Archive for October 17, 2018

Beyond The Library: LibCal Usage

Lately, we’ve been discovering more and more examples of non-library folks showing an interest and later purchasing LibCal for use by their teams and the customers they serve. While it may have started in the libraries, it’s clear that many are catching on to the fact that LibCal — with its awesome features and, yet, simple interface — works beautifully in so many different settings.

As Heather Westerlund, IT Manager at Walden University Libraries, stated in an in-depth interview on how Springy Tools have expanded beyond the Walden Uni. Libraries,

Just because it has the word ‘Lib’ in it, doesn’t mean that only the Library can use it!

If you need calendars, appointments, have spaces, perhaps equipment and want to share your hours, LibCal can work for you, too — no matter what it says on your office door.

The essential LibCal.

LibCal is made up of 4 components with an optional 5th that is an add-on module. They work together to form a complete integrated calendaring solution that is flexible enough to be used beyond the library.

It’s cloud-based, mobile-first, affordable, boasts in-depth statistics to help you make data-driven decisions and comes with Springshare’s free training and support.

Libraries have been recommending more than books.

In some institutions, LibCal use is really spreading. Emory University in Atlanta now has 6 LibCal systems, 4 of which are being used outside the library in offices like the Scholarly Communications Office, Tutoring, Student Digital Life, and Campus and Community Relations. There are a number of excellent examples of other departments on academic campuses who are successfully using LibCal for their needs.

 

At Florida Atlantic University, the Office of Instructional Technologies has a LibCal system that they use for upcoming events, room booking and appointment scheduling.

Recently the Human Resources office at FAU also purchased a LibCal system.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona State University has a Digital Creative Studio that is using LibCal Calendars for events.

They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module for reserving computer workstations, and the Spaces booking for reserving event space and video studios.

Appointment Scheduling: It should be nice (and easy) to meet you.

LibCal saves you the troublesome back and forth of emails where you keep trying to nail down a time that works for both parties.

Add your availability, create a custom form for people to fill out, and even set up different types of appointments that have appropriate durations.

While students do meet with librarians, imagine all the other departments on campus that have personnel that also meet with students or faculty, etc.. The Southern Methodist University Advisory Group uses LibCal to allow people to schedule appointments with

  • Academic Counseling
  • Academic Services
  • Pre-Health Advising
  • Student Athlete Academic Services
  • Simmons Student Academic Advising
  • the University Advising Center
  • and the Student Transfer Admission department

Booking spaces, rooms and more!

We’ve heard just about everything when it comes to how people are handling the booking of spaces and rooms. With all the conference rooms and performance spaces, computer labs, classrooms, auditoriums, etc. on site, having a simple way to make them available and manage them is in order. The Spaces component is one of the main draws to LibCal. People are really creative in how they use it — because it’s flexible enough to suit many needs.

The Oklahoma State School of Business is using LibCal Spaces for their breakout rooms.

 

An innovative use comes to us from the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Department which is using it to allow people to book cars as a way of car sharing.

Equip yourself with tools for success.

Maker spaces are popping up all over. We’ve seen a rise in interest from them in recent years and they use LibCal to highlight workshops and classes. They let people book appointments with artists and experts and techs. They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module to make their devices, machinery, tools, and equipment available. It’s proving to be a great pairing.

The Innevation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is doing awesome things with LibCal. Here’s the Equipment Module in action there.

 

So, here’s to the same energy that prompts a person to tell another about a really great book or movie or restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful, even in the tech world — but only if the solutions really work. LibCal is an excellent tool that helps you seamlessly allow your students, faculty, staff, and patrons to take advantage of the services, classes, workshops you offer, to meet with you, to reserve your spaces and equipment — to engage with you. And, if they are doing that — you’ll all be a wild success.

LibAnswers Proactive Chat Increases User Engagement

If you’re looking for a way to increase user engagements, look no further than LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets!

Create as many customizable chat widgets as you’d like, embed them anywhere (including https secure websites), and watch the chats roll in.

How do I make one?

