Archive for LibGuides CMS

Essential LibGuides and Ones You Didn’t Know You Needed

LibGuides icon

For Academic libraries, this time of year is exciting as the physical and virtual campuses are brimming with students and faculty. Your Library Orientations are in full swing. Your Social Media efforts are kicked into high gear as you promote your services. You’ve got to remind everyone that you’re there! As you do this, it’s a good time to have a look at your LibGuides.

If you’ve had LibGuides for a while now, it’s highly likely you have the essential guides built and they’re ready for your users. But there’s a chance that even your library could add some guides to your “to-build” list when you see what some other institutions are showcasing.

What Are Some Essential LibGuides?

Springshare has a bird’s eye view of the guides that exist in the community and we have consistently seen some staple topics.

It’s always a great idea to have guides addressing:

 

As you see these topics, they probably make absolute sense to you. If you are new to LibGuides, remember we have free training and free support, if you have questions. Plus, you have access to the LibGuides community where you can see examples of such guides.

Put Your Best Guide Forward.

If you have these guides already built, why not check the stats on them? It’s a great way to keep the guides fresh and exciting. What should you be looking for?

  • Which guides are most popular? Perhaps your patrons like the way it flows/looks. Make future guides with this in mind.
  • During which time of year are they visiting the guides? Maybe the timing coincides with orientation, exams, large projects or your instruction sessions with classes.
  • Are there books or links or any content that show a lot of clicks? Perhaps they’re being recommended or they have good descriptions, etc.
  • Are there content items that have little or no clicks? Could these benefit from different placement on the page or better descriptions? Or, maybe it’s a good idea to replace them with new items that you have because people aren’t interested in them.

It’s a perfect time of year for refreshing your LibGuides with new resources you may have acquired since you first built them or to hone what’s there based on what you glean from the historical data.

Must-Have Guides That May Surprise You.

So what kind of content is out there that you may not have thought to make, yet? Here are some examples that might inspire you and your team.

You can build guides focused on serving specific subsets like International Students or Graduate Students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many libraries are creating LibGuides for Professional Development on topics like integrating intersectionality into library instruction and programming or on how to make PowerPoint presentions more captivating.

Focusing on faculty, there are guides on keeping your research current and on boosting your scholarly impact. Another excellent idea for internal purposes is to use LibGuides to provide a place to recognize each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re building LibGuides for your students, think about specific resources that are available to them like the Student Learning Center or Archives and Special Collections and let LibGuides be the vehicle you use to introduce them to what they can find there.

 

 

Finally, put yourself in their shoes. What are the skills they’re trying to advance? What are the challenges they’re gearing up to face? Check out these examples on using images and prepping for exams. You can build LibGuides on any subject. Be creative, devise a way for your students and faculty to submit suggestions or requests — and have fun!

Gearing Up for Fall with Additions to LibGuides

LibGuides UpdateSummer is winding down here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we know lots of folks are getting ready for back-to-school. We’ve been getting ready, too! In addition to some back-end performance improvements for LibGuides, we area also pleased to tell you that we have a few features and fixes to report for our August release. This code release has already gone out to all regions, so all of the things below are ready and waiting.

Blog Tune-Up

We’ve made a few changes to blogs inside LibGuides! Whether you use the System Blog or you have blog pages added to your guides, you’ll notice:
  • The addition of an anchor link for every post that will jump you down to the comments section
  • On the edit side, the addition of each post’s public URL near the title, for easy copying-and-pasting.
  • Blog post authors will receive an email each time a comment is left (unless they’re the commenter!)
  • A larger compose area when writing a blog post, as well as a rearrangement of some of the elements on the compose screen for better usability.
  • Images within blog posts are now automatically constrained within the post’s container, and book covers have the same CSS selectors as they do when added to a regular guide page.

Get Secure with HTTPS

We’ve been writing a lot lately about HTTPS and security. If you haven’t changed your LibGuides site to require all traffic to go over the secure HTTPS protocol, now’s a great time! We recently made a security change for blogs which also applies to Discussion Boards, if you’re a LibGuides CMS subscriber. All pages that accept user input (like blogs with comments, and like discussion board threads) are now required to be secure.

To require your site to be secure, log into LibApps and go to Admin > Domains & Certificates > click the padlock icon for your site > Force HTTPS > click the Required button. Before you do, you’ll want to review your content and make sure that all your media/widgets, images, and other embedded content are changed to https, if it’s supported. This FAQ will tell you more about what to do.

