Archive for July 14, 2010

A Shining Example of LibGuides – Gulf Oil Spill Information Center (GOSIC)

When we see impressive examples of the content created by librarians with LibGuides, we don’t just yell “holy smokes!”, we also share it with the world. The Gulf Oil Spill Information Center (GOSIC) site, created by the librarians at the University of South Florida (USF) is a great example of what happens when you give librarians an easy-to-use tool to publish information and share their knowledge.

This is a thrilling example of librarians using LibGuides/CampusGuides to compile and publish the highest-quality information in a format that’s fast, flexible, and dynamic. The long-term goal of the GOSIC project is to create an open-access digital library of resources pertaining to the Gulf Oil Spill, containing both “grey” information sources (data sets, maps, press releases, transcripts, videos, web content/blog posts, etc.) as well as relevant published peer-reviewed research and scientific data. USF is harnessing the power of LibGuides/CampusGuides social collaboration / Web 2.0 functionality in their efforts to compile information. There are hundreds of Gulf Oil Spill related websites out there, but few can rival the GOSIC site at USF for its breadth, depth, and the quality of information.

With a disaster of this magnitude, the success or failure of response efforts depends on the availability, quality and timeliness of information. We are proud to have created a tool which enables librarians to rapidly share their knowledge with everyone – after all, it’s librarians that deserve the rightful recognition for being the best information resources out there!

(And if you want to see other examples of guides that made us yell “holy smokes!”, check out our Best Of site at  Permission to copy “Best Of” guides into your system is granted by their librarian-creators ahead of time, so help us keep the social collaboration party train rolling!)

New LibAnswers Features

We came back from ALA in D.C. full of ideas for new features for our products. We’ve already coded a bunch of new stuff for LibAnswers (the LibGuides/CampusGuides update is coming soon as well) and here are the new features we just rolled out:

  1. Importing of LibGuides accounts into LibAnswers. It’s true – it’s here and it is not even Christmas yet! Now our libraries who have both LibGuides/CampusGuides and LibAnswers can import their LibGuides user accounts into LibAnswers.
  2. Improved accessibility for public pages. We’ve taken a big step towards making the system 100% compliant in terms of accessibility on all public pages (properly organized and nested headers, alt tags on images, title tags on links, “skip to content” links for screen readers, improved form labeling, and more…)
  3. RSS feeds for new answers and answers by topic. This is a biggie – note the orange RSS icon on the homepage and on every topic page. You can take these RSS feeds and embed the questions/answers from the system anywhere (including LibGuides/CampusGuides, of course!)
  4. The notification emails (when patron submits a new question) now include the demographic information about the patron (if provided).
  5. Better email notifications when transferring/emailing a question to another librarian to answer.
  6. Custom email signatures and more email options for answering questions. When an individual librarian is answering a question and an email gets sent to the patron, they can include a custom email signature (defined in the Edit Profile screen). System admins can also decide whether outgoing emails have the “From” line of the individual librarian answering the question, or whether the email comes from the general system-wide account.
  7. SMS Questions/Answers: the ability to see the previous message exchanges with the same user.
  8. Reference Analytics module: improved Visual Data Analyzer filtering – you can now filter data and create graphs in the Visual Data Analyzer for individual librarians (filter data by user).

There you have it. The best web 2.0 reference tool just got a whole lot better. As always, we thank all our users who submitted the ideas and we look forward to hearing more of the good stuff which we will then turn into new features.

Enjoy and let us know if any questions pop up –

Monthly LibGuides Stats – June 2010

The calendar may say its summer vacation, but the LibGuides / CampusGuides community is growing faster than ever.  We set another record last month, adding 90 (ninety!) new libraries to our member list, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Community Sites: 1445
Librarian Accounts: 20,862
Total Guides: 93,597
Total Pages: 600,496
Unique Visitors: 894,000
Page Views: 24 million