It’s as easy as select, type, copy, and paste. Blammo – and you’re done!

  • Login to your LibAnswers system > LibChat from the Orange Command Bar > LibChat Widgets.
  • Select the Create New Widget Button.
  • Give your widget a name and choose either the button, slide-out tab, or floating chat widget display options.
    • Pro-tip: Give your widget a descriptive name so you can remember what style of chat widget it is, where’s it been embedded, and your autoload delay properties. Your patrons will never see the name on the public side. Your future self will thank you!
      • e.g. title: “Slide-Out Tab Widget: Right-Side, Auto-Delay (60second). Library Homepage.”
  • Go through your widget options but pay special attention to the feature titled “Autoload Delay (in seconds).” This is your proactive chat widget! Choose, in seconds, how long you want to wait before you engage your user with the widget prompt.
    • Pro-tip: For your library homepage, choose a longer autoload delay (60 – 120 seconds). For web resources were users tend to get “stuck” like your A-Z resource list or discovery layer, choose a shorter autoload delay (20 – 45 seconds).
  • You’re almost done! Take a minute and customize the language of your autoload delay window. Simply click the autoload preview in the right column to pop-out a window that allows you to customize the default language. This way, you can inform your users of how the chat works, that you’re there to help, and how easy it is to ask questions.
  • Make any additional customizations, including what happens when your LibChat widget is offline and click save.
  • Copy the Embed code > and you’re done!
  • Repeat the steps above to offer different and unique LibChat experiences on your various digital touch points. Create one proactive chat widget for your library homepage and a different one, with different help language, for your Database A-Z list!
    • Pro-tip: If you’re using the LibGuides A-Z list, login to LibGuides > Content > Databases A-Z List > Settings > LibChat Widget > to add your proactive LibChat widget to your LibGuides A-Z list. This is where giving your chat widget as descriptive a name as possible really helps you out!

Will it increase my user engagement?

While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond, recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from The University of Texas at Arlington Library indicate that the answer is yes!

The Reference Department at the University of San Diego’s Copley Library implemented Proactive LibChat widgets and saw a 600% increase in chat engagements.1

The University of Texas at Arlington Library doubled their chat engagements from 4,020 (2015-2016) to 8,120 (2016-2017) after implementing proactive LibChat and for some months saw their incoming chats tripled.2

Are there examples of the LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widget I can check out?

Absolutely, there are probably loads more out there in SpringyLand…but here are just a few of our favorites!

College of the Mainland Library
Floating LibChat Widget w/ Custom Icons

Ashland University Library
Slide out Tab Widget

Where can I learn more about adding LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets?

We’re hosting webinars in October with guest speaker Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library. We’ll take a quick tour of LibAnswers, explore live library examples of LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widgets, and Michael Epstein will present on their use-case at the Copley Library Reference Department.

Citations

1. Epstein, Michael. “That thing is so annoying: How proactive chat helps us reach more users.” College & Research Libraries News [Online], 79.8 (2018): 436. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.

2. Pyburn, Lydia L. “Implementing a Proactive Chat Widget in an Academic Library.Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning [Online], 2018.

LibStaffer Update Coming Soon!

A really big – and important – LibStaffer update is on its way to production servers on Monday, October 15th, 2018 (US Eastern Time), and will be live in all regions by the end of the day. Why is this release so big and important? Two words: Workflow Forms.

Workflow Forms

This new functionality in LibStaffer has the potential to greatly streamline the way your library processes various staffing-related forms. Everyone agrees collecting info via forms is useful – there are tons of use-cases for forms when it comes to staffing: Forms for Job (or Volunteer) application, Equipment requests, Professional Development requests, Travel requests, Consent forms, Onboarding forms, Staff suggestions forms, Vacation/Time off request forms… we could go on and on, but you get the idea. It’s easy to whip up a basic form using any number of online tools. But what happens after the form is filled out? That part is still largely manual and prone to errors, delays, confusion, inaction, etc. That’s where our new Workflow Forms functionality comes in.