Getting Right to SSO

It’s now possible to take users directly to your SSO login form, if you would like the public side of your site to be protected by this additional security. If you have set up a site-wide LibAuth rule to restrict the viewing of the public side of your site AND you also have one (and only one) LibAuth configuration set up, users will be taken directly to the SSO login page, rather than to the LibApps login page. Read more about restricting access to your site with LibAuth.

Updated LibAuth Code

Speaking of LibAuth, we have completely rewritten the back-end in order to make it faster, more extensible, and easier to add features to. Have a wishlist item for authenticating your users inside Springy products? Drop us a line!

Small Fixes and Features

As they used to say on TV, “But wait, there’s more!” We have a few additional updates to share:
  • Accessibility: The A-Z list no longer contains duplicate IDs when databases appear in the main list and the sidebar.
  • When an account is created, the name of the person who created the account is included in the Welcome email sent to the new account holder.
  • You can now export all Database and non-Database assets using the Export All button, regardless of how many assets you have in your system.
  • You can now export your LTI Instances using the Export All button–even if there are thousands of them!
  • You can identify media/widget asset code more accurately when using the filters on Content > Assets.
  • Protecting a site, guide, group, or any combination of those works correctly in LibAuth now, even when you’re using a guide as your custom system homepage.
  • The Domains & Certificates table appears appropriately when using IE11. (Please keep your browsers up-to-date for functionality and security reasons! 🙂 )

LibGuides Courseware Integration with Desire2Learn, Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle and more!

In 2016, 6,359,121 students took at least one online class (Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, Babson Survey Research Group).

This figure represents 31.6% of all higher education enrollments and has increased 17.2% since 2012.

All signs indicate that this figure will continue to grow – more and more students will be taking online courses.

Does the library have a presence in your courseware tool?

From SnapChat to Email… from Instagram to student portals… your students have a lot of web resources that they access. They are so inundated with text-messages, emails, announcements, snaps, instas, and posts that they’ve streamlined the websites they access to only the most important, the most relevant, to get their work done. And if they’re taking an online course, their course portal page is probably at the top of a very short list.

If your library doesn’t have a native presence right inside their course pages… do you think they’ll visit the library website externally to get their assignments done? If you’re lucky, then yes! …but most students seek the path of least resistance. The easiest, most ‘Google-like’ resources to get their assignment done.

If you want to put the library front and center, both in their mind’s eye and in front of their literal eyeballs, then having a presence right inside their course pages is the way to go. It’s a win-win for everyone! Promote course-specific resources natively inside their course pages. Students see easy-to-access library resources right when and where they need them the most, and you get to boost your usage stats by embedding the library right at point of need.

Not Just for ‘Online-Only’ Students

More than just ‘online-only’ students are accessing a courseware tool, like Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, Desire2Learn, or Canvas. More often than not, they’re accessing them as part of a hybrid class (half virtual/half face-to-face) or even as a supplemental tool in face-to-face classes for professors to share resources and receive assignment submissions.

All their course-specific resources are right inside their courseware tool. From assignments, syllabi, discussion boards for online discussions, even the ability to ask their professor a question and upload their assignments. Everything they need is right there. Is your library right there, too?

The Library at Their Fingertips, Literally

The LTI Tool Builder allows you to embed your LibGuides content natively inside courseware, so students can easily find your content right inside their Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Canvas, or Sakai course.

LibGuides CMS customers can embed Guides, Database Assets, and E-Reserves Courses (if they subscribe to the E-Reserves module).

LibGuides customers who also subscribe to the E-Reserves module can embed E-Reserves Courses.

There are two ways to integrate content:

1. Manual Method

The Manual LTI method allows you to embed Guide content, Database A-Z links, and/or E-Reserves Courses (with E-Reserves Subscription) right into a Course. You’ll have various customization options along with the ability to embed an entire LibGuide, a page within a Guide, or even a single box (great for embedding a discovery layer search box or a LibChat widget!).

The Manual LTI Method, is well, manual. So you’ll have to navigate to each course and choose which Guide content you want to display.

