Archive for December 20, 2010

A-Z Import Now Pulls in Custom Database Names

This past weekend our friends at Serials Solutions announced that custom database names are available via their API, so we are now able to import those custom values into LibGuides!

The way it works is as follows – if your resource has been assigned a custom name in the Serials Solutions interface, we will import the resource into LibGuides using that custom name. For any resources that do not have a custom name assigned, we will use the default resource name provided by Serials Solutions as we have done in the past.

If you have already imported your resource list and would like to update your existing links to use the custom names, just run the A-Z import tool from within LibGuides and be sure to check the box for all links you wish to update. Any links that were previously imported using the default name will be updated to use your local, custom name – it couldn’t be easier! 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about this tool, check out our guide: A-Z Resource List Management

LibAnswers helps libraries win the race!

Here’s a “too good not to share” story from our friends at Albuquerque/Bernalillo County (ABC) Libraries, who published a LibAnswer that received 11,000+ views in 5 days.

An online trivia contest (“Outwit the West” – top prize: $1 million dollars) recently caused an internet sensation, and a patron submitted one of the questions from the contest to ABC Librarians via LibAnswers’ SMS service. The question was:

What horse won the 800 yard Christmas Day race between Perico and Dude in Fairview NM in 1886?

Before they could respond to the original SMS, ABC Librarians started seeing the question crop up in multiple channels – through LibAnswers, phone calls, and emails. And the answer was ambiguous: The race was scheduled in Fairview, NM on Christmas Day, 1866 – but was won, by Perico, on January 10th, in Chloride, NM – and the library’s considerable archives offered no information on what happened in between.

What happened next is a great example of jumping head first into social media. Using LibAnswers, ABC Librarian Anne Lefkofsky was able to quickly publish the info the library had on the race. The answer’s URL was shared in contest discussion forums, and it spread like wildfire. As trivia hunters asked for more details, library staffers updated the answer with more source materials. When patrons called the library, staff emailed them the answer with two clicks. Meanwhile, LibAnswers’ built-in Search Engine Optimization meant the answer quickly rose to the top of internet search rankings.

The real-time statistics in LibAnswers let the ABC Librarians know how popular the question had become. Within a few hours of posting, the answer had 500 hits; by the next day, 5,000. Driven by the popularity of this topic, ABC Librarians created a new LibGuide that compiled links to climate data, maps of the towns involved, images, and user link submission. Not long afterward, a librarian from the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library in Santa Fe, NM submitted a link to a photo of the elusive newspaper that explained exactly what happened on Christmas Day, 1886 in Fairview, NM. Pretty amazing, right!?

The end result? Eleven thousand people found the ABC Libraries LibAnswer, which now linked them to a resource only available at another library. Talk about librarians using technology to improve services and collaboration! When we contacted David Hurley (Digital Services Manager at the ABC Library System) about the story, he put things in context: If those 11,000 hits saved the time spent answering a hundred phone calls or emails to our Special Collections library, then LibAnswers paid for itself with one question. And us? We’re really pleased that LibAnswers and LibGuides got to play a small part in a success story like this. Way to go, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Librarians – you rock!

New and Improved Form and Survey Tool

In our recent code update, the Form & Survey tool got a massive face lift. If you’re not yet familiar with the Form & Survey tool, it’s all kinds of awesome. It’s a standard part of any CampusGuides/CommunityGuides system, and offers a centralized way to manage, deploy, collect and analyze just about any type of form-based information. Creating forms and surveys only takes a few minutes, and we make them super easy to deploy by providing persistent URLs, and simple embed code. Results are collected in real-time, and can be exported directly into excel.

How can you use this tool? We’re glad you asked! 😉 Here are a few examples:

  • Use it like a survey tool to collect:
    • Formal feedback about library programs and services
    • Targeted feedback about your guides (or any web-presence you maintain)
    • Feedback on special events and programming
  • Use it like a form builder to collect:
    • New materials suggestions
    • Appointment request forms
    • Interlibrary Loan request forms
    • Requests for live instruction sessions

In our recent update, we added many new features to this tool. We expanded the types of questions you can ask, which now include radio buttons, checkboxes, and drop-down selections, as well as single- and multi-line free-text fields. We did a massive update to the overall interface (mad props to JC!) – now, you can view a form’s properties/css style and a preview of the finished version side-by-side, so you can see your changes update as you edit! Form styles are fully customizable, so you control every aspect of the look and feel. We expanded the preference options, so you can control your form’s visibility dates, assign multiple email addresses to receive submission notices, and create optional password protection. We added an easy “copy” feature, so if you’re adding a new form or survey, you don’t have to start from scratch!

We’re very excited about these new updates. If you’re a current CampusGuides/CommunityGuides customer, you can check out the changes right now! If you’re not, what are you waiting for? Email and request your free demo account!

Monthly LibGuides Stats – November 2010

Community Sites: 1764
Librarian Accounts: 26,386
Total Guides: 128,272
Total Pages: 829,040
Unique Visitors: 2.08 million
Page Views: 51.75 million