Workflow Forms enable LibStaffer admins to create a customized online form for staff use, and then goes further to facilitate the entire lifecycle of the form after the initial submission. The form sends automatic email notifications to various staff members based on selected values within form fields. You can create “stages” for each Workflow Form so different staff are notified whenever a form reaches a given stage. You decide who can review submissions, and then those staff members can leave notes and communicate internally regarding the content of form submissions… At the end of this you have a full history and audit trail of each form submission and the workflow/history around it – who assigned which stage to a given form, who left notes about it, etc. For compliance and record keeping reasons itself this Workflow Forms functionality is worth its weight in gold.

Let’s take one obvious use-case scenario – an online application for a student workers or volunteers. Create your customized form with any number of fields/options, and even include a file upload field so applicants can submit their resume as part of the form submission. Tres cool! One of the fields could be a list of checkboxes indicating which position the person is interested in, and each checkbox could alert a different staff member of the submission – circulation desk applications go to jane@, the archives application interest can go to john@, info desk applications go to michelle@ etc.  You would then assign “Stages” that each submission goes through e.g. “New Application / In Review / Qualifications Match / Interview Conducted / Accepted / Denied” and each Stage has its own notifications setup, too. As reviewers put applications through its paces they can leave notes on each “touch” and communicate/exchange info and thoughts about the application. The full notes history and Stages changelog is there for for all authorized users see, for audit compliance and transparency.

Then, upon successfully hiring new student workers or volunteers, you can create another Workflow Form to be used for onboarding them! There are so many potential use-cases to put Workflow Forms to good use at your library. We’re incredibly excited about this functionality and we know you will be as well, once you start playing with it. You’ll arrive at many a-ha moments after you realize how many of your current form-based workflows can be moved online and improved upon with the LibStaffer’s new Workflows Forms.

Additional Updates

In addition to the all new Workflows functionality, we have even more features to share with you in this release.

  • Clock In/Out Dashboard – We’ve added a high level overview to show all staff members the current clock in/out status for every user in your system, so everyone is on the same page about their colleague’s current status. To view the new Dashboard, select View Staff Current Status from the LibStaffer dashboard.
  • Updated Regular-level Schedule View – We’ve updated the schedule view that regular level users see when they log in, so the selector menus for viewing other dates, schedules, etc. will now look the same for both admin and regular level users.
  • Scheduled Shifts Report Update – We’ve made a small tweak to the Scheduled shifts report and will now display the total number of hours a user has been assigned to within the time period you specify. To see this in action, admins can head to Reports > Scheduled Shifts.
  • Time Clock Report Updates – We’ve added an “All Staff” view to time clock reports, so you can view a report for all staff members who are part of a particular schedule. We’ve also updated the way that time displays in these reports – rather than just displaying information in minutes, we’re now displaying in hours and minutes, so it’s easier to understand how much time you’re looking at.
  • Elevated Regular Level Users can now edit and delete approved time off for users on schedules they manage. To see this in action, these users can now head to the Time Off page and will be able to see, edit, and update requests that have been approved.
  • Updated Working Hours – We’ve updated the way Working Hours are entered, so it’s now possible to fully clear out hours that you’ve previously entered. To manage your working hours, head to Manage Account > Working Hours.
  • And we have a couple of Bug Fixes to share:
    • Auto Scheduler will no longer schedule staff members who previously belonged to a schedule, were favorited for particular shifts, but have since been deleted from the schedule.
    • We’ve fixed an issue where, in specific circumstances, the Auto Scheduler would sometimes assign the same person to the same shift twice

Upcoming Training

To learn about the all new Workflow Forms, or get a refresher on using LibStaffer, sign up for our upcoming training sessions!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 2:00-3:00pm (ET) LibStaffer: Setting up Your System with Workflow Forms

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 2:00-2:45pm (ET): LibStaffer for Employees

LibGuides and LibApps Updates Coming Your Way!