2. Automagic Method

The Automagic method is nothing short of magical. Once the Automagic tool and your courseware platform have ‘shaken hands’, your Springshare content automagically displays in each course. Exactly what displays for each course depends upon the metadata you’ve added to your LibGuides site (in order to match courses to guides, etc.) & the customization options you’ve selected in LibApps. So the content that displays inside the course pages is controlled by you, right from your LibGuides CMS system.

Plus, the Automagic method allows you to share much more than just Guide content! You’ll have the option to create an entire Library Resources page right inside your Courseware tool and embed a variety of Springshare resources:

  1. Guide content
  2. Subject-specific A-Z Databases & Subject Expert Profiles
  3. E-Reserves Courses (E-Reserves Subscription required)
  4. Ask-a-Librarian LibChat Widget (LibAnswers subscription required)
  5. FAQ Search Box (LibAnswers subscription required)
  6. Book a Study Room / Request one-on-one Librarian Appointments (LibCal subscription required)

The best part of the Automagic tool is that it’s scalable. Work with your courseware administrators to embed it right into the course shell(s) and then control what displays for each individual course right from your LibGuides CMS system via metadata. Each time the course shell is copied for a new course, your Library Resources page is automatically created and updated to reflect the new course information via the metadata.

The Automagic tool has a few options, so be sure to spend time on the LTI Automagic page inside LibApps. Choose from either the Stepped Search or the Translation Table. Customize your Library Landing Page and be sure to Preview it to see how it will look in your LMS.

Working with a specific courseware tool? We have some FAQs to help!

Who’s Using the LTI Tool?

If you’re looking for examples of Libraries using the Automagic LTI Tool, we’ve got em! Learn how Penn State University embedded the Library into over 30,000 online courses each semester. They’ve even written about this project in the July 2018 issue of Library Technology Reports (Vol. 54 Iss.5).

Marymount University Librarians recently presented at the July 25 SpringyCamp (Springshare’s Virtual User Conference) on how they used the LibGuides CMS LTI Tool to increase student usage, foster collaboration, and support online programs.

Need Help?

Springshare always has your back – which is why we’ve setup a custom group of FAQs to address all your LTI (both Manual and Automatic) questions.

Plus, we have recordings available of our online training sessions. So be sure to watch, and rewatch if needed, to see the LTI tool in action.

Tips for Promoting Internal Staff Communication, Collaboration, and Community

Are you engaged?

It’s funny to say, but people are always talking about communication. In every relationship dynamic, the secret…is always communication — with your child, with your clients, with pets, with other countries, with your barista. Are you communicating effectively? Even more to the point, how can you communicate better?

This has always been a trending topic and it’s even more of a challenge now. With so many ways to reach out and because the traditional work environment is morphing with flex hours and telecommuting, virtual possibilities, it helps to reboot the conversation.

The one thing you will learn quickly is that it’s all about engagement. You have to be engaged in the solutions you put forth or the team won’t be either. So, if you really care about boosting internal staff communication to improve collaboration and create a sense of community, then you’re already on the right track. You care. The sooner we stop talking about communication and make improving it a real priority, the sooner we will see the wonderful effect it has on team productivity and morale.

The leaders have to lead.

If you want to encourage active internal communication amongst the staff, you’ll want to get in the mix. There are teams all over the world who find themselves with new directives sprinkled with enthusiastic words about the new intranet tool that has been licensed — so the company can better connect. It improves efficiency, they’re told. And, while this may be true, so many of those sharing the new mandate will never be seen actively participating in the intranet. They say the best way to lead is by example. Well, whether you intend to or not, you’re always leading by example. So get in there and show them how it’s done!

LibGuides CMS has Groups functionality. Combine that with its Access Controls feature and you can create a locked down group and use it as a staff intranet! Many libraries are starting to do this as it’s super convenient.

  • Your internal group in LibGuides CMS can be a place where you get to know each other better. You can have each team member build a guide where s/he shares not just education and work experience, but also hobbies and interests, favorite TV shows and go-to Karaoke songs, photos of family or pets or a favorite vacation vista and more.
  • You can facilitate collaboration on projects that should be tackled next or get feedback on your latest instruction session idea by enabling Discussion Boards. You can engage with your team right in your site by encouraging open discussions or you can post specific questions. Remember, you can enable Discussion Boards on as many guides in your intranet group as you wish!

  • Cultivate a fun internal voice by using the blogging tool. Maybe your library organized a particularly successful event recently. Or, maybe you had excellent reviews on a recent class you offered. Have the folks in charge write a blog post about it. This gives staff a chance to share and shine!
  • It’s your intranet, what do you want to use it for? Ensuring an actively accessed intranet is about making it a “place” you’d want to hang out. Of course, you can build guides that hold documents and files and links and images pertaining to a current project. But alongside those, be creative about your guides. Perhaps the Director wants to build a guide about what’s on the horizon with tabs for each quarter? Give your retiring colleague an opportunity to build a farewell guide! Maybe you should start a staff book club or book review guide! Have fun! This is where communication leads to community.

The new water cooler.

Do offices even have the proverbial water cooler anymore? At Springshare, we’re chatting all the time, but from our desks or devices. Don’t curtail the chatting. Instead, foster it. It’s much faster than opening/sending/replying to emails. LibChat, a component of the LibAnswers Platform, not only helps you answer your patrons efficiently, it also allows you to chat amongst yourselves.

  • You can transfer questions from patrons to another operator. This is useful if there is someone better suited to answering the question online with you or in case you are about to go on your break and you need to start feeding questions to the next person on duty.
  • You can ask a colleague a question — behind the scenes — to help you answer the patron.
  • You can chat with all LibAnswers colleagues that are online at the time or initiate a chat with someone in particular.

A mixed bag is good. People will chat with each other about projects, ask for feedback, share an experience. But they’ll also send a birthday shout out and ask each other about playlists that move the day along. The important thing is that it’s a happy work environment. People who know and like each other want to collaborate.

Plus, the LibChat Operator Console was just updated with an entirely new interface making internal/staff-only chats that much easier.

Check in — so they don’t check out.

You can set up tools and you can implement strategies to improve communication in your workplace, but one of the best things you can do is frequently check in with the team. Use LibWizard to create an anonymous survey and ask folks if something is missing from the intranet. See if there’s a page they never use. Use the multi-select checkbox field to ask them which portions of the intranet they find most useful or interesting.

Not only will it help you improve by filling in the blanks or kicking out stuff that’s just taking up space, but it lets your team know you really do care about nurturing a productive and supportive and — dare we say — fun workplace.

Mid-year LibGuides Updates are Coming Your Way!

LibGuides UpdateWe have been working hard at Springy HQ to bring you some exciting LibGuides updates and improvements. This month we’ve worked quite a lot on the back end (and are working on a complete rewrite of LibAuth!) to make various pieces of LibGuides work faster and more smoothly, as well as these features and fixes. This code update will be released to all regions by the end of this week. If you don’t see them yet, it means we haven’t updated your region’s servers yet. 🙂

Security & Privacy Updates

reCAPTCHA on the password reset page – Forgot your password? No problem! Now when you need to reset your password, you’ll see that familiar “I am not a robot” checkbox that you’ve probably seen in lots of other places. This added layer of protection will prevent bots from successfully submitting this request.

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Updated New Account page – Now when you create a new LibGuides account, you’ll be taken to a page dedicated to this process, rather than seeing the information in a small pop-up box. This additional real estate lets us display our privacy information, so that you be advised how we use cookies and the IP address of the new account holder. For more information on how we utilize these, read our privacy policy.

Code check for Media/Widget assets

Have you ever pasted some code into a widget asset and gotten some really unexpected results? Sometimes code copied from another site contains incomplete HTML or is missing a closing tag or two. Never fear! We’ve implemented a check when saving new widget code. If you happen to write or paste HTML code that is missing a tag or that contains tags that will mess up your guide, we’ll warn you!

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Smaller fixes and features

  • We updated our back-end processing for importing information from Serials Solutions.
  • We fixed a bug that prevented database description popovers from closing after a database opened in a new tab.
  • We fixed a bug preventing the yearly guide stats from updating on the system homepage.
  • We fixed an error preventing people from subscribing to a blog from a secondary site domain.
  • All new LibCal, LibGuides, and LibAnswers app installations will be set to require HTTPS.
  • We fixed an issue with the character counter for guide custom JS/CSS code.
  • When you publish a previously-saved draft blog post, the page now refreshes properly.
  • We fixed an issue that caused the assets data table to break if you assigned dozens of subjects to an asset.
  • We removed outdated export buttons from the Content > Guides page. Use the Export All features to export this information.

Privacy-related Updates and More for Your Mid-May

LibGuides Update

Coming this week! This month’s LibGuides & LibApps code release includes a slew of privacy-related updates. We recently announced updates to our privacy policy and tools per the upcoming enforcement of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. If you’re new to the GDPR, the enforcement date is May 25, and we at Springshare took the opportunity to review our privacy policies, procedures, and functionality. Check-out our full GDPR compliance plan and policy.

As part of this week’s updates, we’re adding in new privacy control features and we’re extending these “GDPR tools” to all clients around the world, not just our clients in the European Union. Any library, anywhere, using Springshare tools can take advantage of these new features.

Alert your users to how their information is used with a Privacy Alert Banner

We’ve added a new tab in Look & Feel that allows you to enable a small banner that shows on your public pages. The default language is short-and-sweet and also links to a longer Privacy Statement that details cookies and how we use information to collect statistics. This is a dismissible banner similar to ones you may have seen on other websites. It’s off by default; turn it on by going to Admin > Look & Feel > User Privacy Alert.

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You’ll also see privacy information displayed on your Account settings page, and if you use Patron Accounts, your patrons will see this information on their Account settings page. Patrons will also see this information on the Self-Registration screen, if you have Self-Registration set up.

Being GDPR-compliant also means providing a way for you to opt-in to the emails that you receive from us. Now when you go to your Account Settings page, you’ll be able to opt into the three types of emails that we send: our semi-regular Newsletter (full of tips and tricks as well as news!); our Promotions emails; and word of upcoming webinars, online training, and SpringyCamp events. We hope you’ll opt in for all three! We’re commited to only sending you one email/month in each of those three email cateogries. You can change your options at any time by going to LibApps > My Account.

New to Image Manager—Location Mappings!

Afraid to delete an image because you’re not sure whether it’s being used inside LibGuides? Never fear! Easily see where your images are used, regardless of their location! When you go to Image Manager, you’ll now see a number below each image. Click on the number to see where images are used. Potential locations are:

  • Guides:
    • Rich Text content
    • Gallery Boxes
    • Blog pages > posts and comments
    • Discussion Board Pages > posts and replies
  • System blog > posts and comments
  • System & Public Discussion board > posts and replies
  • Assets*:
    • Database thumbnails
    • Link thumbnails
    • Document thumbnails

You’ll see the mappings when you open Image Manager from LibApps or when editing content in LibGuides.

* Book covers generally are retrieved from Syndetics or Amazon and so are not included here.

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We will include the locations of images used inside your LibCal and LibAnswers sites, if applicable, in a future release.

Blog Subscriber Management!

Dying to know who has subscribed to your system or guide blogs? Us too! Now you can view the list and, if necessary, unsubscribe email addresses. Just click Blog Management on any admin-side Blog page to view and manage your list.

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Accessibility Update: Resource Icons

We made a change last year that saw blank ALT text added to Resource Icons. We heard from several of you who pointed out that while these are small, they tend to convey meaning, and sometimes even are linked, which means our move to declare these little beauties “decorative” was a move in the wrong direction. We’ve fixed that! The title of a Resource Icon is now used as its ALT text, and icons (and their links) are screen-reader and keyboard accessible.

As a reminder, your mileage may vary depending on your browser, operating system, and screenreader. We test with widely-used accessibility checkers, browsers, and screenreaders, but accessibility is often a moving target. Did we miss something? Let us know! (link opens in a new tab).

Small Fixes and Features

  • When only one expert is assigned to a subject, that person’s full profile box is shown.
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  • Profile boxes added as custom boxes to guide templates now show the person’s correct title.
  • The A-Z databases page was changed so that it does not load Bootstrap when the admin has specified that Bootstrap should not be used across the site.
  • We corrected a name spacing issue that was interfering with LibraryThing widgets.
  • Since the Email Me button in a profile box is a mailto: link, we now validate email addresses entered there.
  • You are now able to edit link assets when you have filtered the assets list by URL contents.
  • We implemented the new Google logo for the Google Search content type, as well as added a missing ARIA label.
  • We added the white background to the LibApps menu, when viewed on a mobile device.
  • We corrected the processing of Gallery Boxes so that all slides do not show momentarily in Internet Explorer, and all Gallery Box content loads more speedily.
  • Notification emails for blog posts now contain a full URL rather than a relative one, which was confusing some email programs.
  • We inadvertently changed how A-Z database search results were presented. They’re now back to a single list, sorted by Relevance.
  • Resource icons order has been restored to sort by the order in which they were added.
  • In keeping with common practice, RSS feeds for blog pages now return the first 10 posts, rather than the entire blog feed.

