Archive for November 20, 2014

LibAnswers v2.1 Update Now Live!

We’re excited to share our newest LibAnswers and LibChat features, rolling out today!

LibAnswers Updates:

  • URL-based Widgets – Initiate any embedded LibAnswers widgets using a simple URL! This makes it easy to trigger any LibAnswers widget using inline text – for example, create an “Email Us” link that, when clicked, pops up your LibAnswers Question Form. To use this option:
    • Head to Admin > Widgets & API > Widgets > Create/Edit Widget
    • Choose Display Type: Embedded In Page; customize the widget as you normally would, then click Save
    • Select View Embed Code – at the bottom of that popup, you’ll see “Alternate Method” – use this permanent URL to fire up your LibAnswers widget using a simple URL
  • Ticket Tags – We’ve heard your requests for a way to tag/classify your private LibAnswers tickets, and our new Ticket Tags are here to help! Let’s say you’d like to keep track of all incoming questions related to borrowing materials. Tag all of these related tickets with tag: “borrowing” from the ticket answer screen – this allows you to generate statistics reports and filter transactions to just those that include this tag, without displaying the tag to your end-users.
  • New FAQ Group Options:
    • Restricted Internal FAQ Groups – We’re loving the new option for “Internal” FAQ groups – they’re perfect for creating an internal knowledge base, viewable only by folks who have an account in your LibAnswers system. But what if you want to go a step further – what if you want to restrict visibility of these FAQs to some, but not all, of your LibAnswers account holders? Then our new Restricted Internal Groups are for you! To use this new option, head to Admin > Groups > Edit Group > Group Availability and select “Restricted Internal”.
    • Hidden FAQ Groups – This FAQ group visibility option acts a lot like the “Private” guide status in LibGuides – it hides a group of FAQs from public view unless you explicitly navigate to its direct URL. Viewing and searching these FAQs doesn’t require an account in your LibAnswers system – if you know it exists, you can view its contents. 🙂 To use this option, head to Admin > Groups > Edit Group > Group Availability and select “Hidden”.
    • Stats Tracking for Restricted Groups – By default, LibAnswers doesn’t track FAQ view statistics when you’re logged in to LibAnswers – but for Restricted (and now Restricted Internal!) FAQ Groups, logged in users are the only possible FAQ viewers! So we’ve updated our statistics tracking just for these FAQ group types to capture views from logged in users.
  • Close a Ticket Without Reply – Head to the Answer Ticket screen and you’ll find a new button option to Close Without Reply. This new option makes it much easier to close tickets, create FAQs from tickets, and record Reference Analytics about a ticket, without requiring text in the “Reply” field.

LibChat Updates:

  • Nickname / Alias – Prefer not to use your full name while chatting with patrons? Nicknames and aliases are here! To create a nickname, head to My Account > Nickname, and create any Nickname you’d like (maybe “Reference Librarian”, or “Sarah P.”, or “All-seeing Oracle of Knowledge” – whatever floats your boat!). Patrons chatting with you from the public side of the system will see the nickname you choose; the internal librarian/operator screen will still show your full name.
  • delayWaiting Message – We know it can be tricky to respond to tons of incoming chats, and respond to ongoing chats at the same time, so we’ve added a new customizable waiting message to help! To create this message, head to LibChat Widget Builder > Options > Delayed Claim Message. Add a custom message for long-waiting users and prompt them to submit their question via LibAnswers instead of LibChat – you can even choose how long a user should wait before viewing this message!
  • Track Missed Chats – We’ve added tracking for “missed” patron chats – ie chats that patrons initiated, but for whatever reason weren’t picked up by a librarian before the patron navigated away from the chat screen. These new reports make it easy to see how many incoming chats have gone unanswered – and, if you require a patron email address to initiate a chat, this report makes it possible to follow up with these missed chatters via email! To view this report, head to LibChat > Missed Chats.

Systems & Services Management Tool

Have you heard about our new Systems & Services Management Tool? If not, check out our 5-minute overview video – we think you’ll agree, this tool can revolutionize the way you manage communication about all of your library systems and services! We’re still putting the finishing touches on this new tool, so keep an eye out for the release announcement in our next LibAnswers v2 update, coming during the first week of December.

It’s Here! LibGuides 2 Excel Import! (and other awesomeness)

Import New Database Assets

We are super excited to announce that it’s now possible to import database assets into your LibGuides 2 A-Z list using an Excel spreadsheet.  Just go to Content > Assets > A-Z Databases List > Import Databases and choose Excel XML spreadsheet to get started.

You’ll be prompted to download and populate our Excel template with information about databases you want to add.  You can include the vendor name and whether databases should display the “New” and “Trial” icons as well.  Please note that this process creates new database assets in your system; it cannot be used to update existing database assets at this time.

Get Patrons the Help They Need, STAT

Configure the “Help is Just a Click Away” box on your homepage so that it goes directly to your LibAnswers site, where patrons can browse or search your FAQs, or submit a new question via SMS, email, or chat.  Don’t have LibAnswers yet?  No problem!  You can customize the box to include custom introductory text; when patrons click the button, they’ll jump to whatever URL you provide.