LibGuides Update

We have some great updates coming by the end of this week to LibGuides, LibApps, and LibAuth to go with the official changing of the seasons. Happy fall to our fellow Northern Hemisphere denizens, and Happy Spring to our customers on the other side of the world!

To kick us off, we’re pleased to announce that you can now Export All Rows for LibGuides Homepage and Guides statistical reports. So many have requested this that I’m sure there will be fireworks and bonfires in celebration. 🙂  To export your results, just run a report from Statistics > Homepage or Statistics > Guides, then click the Export All button. No more paging through results! Just download and slice and dice to your heart’s content.

Also new in LibGuides:

If the database that you’re adding to a guide is hidden, you’ll see text indicating that:
screenshot

Ability to edit the friendly URL of a blog post! Note that guide blogs must have friendly URLs assigned at the guide and page level for this feature to appear:
screenshot of the post edit screen

Ability to add Primo as a search source for LibGuides. Now you can add search results from your Primo system as a tab or Bento box in your LibGuides system. This will be available from LibAnswers search in a future release.
screenshot

We try to do at least one accessibility fix each LibGuides release, and this one is no exception: If your databases’ descriptions are set to “hover over title” or “hover over (i) icon,” those pop-over descriptions aren’t read aloud when databases appear on a guide. Thanks for letting us know, Ken! We’ve fixed that in your honor. ❤️

We also have a swarm of little fixes to report:

  • AZ Import > vendors are added and updated properly.
  • AZ.php > the correct container class is applied when you use a custom footer.
  • Accounts > Email options > Help ID has been corrected.
  • Names now appear underneath profile boxes on the A-Z and Subject pages.
  • XML exports sent to Summon now use the correct “last updated” date for guides.
  • Accounts > Add > Contributor level is no longer grayed out.
  • The Guides list filters properly when you have an apostrophe in a group name.
  • We corrected an issue with password-protected reserves documents and the www version of a domain.
  • Discussion Boards: Regular level accounts can invite patron accounts from the guide edit page.
  • Guide edit > add editor > we fixed the ability to create a new Editor account from here.
  • Custom metadata has been added to guides rendered via widgets (and therefore to LTI).

We have also done a ton of performance and optimization fixes all across the codebase, so you’ll see things like the Assets data table perform better.

Also don’t miss this month’s Brunch ‘n’ Learn: “LibGuides Lab Work-In: Hands-On Help for Your Staff.” Check out this and other LibGuides training sessions live, or watch recorded videos.

LibApps

We have made a couple of improvements to LibApps as well. Now when you export all your LTI instances, the Content column just has the name of the matches content rather than the HTML link.

We also made it so that if you request that we remove your custom SSL certificate so that you can start using Let’s Encrypt (free!), there’s no gap in HTTPS coverage.

LibAuth

Over in LibAuth, we now support the Location attribute for SIP2 Connections, updated Federation metadata to use SHA256, and fixed an issue where the General pane of the LDAP configuration screen was not saved when you edited the login form tab.

LibAnswers 2.23 Update Coming Soon!

The LibAnswers 2.23 update is on its way to you this week, and will be released in all regions by the end of the day on Thursday October 11th, 2018. This update is all about refinements to the new chat operator interface. We’ve been listening to your feedback and are implementing several great features to streamline answering and keeping track of chats. Read on for the details!