Brand New Season, Brand New LibGuides Features

We are excited to bring you some big new LibGuides features by the end of this week, just in time for Spring (or Fall, depending on where you are!), including the ability to put your entire site behind your Single Sign-On system with LibAuth authentication, search-and-replace for E-Reserves Items, and a bevy of other fixes.

Read on!

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Full SSO for Your Guides with LibAuth

Coming this week is the ability to place more public LibGuides pages behind your SSO with LibAuth, whether it’s a single guide, a restricted group of guides (LibGuides CMS only) or your entiresite. We’ve got you covered whether you are required to hide your entire site from the open web, would like to provide access to a group of guides to your campus, or make a single guide available just to one constituent group.

You can set up a LibAuth connection using any of the supported configurations: SAML/Shibboleth/ADFS, CAS, LDAP, SIP2, your own hosted script, or either the InCommon or UK Federation. Securing a guide, group, or site is done in two steps:

  • Set up and test your LibAuth configuration in LibApps at Admin > LibAuth Authentication
  • Set up the desired restriction in LibGuides at Admin > System Settings > Access Restrictions > LibAuth Authentication Rules

Let’s Encrypt Automation

We’ve written a lot lately about site security, and this post is no exception. Coming this week is automation for the installation of Let’s Encrypt certificates for LibCal and LibAnswers sites. Need a secure site but can’t really shell out for a custom security certificate? We got you! Just change your custom domain’s DNS to point to the correct secure endpoint, and we’ll do the rest.

For more in depth information about Let’s Encrypt, read this blog post.

Filters for Non-Database Assets

We’ve updated the Assets page with new filters so that you can search your growing repository with ease! Search not only by type, but owner, subject, URL, and even for code contained in your Media/Widget content. Want to know how many YouTube widgets you have? No problem! Want to see the vast array of Animal Husbandry resources you have? A cinch! Just go to Content > Assets and search to your heart’s content.

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Profile Box: Random Settings!

Are you one of those folks that used the rotating box code to show off a selection of your guide owners in LibGuides v1? Well now you can do that in LibGuides v2! After adding a profile box to your guide, you can set it to display a random profile each time the page is loaded. You’ll see two options: one will display a random profile selected from all profiles in your system, Admins, Regular, Editors, and Contributors; the other will choose only from profiles that own published guides.

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E-Reserves Items Search & Replace

We have added E-Reserves items to the Search & Replace tool. If you’ve discovered that a title was recorded incorrectly and you’ve re-used the item in every. single. English. course. for the semester, you can save a slew of clicks by using S&R.

It works like the other S&R tools: you can search for E-Reserve item name, description, URL, and the fields that are particular to the various E-Reserves Item types, like Article Title and DOI. Head over to Tools > Search & Replace to get started.

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Smaller Features and Fixes

We are also including a bunch of smaller features and fixes that we’re sure you’ll love!

  • Gallery boxes added as custom boxes to E-Reserves course pages display properly.
  • If you uncheck “use this image in my guide” while uploading a new image to Image Manager, the Upload New Image button persists after upload.
  • The mSite builder “site visited” cookie is now 2 minutes instead of 2 hours.
  • We fixed the ability to add an IP restriction from inside a guide as well as from Group settings.
  • We added missing content types to the Add Content Item dialog on the Content > Assets page.
  • Editor account levels are now able to delete rich text content items on guides they edit.
  • In Tools > Data Exports > XML, the Download icon is not available until the file is ready to be downloaded.
  • Links to guides submitted via publishing workflow are no longer relative.
  • An error in the search sources was fixed, allowing EBSCO Discovery Service contents to be retrieved.
  • We removed the outdated “scheme” attribute from meta tags.
  • We changed the way that guide titles sort, so that whole and decimal numbers are sorted properly.
  • We added the URL to the export for non-database assets.
  • We changed the text for the unsubscribe links in blog post emails to be more accessible.

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

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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!

And, we’ve taken it one-step further. If you have a custom domain, we’ve added integration with Let’s Encrypt to provide 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.

Chrome ‘NOT SECURE’ Warning Message

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. 🙂