You Asked, We Coded

We are also excited (we’re an excitable lot, aren’t we? 🙂 ) to let you know that we’ve added these features:

Improved XML Exports

Your system’s XML exports now contain the subjects and tags that are associated with individual guides.  Ingest your XML exports with your discovery system to make your LibGuides content discoverable there.

Bugs Squashed!

These improvements addressed bugs in the system:

  • Clicking on a gallery box circle indicator will take you to the corresponding image
  • Adding a link asset without a URL won’t be clickable
  • Asset links set to display description when you hover over the title will do so, all the time
  • Regular account holders can restrict a guide via IP address from within the guide (CMS only)
  • Regular account holders can assign colors to groups with the appropriate permission (CMS only)
  • When you copy a guide into your system from another system, assets in the original guide are copied into your system rather than mapped to the original.  LibAnswers widgets, LibSurvey items, and Database assets are NOT copied since they are unique to the original system.

Mini Command Bar and Custom Templates

Several of you reported that removing the {{guide_search}} keyword from a Guide Layout template also removed the Mini Command Bar (the Guide Edit functions) from the edit site of guides. To fix this, we added another keyword, {{ADMIN_MINI_CMD_BAR}}, to the system default templates. Unfortunately, separating these two functions out in the default templates did not address any custom templates, resulting in the loss of the Mini Command Bar from any guide to which a custom template was applied.  We realized our mistake quickly, and our developer was able to insert the additional keyword into all custom templates, restoring the Mini Command Bar for everyone.

We apologize for any disruption this caused and want to reassure all our customers that we have put procedures in place for this sort of thing. We don’t foresee further changes to templates, but should the need arise, we try our best to make these changes behind the scenes in such a way that it will not impact users.  If that’s not possible, we will inform custom template users of the coming change and how to address it, before the code is released.

If you are still experiencing issues with a custom template, please contact us right away: email or tweet us @springshare.

Thank you to all our Springy customers out there for suggesting new features, reporting bugs, and for being patient as we add and fix things. 🙂 We <3 our Springy family!

Announcing “Systems & Services Management” via LibAnswers

Great Customer Service – The Holy Grail

Let’s start with a few important questions:

1. How do you provide effective online help/faqs at the point of need, for the Library’s many systems and services – everything from the Website, to the Catalog, to the Discovery/Search system, to the variety of E-Database and E-book platforms, etc.

2. How do you solicit and manage ideas and feedback from patrons, regarding these Library’s systems? Wouldn’t it be great to know what patrons think of your systems and how to improve them?

3. Last but not least, how do you keep your community informed and up to date about these aforementioned systems? Are any systems having problems at the moment, and if yes what are they? What are the new features? When is the scheduled maintenance? What are the top ideas for improvement?

Your library provides many services via many systems, and the number of these systems & services increases every year. Providing effective help to patrons on how to use these systems, and ensuring patrons’ voices are heard and their product questions answered is essential to the library’s success. Keeping users informed about your systems and services, and receiving feedback – be it ideas, suggestions, praise, or negative feedback, and responding in an organized and timely manner – that’s what great customer service is all about.

How we help you get there

We did what we’ve been doing for libraries since 2007 – clients told us they have a big problem so we developed a tool to help solve it, and delight their patrons to boot! We created this new tool as part of the existing platform libraries already use to answer patrons’ questions – LibAnswers, of course! With the new “Systems & Services Management” functionality inside the LibAnswers platform you can do three new things:

1. Systems Help Widgets: Create product-specific Help widgets (for the Website, the Catalog, the Discovery/Search platform, for any E-Database platforms, E-book platforms etc…), and embed them directly inside the given product. If a patron is in the catalog and they need help, they get catalog-specific help with a click of a button. Need help while using the Discovery/Search platform? Help is right there, along with all other Discovery-related faqs, feedback, etc. You get the idea – you can do this for any product or service within your library. Patron questions & feedback are fed into the LibAnswers dashboard and you answer them like any other question/ticket in LibAnswers. You also get awesome statistics on how much support each product generates.

2. Systems Feedback Manager: These product-specific widgets also have a built-in feedback mechanism for patrons to send feedback, questions, ideas, and praise right inside the product they’re using. It doesn’t get any more convenient than this! And, any idea/feedback/praise goes directly into the LibAnswers dashboard so librarians can organize it and answer (if needed) right from the system they already use to answer patrons’ questions.

3. Systems Status Dashboard: LibAnswers now gives you patron-facing public “status dashboard” pages outlining the status of every library system and service. The status dashboard is also an embeddable widget so you can plug it into any webpage or a blog. The dashboard shows the current status of each system but also goes deeper and shows any new feature announcements, scheduled maintenance times, community top-voted product ideas, etc. Keep your patrons up to date about every library system, in real-time. The “internal” status update posts can be used by library staff for internal communication.

You have to see this in action, it’s going to transform the way you manage your library systems – check out the 5 minute video below (it will open in a new window). We will start rolling out this new LibAnswers functionality over the next few weeks – contact us for more details.

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers