3. Showcase Other Libraries That Are Doing It

Sometimes, the best way to make your case is to showcase all of the other libraries that are doing it.

Our Buzz Guide showcases tons and tons (and did we say tons?) of libraries from Academic, to Special, to K-12/School Libraries that are using LibGuides CMS to power their websites. Plus, did you know that all Government of Health Libraries in Western Australia use LibGuides CMS to power their respective websites? Cool, right?!

4. Move Your Intranet Into the Cloud

So, beyond using it to power your website, and creating patron research/subject guides, you can also use LibGuides CMS to create a cloud-based staff intranet. Using Internal Groups, staff are required to ‘sign-in’ to access the protected content. Plus, you can use integrated discussion boards for collaboration and feedback and get out of your inbox.

This way, staff can access important content from anywhere…on any devicesecurely.

Albuequerque/Bernalillo County Public Library Staff Intranet

The Albuequerque/Bernalillo County Public Library created a protected CMS group called Habenero to manage internal communication across 18 branches.

 

5. Enjoy Seamless Springy App Integration

Lots of libraries who use LibGuides CMS to power their website also use LibAnswers and LibChat to power their reference services, LibWizard for all their surveys and interactive tutorials, and LibCal to promote their events, room bookings, and librarian one-on-one consultations.

It’s not just because these tools are awesome (they really are but we could be biased so you could take the University of Liverpool Library’s word for it or the University College Cork Library or even the Houston Community College Library) but also because they easily integrate with your LibGuides CMS powered website.

Plus, our unified search brings together your LibGuides CMS content, your A-Z list, LibAnswers FAQs, LibCal events, and any additional 3rd party tool (i.e. discovery layer or OPAC) that you want to add.

Walden University LibGuides Unified Search

Walden University Library integrates LibAnswers FAQs, LibGuides CMS content, and their LibGuides A-Z list plus their discovery portal inside into their LibGuides CMS Unified Search.

6. Academic Librarians – Employ Native Courseware Integration

It’s hard enough for Academic librarians to get students to navigate to, and use, the library’s website and resources. But, nowadays, students have so many other ‘websites’ that keep drawing their focus. The student portal, the activities webpage for on-campus events, Banner for grades, and now courseware tools like Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas too. How can the library compete for their attention?

LibGuides CMS has native courseware integration with any LTI-compliant courseware tool. So you can integrate your website content AND relevant courseware materials right at their point-of-need.

Plus, the LibGuides LTI Automagic tool helps you to embed your LibGuides CMS powered content across thousands of courses.

Penn State University used the LibGuides CMS LTI Builder to natively integrate relevant LibGuides, course-specific E-Reserves, and a LibAnswers LibChat widget across 33,000 courses in Fall 2016 and 32,000 courses in the Spring 2017 semester.

Was it successful? Well, in only 138 days of the Fall 2016 semester they had 80,000 hits.

Note: Penn State University Libraries does not use LibGuides CMS to power their website. 

7. Robust Training & Documentation

If you’re already using LibGuides CMS, and you want to know how to use it to power your library website – we’ve got you covered! Watch our ‘Creating a Homepage with CMS‘ training webinar series and check-out our help documentation that walks you through some key steps.

And remember, if you need help at any time, for any reason – you can contact us. Springshare Support to the rescue!

Tips for Designing LibGuides for Children

The look and design of your LibGuides will change depending on your audience. If you’re designing LibGuides for adults, graduate students, or advanced learners – you’ll focus more heavily on library resources, advanced searching techniques, and information literacy skill reinforcement.

When designing LibGuides for children, think bright, colorful, engaging, and entertaining.

No matter what children are doing online, whether its entertainment or education, they’re looking to have fun. Your LibGuide should be simple to use and exciting. If it’s not, you run the risk of them going elsewhere – to a webpage that can hold their short attention spans and fulfill their instant gratification needs.

So, when designing your LibGuide – dig deep and think back to when you were a child. Let’s cover a few tips for designing LibGuides for children.

1. Design for Appropriate Ages

Remember when you were 12 and someone gave you a gift meant for a 7 year old?! Gasp, the horror! You’re a pre-teen, not a baby!! Well, the same principle applies to your LibGuides. One size does not fit all, so consider creating different LibGuides for each age group. Furthermore, what holds the attention of a 7year old is going to be totally different than what attracts a 10year old. Create LibGuides CMS groups to customize the look & feel of each group of guides for each age group.

Example Guides Customized by Age Group

One great example that comes to mind is the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District LibGuides System. They’ve created different groups for PreK, K-5, and 6-12 age groups that all have a different look and feel.

Las Vegas County Public Library LibGuides

Las Vegas Clark County Public Library has different customizations for each age LibGuides CMS age group

2. Use Bright Colors & Images

Children respond to bright primary and secondary colors. Think red, blue, yellow, green, purple, and orange. Avoid muted colors and think bright saturated color schemes. Don’t skip over accessibility concerns, because if an adult can’t read purple text on a yellow background, then a child won’t be able to either.

3. Use Images to Create a Call to Action

Try to avoid lots of ‘copy’ and consider using images to create a call to action. There are loads of free tools you can use to create beautiful icons, and you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use them!

Examples:

Trinity Grammar School Uses Large Icons to guide Students

Canadian International School uses awesome icons to communicate library resources to students.

4. Incorporate Interactive Elements

Children want to play, plain and simple. Even when they’re learning, they learn better in a game’ified environment. Consider adding interactive polls, embedded videos, interactive widgets and activities to enrich their learning experience.

Moffat Library of Washingtonville adds interactive poll assets to every book asset to create a ‘Battle of the Books’ environment.

5. Consider ‘Characters’

Young children respond to characters and storylines. Creating a rich ‘story’ helps to create a connection between them, your content, and the learning outcomes. Consider using LibGuides blogs to create ongoing blog posts around a library character or story element.

The Harker School’s blog features the Harker Eagle, the school’s mascot.

6. HAVE FUN!

Above all, when creating a LibGuide designed for children – have fun with it! Unleash your inner child and think big, bold, bright, engaging, and entertaining.

Fall LibGuides Updates – Check ’em Out!

We released support for uploading your own HTTPS (SSL) certificates in September, and boy have you been using it! You’ve had a lot of great questions and helped us devise an improved Certificate Management page that is more intuitive to use. Haven’t uploaded a certificate yet? Need to renew and upload a new one? No problem! Just log into LibApps and head to Admin > Domains & Certificates. Click the padlock icon for the domain in question, and you’ll see information about your certificate (or lack thereof) right there.

Please note: the first step in the process is to change your domain’s DNS to point to the secure endpoint for your region. Please see our help guide for complete information.

Once you’ve done that, go to Your Certificate > Upload Certificate Files, or if you need a CSR and KEY with which to purchase a certificate, create and download those at Your Certificate > Generate and Download Certificate Signing Request & Private Key.

Once you upload your certificate file and key, the files will be installed and activated on our servers within one business day. The time of final activation depends on your region.

Screenshot

A Note on Site Cleanup

Just a friendly reminder that if you have ever switched to a custom domain or have otherwise had a domain change, including moving from a beta site to your live site, you should update any redirects and links that point to the old site.

Redirects include your custom homepage guide if you use one, group homepages, guides, and guide pages. We have redirects in place so that these bad domains will themselves redirect to the right place, but it’s best practice to eliminate these bad links by using relative URLs for your redirects. Using relative URLs means you don’t have to worry about changing redirects or links should you happen to change domains again in future.

So, if you redirect your system URL to a guide, go to Admin > Look & Feel > Page Layout > Homepage > Customization. If you’ve clicked the “Use Custom” button and have a redirect entered in the redirect field, make sure that it’s a relative URL. That would mean entering /home rather than https://mylibrary.libguides.com/home.

 

DO THIS: NOT THIS:
/home https://mylibrary.libguides.com/home

 

Screenshot

If you’re a LibGuides CMS customer and make use of groups, you should check at Admin > Groups > (edit group) > Page Layout > Group Homepage > Customization and make sure that you’re using relative URLs as redirects, if you have any.

It’s also important to check all custom templates and header and footer code for your site and groups to make sure that you aren’t using any links to old domains, including your original LibGuides v2 beta site. These can also be safely replaced with relative URLs.

Lastly, do a quick search in the Search & Replace tool for “beta” or your old domain to make sure you don’t have any guide content that needs updating. Check out our Search & Replace Tools videos for more help:

Accessibility Fixes

  • Database resource icons correctly have a blank ALT tag, as these are decorative images. Screenreaders will read a resource icon’s description aloud, so be sure to add that if the icon’s meaning isn’t otherwise conveyed in the link name.
  • The Fieldset Element has been correctly added to LibGuides search results facets.
  • The <b> tag no longer appears on search results pages.
  • The Guides and AZ list widgets have appropriate labels, when displayed as a drop-down menu

Aditional Fixes and Features

We also have a slew of smaller things to share with you:

  • Fixed! Search from a group homepage, search results are filtered to show only that group.
  • Gallery box slide titles are now easy to target with CSS.
  • The character limit for database asset internal notes has been expanded to 1,000 characters.
  • If you exceed the character limit for guide-level Custom JS/CSS, you are warned and not able to save.

Springy https-a-palooza is Go!

It’s here – the release you’ve all been waiting for: the Springy https-travaganza! 🎉
And yes, it’s “Springy” vs. a specific product, because this affects all of our products. Let’s go through the list of fun new stuff, shall we?

LibAnswers & LibCal Now Support SSL Certificates (via LibApps)

LibApps Admins can now upload security certificates for LibAnswers and LibCal custom domains! It’s not just LibGuides anymore, folks. All products that support custom domains now also support security certificates for those domains. Head to LibApps > Admin > Domains & Certificates, and click the lock icon in the Actions column. Please read through those screens and our documentation to learn more about the process of installing certificates for your sites. This often requires coordination with your IT department so be sure to include those folks in your conversations, as well.

Don’t forget, anyone on a libguides.com, libanswers.com, libcal.com, libwizard.com, libsurveys.com, libinsight.com, or libcrm.com domain is already covered by Springshare’s security certificates, so you can go all https at any time! (If you’re on a campusguides.com, libguidescms.com, or communityguides.com domain, please contact us about switching to a libguides.com domain to take advantage of our security certificate. In addition, if you have a domain formatted like this – guides.mylibrary.libguides.com – please contact us about changing to something like guides-mylibrary.libguides.com in order to take advantage of our security certificate.)

As we’ve mentioned before, this only covers your Springy domain, not the widgets, etc., you’ve added within any pages. If you’ve decided to use https for your sites, you’ll also want to check any widgets you’ve added to the systems (other vendor/site widgets, like those from subscription databases, social media sites, etc.) to see whether they are http or https, as non-https widgets will trigger a security warning. If they are not https, check with that vendor/site to see if they offer an https option. Springshare widgets/APIs are either protocol-less (meaning they’ll work on both http and https pages) or are already https. See our FAQ for more info.

LibApps Now Supports Wildcard and SAN Certificates

Yes! You can now upload wildcard and SAN certificates. What are wildcard certificates, you may ask? They’re certificates that cover a whole domain vs. just one subdomain. For example, a wildcard certificate might be for *.mylibrary.org, so it covers mylibrary.org, research.mylibrary.org, ask.mylibrary.org, calendar.mylibrary.org, etc., etc., all under a single certificate. Most sites likely won’t need a wildcard certificate, but for those who do, it’s now an option.

Force https is Available…

…for most apps. LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard allow you to force pages / widgets / APIs to load via https. LibInsight always loads over https. The best part? This is available to:

  • All sites on libguides.com, libanswers.com, libwizard.com, libsurveys.com, and libinsight.com domains and
  • LibGuides and LibAnswers sites with custom domains, who have uploaded security certificates.

The ability to force https for LibCal sites (via LibApps) will be available in the not-too-distant future, and we’ll be updating LibStaffer to be all https, all the time. Keep your eyes on our blog for those announcements.

What does this actually mean? If you’ve enabled “force https,” have an http link to a guide in LibGuides or FAQ in LibAnswers (etc.) somewhere on a webpage, and someone clicks that link, they’ll automatically be redirected to https instead. Any links they click for other pages in that LibGuides / LibAnswers / etc. site will also automatically load over https. That’s it! It loads your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard pages over https no matter whether the link that brought the user there was http or https. So if you forgot to update a link…or someone has something bookmarked…or a member of your community has a link on one of their webpages…it’ll always load over https.

What does this not mean? The links you have set up in your site that go to other websites (subscription databases, books in your catalog, etc.) will not be forced to use https. Springshare does not control those other websites, so we have no control over how those sites are loaded.

