Archive for January 31, 2018

LibAnswers 2.18 Release – Patron Contact Cards and More

The Springy release-a-palooza continues – the LibAnswers 2.18 is on its way and will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Friday, February 2nd.  This release contains two big new features – the Patron Contact Card, and better email search indexing!

Patron Contact Card

The Patron Contact Card builds on the User History feature. Previously, User History connected tickets from the same source in a single channel – e.g. for an SMS question we connected all of the previous tickets from that SMS number. For emails, we connected all tickets from that same email. The Patron Contact Card combines different channels a single patron might use – this includes up to 2 unique email addresses, an SMS number, a Twitter handle, and a Facebook profile. With this, you can connect the communication dots for a unified view of how a single patron is communicating with your library, whether by email, SMS, chat, Twitter or Facebook. You’ll now have the full context of a patron’s conversations with your librarians, on any channel.

Whenever possible, we’ll attempt to automatically match a patron’s contact info from an existing Patron Contact Card. When auto matching isn’t possible, you can manually connect the patron’s different types of contact info via the User History screen.

How it works: SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email

For tickets that patrons send in via SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email, you can match these tickets to the Patron Contact Card via the User History link on the ticket answer page. Click on the User History link in the SMS ticket, select the new option to “Associate this contact with a known patron”, search for the patron’s email address, or enter a new address and click Associate. This connects their SMS number with prior questions from that email address, and you can now view the user history from both of these streams!

For Twitter, Facebook, and second Email connections, the procedure works the same way – once the patron shares their relevant contact info, head to the ticket screen, click on the User History link, and choose Associate this contact with a known person. Search for their email address, and if the patron’s email is found from prior conversations, just click Associate to connect the dots!

How it works: LibChat

If you ask for patron’s email in a pre-chat form the given LibChat transcript is automatically connected to  a Patron’s Contact Card happens automatically! If during the course of chat, the patron provides their email in the contact info field, we’ll automatically associate that transcript with the Patron Contact Card, so the full history of chats and email tickets can be viewed in one place.

A Word on Patron Privacy

The Patron Contact Card will be a powerful tool in connecting patron communication across contact streams. We also know how important preserving patron privacy is, so now may be a good time to mention the various patron privacy protections available in your system. We already take steps to ensure that patron identifying data is encrypted in our databases. But for sites that prefer an additional layer of privacy protection, you have the option to sign up for our monthly privacy scrub. You can choose to remove patron identifying information, including patron email address, phone number, IP address, and/or name. You can also choose how many months to keep data before it’s scrubbed from the server. Once this data is scrubbed from the server, scrubbed tickets will no longer display in the User History thread (as they’re no longer associated with the patron’s contact info), but the ticket itself will remain in the system (so it still counts toward aggregate stats, etc.). To sign up for a privacy scrub, contact our awesome support team and let them know how long you’d like to retain the data prior to scrubbing from the system.

Improved Email Search

You may have noticed that, when searching for prior tickets based on a patron’s email address, you have to search for an exact email address to see results. This happens because, for privacy reasons, we encrypt the email field in our database, so search indexing works a bit differently for that field. In this release, we’re introducing a new index just for email domains – now, you can run a search based on a patron’s email domain (ie everyone from mail.myschool.edu, or everyone from gmail.com) to see all users who’ve sent in tickets from that domain.

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.

LibCal 2.13 Release Coming Soon!

New LibCal Spaces User Interface

The LibCal 2.13 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day Wednesday, January 31st (so if you don’t see the changes in your system yet, you will soon).

We’re bringing you a host of quality-of-life improvements to Equipment and Spaces, Exchange two-way sync, gCal sync, and several other improvements, too.

Read on for all the details…

Equipment and Spaces Quality of Life Improvements

We’ve improved the Equipment and Spaces screens to make pages easier to navigate and understand. More on-screen help, reduced clutter and improved navigation – these are the major themes that will make managing your equipment and spaces easier than ever. You’ll see the changes when you go to Space or Equipment links from the orange command bar. Here’s the rundown of the big changes:

Equpment Page Screenshot

 

  • Location and Category Selections “Stick” Between Tabs – We’ve moved the Location and Category selectors up into the header area of the Equipment and Spaces pages so the selections “stick” as you navigate between tabs. You’ll no longer have to select your location/category every time you switch to a different tab!
  • Streamlined Availability Tab – Cleaner look of the Availability tab for bookings makes it easier to see the existing bookings and create new ones, from this admin screen. The availability grid is now the focus of the page. The Booking Details area is also updated making it easier to view the details of the upcoming reservation(s).
  • Simplified Look for Check In / Out – We reduced the number of icons (yeah, we went a bit crazy with the icons in the past – they were so cute, we couldn’t resist!). But, they created a lot of visual noise so we streamlined all relevant tabs and tables for a cleaner presentation of the information. Some (necessary) icons are still there but many were replaced with hotlinks on relevant info.
  • Improved Onscreen Help – In the past, we overdid it with the icons but under-did it with on-screen help and instructions. This balance is changing and it’s a good thing for you, our user. We added relevant on-screen help and labels to help you figure out how to get things done quickly and efficiently on Equipment and Spaces screens.

 

GCal and Exchange Sync for Spaces

Smaller news first – in the old Room Bookings module (now replaced with Spaces) there was 1-way GCal sync but we somehow missed porting this to Spaces. This has now been fixed to achieve true parity between Spaces and old Room Bookings, i.e. Spaces now has GCal sync so now you can see all Spaces reservations in your GCal calendars.

Now the big news… Picture this – a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces – so reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange!  Yup, we went there! This is a huge win for libraries with spaces that can be reserved both by the public (via LibCal) and by staff (via meeting requests in Exchange) – our new integration will keep your reservations in sync, no matter where a booking request originates. And your LibCal platform will become a go-to place to get awesome statistics on the usage of your spaces and equipment, no matter where the reservations are made. High-five for this big win!

Here’s another really cool thing about the Exchange support – it will make it even easier to integrate with touchscreen panels. LibCal Spaces offers full read/write APIs for integration with these types of panels, and many of these panels already support integration with Exchange – which means you can potentially integrate LibCal Spaces with these types of panels, without custom coding. This new integration means that availability stays synchronized across all possible booking points, with minimal setup effort – totally amazing!!

For this 2-way Exchange we are releasing the code to everyone but not enabling it on all systems yet – if you’d like to assist us with the final stages of testing Exchange integration (because we want to make sure we cover all different Exchange versions/scenarios) please emails us at support@springshare.com. Once we are confident that Exchange sync is working for these early testers, we’ll release it for everyone i.e. every LibCal system will have 2-way Exchange sync enabled.

Additional Updates

  • New “All Locations” View for Spaces – We’ve added a new “All Locations” view for Spaces, so patrons can browse availability at all locations in your LibCal system at a glance. To see it in action, head to the public Spaces booking page and select Location: All Locations.
  • Mediated Bookings by LibCal Users set to Confirmed: We heard from several folks that, when librarians (ie LibCal account holders) make a reservation for a mediated space/item, those reservations shouldn’t need to be approved. We’ve made this change, so now when a logged-in user reserves a space/equipment, those requests will be confirmed automatically.
  • Event Search for Logged In Users – We addressed an issue with searching for events from the Edit Calendar screen (accessed via Calendar Tab > Edit Calendar) – this should now work as expected.
  • Clarified Multi-user Registrations – We’ve improved registration management for sites that allow multiple registrations in a single form (so dad can register himself plus two children for storytime, without filling out multiple forms). Now, these multiple registrations are displayed individually on the Manage Registrations tab, and editing/deleting an individual registration doesn’t automatically edit/delete all associated registrations, so you can manage those registrations individually.

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’!