Here’s how to force Springy sites to use https:

  • LibInsight: enabled by default; you don’t have to do a thing.Screenshot of "Force HTTPS" setting.
  • LibWizard: Go to Admin > System Settings > Misc Settings.
  • LibGuides & LibAnswers:
    • Go to LibApps > Admin > Domains & Certificates.
    • Click the lock icon in the Actions column for the site.
    • Under “Force HTTPS” Setting, choose Required.
      If you do not see the “Force HTTPS” Setting section, either that app doesn’t currently support it as an option (e.g., LibInsight is always https; LibCal support is coming soon) or you have a custom domain (for LibGuides / LibAnswers) and need to upload a security certificate before you can access that option.

On LibGuides v1, LibAnswers v1, or LibAnalytics?

The best advice we can give you is to move to v2. The v2 platform is better, more secure, faster, feature-rich…so there is no reason to stay on v1. If you’d like some assistance, our support team can help you figure out how to do it in the quickest way possible. We also have dedicated training sessions and step-by-step migration guides (LibGuidesLibAnswersLibAnalytics) to walk you through the entire process. We do not support SSL certificates for custom domains for v1 systems.

Additional Features & Fixes

It wouldn’t be us if we didn’t also include an extra list of fixes & features in our releases, now would it?

  • LibGuides: A-Z Page statistics are now available in base LibGuides, in addition to LibGuides CMS.
  • LibAuth: Empty postfix field is allowed in LDAP configurations.
  • LibAnswers: LibChat accessibility adjustment – frameborder=”0″ has been replaced with CSS in chat widgets.
  • Fixed in LibGuides:
    • When creating new Database Assets, assigned Friendly URLs now stay put, as intended.
    • An ampersand in the name of an E-Reserves course no longer breaks the OAI feed.
    • The “Edit Database” modal window in guides now appropriately points people to the A-Z Database List page for editing fields…which is far more useful than pointing to an outdated location.
    • IE10 users, rejoice! (Is that a thing? 😉) The Image Manager works again within LibCal and LibAnswers.

As always, we’re here to help! Let us know if any questions pop up…

LibGuides Accessibility Updates, AZ Page Stats, HTTPS Certificates and more!

Accessibility fixes

This week at Springy HQ we are pleased to bring you the following accessibility fixes. Our first pass of fixes in the last few months focused on “errors” on all public pages; this pass hits the E-Reserves module as well as many things classified as “alerts”—things that could technically adhere to guidelines but needed examining. See something else we need to consider? Let us know! Click the Support tab on any admin-side LibGuides page to send us a ticket.
Please include:
  • Name of the accessibility tool you’re using
  • Description of the issue, including any code snippets that trigger the alert
  • Screenshot of the accessibility tool’s overlay highlighting the issue, if possible
  • URL of the page (included automatically if you use the Support form)
To ensure that content that you add keeps your guides accessible, please see our help guide on LibGuides and Accessibility accessible as well as the upcoming training session on the topic.
E-Reserves fixes
  • We rebuilt the E-Reserves request form using plain HTML & Bootstrap select menus, eliminating several issues with keyboard and screenreader navigation.
  • We eliminated a few errors and alerts on the main E-Reserves listing page and on course pages.
  • We changed the H4 element used to mark up the number of courses shown to an H2 to maintain proper page outline.
Public Pages fixes
  • We’ve replaced the select menus on the Subject and Profiles by Subject pages with simpler HTML that eliminates several alerts and errors.
  • We changed an H4 tag on the Subjects page to H2 in order to maintain proper outline order.
  • We added a missing ARIA label on the system homepage and changed the Sort control to a <div> rather than a <form> tag.
  • We removed a hidden field that was triggering a “redundant ALT text” alert.
  • We wrapped the profile image and name together in a single link tag to eliminate the “redundant link” alerts.
Gallery boxes
  • We incorporated an updated version of the component used in Gallery boxes as it contained several accessibility updates.
  • We changed the slide title field to H3 since the box title is H2, to maintain proper outline order.
A few changes might require the updating of your system’s CSS and custom templates, but only if you make extensive use of CSS and custom templates. Most folks won’t have to worry about these! Here are the gritty details, should you need them:

CSS Changes:

System & Group Home Pages
WAS:
The element around the “Display” area, which allows you to control the order in which guide lists are displayed should not have been a <form> element.
NOW:
It is now a <div> element, so any customizations targeting the form element should be updated to use <div> instead.
Gallery Boxes
WAS:
Slide titles were <h4> elements.
NOW:
This is now an <h3>, following proper sequential numbering of heading tags on the page.
E-Reserves – er.php
WAS:
“Search for Courses” label next to the search box was a <span> element.
NOW:
This is now correctly in a <label>. Heading above the list of courses, subjects, etc., was an <h4> element. This is now an <h2>, following proper sequential numbering of heading tags on the page.
E-Reserves Request Form – er_request.php
WAS:
We had been using a component for some of the select options on the page that we determined was not accessible to screen readers / keyboard navigation. It had its own set of classes, which all started with “select2”.
NOW:
We’re using simple HTML styled by Bootstrap’s default classes. All classes starting with “select2” are removed. These include: select2-drop, select2-display-none, select2-with-searchbox, select2-drop-active, select2-offscreen, select2-input, etc.
Password-Protected Pages – Groups, Guides, Courses
WAS:
The message prompting users to enter the password (above the text box) was not in a <label>.
NOW:
That text correctly has a <label>, as it is associated with the password input below. Any CSS changes should target the <label> element.
Profile Landing Page – prf.php
WAS:
“By Subject” dropdown was using a component that we found was not accessible to screen readers / keyboard navigation. It had its own set of classes, which all started with “chosen”.
NOW:
We’re using simple HTML styled by Bootstrap’s default classes. All classes starting with “chosen” are removed. These include: chosen-select, chosen-container chosen-container-single, chosen-default, chosen-single, etc.
Profile names are not linked, so style changes could be made using:
div.s-lib-profile-nameProfile names are now linked to their profile (in addition to the picture being linked), so any style changes to the profile name must be adjusted to include the anchor tag:
div.s-lib-profile-name a
Subjects Pages: sb.php and individual subject pages
WAS:
Subject dropdown selection was using a component that we found was not accessible to screen readers / keyboard navigation. It had its own set of classes, which all started with “chosen”.
NOW:
We’re using simple HTML styled by Bootstrap’s default classes. All classes starting with “chosen” are removed. These include: chosen-select, chosen-container chosen-container-single, chosen-default, chosen-single, etc.  Headings above the list of guides, databases, etc., (“Showing x guides”, etc.) were <h4> elements. This is now an <h2>, following proper sequential numbering of heading tags on the page.

Template Changes:

Both the Profile and Subject pages now have ARIA labels for the <section> tags. If you are using the default templates, you do not need to make any changes to implement this update. Default templates automatically update.

If you have customized these templates, however, you will need to update your template to include the accessibility update, as outlined below.

Right now, each of these is coded as simply <section>. Now they are coded as follows. You can update customized templates to reflect these changes at any time.

Profiles Templates:

Main Landing Page – prf.php:

<section aria-label=”List of Profiles”>

Individual Profile Page – prf.php?account_id=x
<section aria-label=”Profile Content”>

Subjects Templates:

Search Bar:
<section aria-label=”Subject Search Bar”>Content area below Search Bar:
<section aria-label=”Content by Subject”>

Manage Your Domains!

New in LibApps is the ability to view and manage your systems’ domains, including the ability to add and change custom domains and upload a custom HTTPS certificate for LibGuides. Need a certificate installed for your LibCal or LibAnswers system? No sweat! Please email us at support@springshare.com or open a ticket by clicking the Support tab from the admin side of your product. We’ll get you set up right away, and the ability to manage these certificates on your own will be coming soon.
So what can you do on the new Manage Domains page? Go to LibApps > Admin > Manage Domains to:
  • View the domains for all your Springy apps
  • Add or change a Custom Domain Mapping for your LibAnswers, LibCal, or LibGuides site(s)
  • Create a Certificate Signing Request in order to request a custom HTTPS certificate for your LibGuides site with a custom domain
  • Manage the current HTTPS certificate for your LibGuides site with a custom domain
Also see our help guide on the topic.

Databases Page Stats

We’re pleased to add a long-awaited addition to your statistics interface: A-Z Databases Page hits. These stats show how many hits are made daily or monthly to your AZ list. From August 16, they also show the referring URLs, when that data exists.
Screenshot: the A to Z databases page stats include a graph and data table of hits to az.php

Other Fixes and Features

This release also included:
  • LibAuth:
    • The ability to specify a custom port for SIP2 and LDAP LibAuth configurations.
    • Automatic updating of LibAuth certification fingerprints and IdP configurations.
    • Now when you view an E-Reserves Course’s settings, you’ll see the name of the default LibAuth configuration, if one exists.
  • Resumption of the ability for customers to enter translation files for us. Interested? Please get in touch!
  • Ability to limit AZ Holdings Analysis to library type and location.