New Chat Dashboard Updates

  • Pop-out Chat View – We’re adding a new viewing option that makes it easier to view multiple chats at the same time – the new Multi Chat View option displays all incoming and internal chats “popped out” in the chat operator screen, so you can move windows, resize, and keep an eye on multiple conversations at once. To use the new view, head to the Settings tab in the Operator Console and select “View Chats in Multi Chat Overlay”. To make this your default view every time you log in, head to Edit Account > Chat Settings and choose “View Chats in Multi Chat Overlay”.
  • Smoother Chat Claiming – We’ve added a handy “Claim” button in the lefthand list of chats, to both help indicate which chats need to be claimed, and make it easier to claim a chat with just one click. In addition, chats waiting to be claimed will always be displayed at the top of the chats list, so they’re more obvious.
  • Departments: Who’s Online – Department chats now include a full list of “Who’s in this chat”, so you know everyone who could be part of a department chat along with their current online/offline status. To see who’s online, click on the department chat then select Department Members.
  • Chat Styles – We’ve updated the Chat Operator typing pane to support basic HTML styles (bold, italic, and underline) without needing to type in the actual HTML. Use the new button options in the chat pane to style your text and make your chats more expressive.
  • Scrub Internal Chat Messages – If you’d prefer not to save and display internal chat history indefinitely, you now have the option to clear the internal chat history after X days. To set this option, Admins can head to Admin > LibChat Set-up > Scrub Internal Chat Messages. By setting this option, all internal chats (include sitewide chat, department chats, and op-to-op chats) will be deleted and cannot be retrieved. Also note that this does not impact patron chats – to scrub patron chats, contact our support team.
  • Chat Transcripts Include Custom Pre-Chat Questions – Now when you view and/or export chat transcripts, we’ll include the contents from any pre-chat questions the patron may have answered before the chat began.
  • Updated Dashboard Notifications – We’ve tweaked the dashboard notification messages to clarify between new chats and new tickets.
  • And we have a couple of Bug Fixes to share:
    • Now, when you add a chat to Reference Analytics, the chat question and answer fields will be included in the correct Reference Analytics fields, rather than both being added to the Question field
    • New chat sound notifications will now sound for both chats you’re looking at currently as well as chats that you’re not currently looking at.
    • We’ve fixed an issue where Internal Notes added when a chat is closed were not being appended to the chat transcript.
    • And we’ve fixed an issue on the new chat dashboard where Idle Messages weren’t being displayed in the proper time period – now they’ll display as expected.

Ticket & FAQ Updates

  • Edit Patron Contact Info – We’ve added a simple editing interface so you can now edit the patron information (including name, email address, or SMS number). This is particularly helpful for patrons that prefer to go by a different name, or have multiple email addresses that should be considered part of the same record. To edit a patron’s contact info, on the ticket answer page, select User History > Patron Contact Info.
  • Replies to Really Old Tickets = New Tickets – We’re here to help you in the fight against zombie tickets – now, you can choose to treat a new reply to a ticket from X months ago as a new ticket. This is meant to help particularly with email ticket chains, where the patron may be replying to an old email thread with a brand new question. Breaking the ticket out into its own ticket is helpful both for your site statistics (because odds are these are truly new questions and should be counted as such) as well as equitable question distribution (so the same person doesn’t wind up owning a ticket that could potentially span years). To set this new setting, Admins can head to Admin > System Settings > General > Break Replies into New Tickets.
  • File Uploads When Transferring – We now support file uploads when transferring a ticket to another user.
  • Bug Fix for Required Ticket Fields – Previously, in some limited circumstances, it was possible for the patron to submit a new ticket to your system without completing a required field (such as the Question field). We’ve fixed this issue so you should no longer see the occasional ticket that doesn’t include a question.
  • Save FAQ Content While Editing – We’re improving the FAQ creation experience by automatically saving the content you enter in the RTE, while you edit. This is super useful if, like our own Springy Tim, you have a habit of accidentally navigating away from the Create FAQ page in the midst of editing your content – now, if this happens, just return to the FAQ page you were working on and your content will still be there.

Register for LibAnswers Training or watch training recordings to learn more about the new LibChat interface & all LibAnswers functionality!

LibGuides CMS: Getting The Most From Groups Functionality

There are many excellent reasons why people choose (or upgrade to) LibGuides CMS. It has access controls, the LTI integration tool, comes with LibWizard Lite and so much more. However, the way the system allows you to create separate customizable groups is, to this day, one of the most popular draws.

LibGuides is so easy to use that our clients began to start imagining other ways they could use it. They’ve taken advantage of the flexibility and used it for their websites. Sometimes departments within the library, like Special Collections or Reference, would ask their system admins if they could build guides but they wanted to have their own banner. LibGuides CMS makes this possible along with a variety of other thoughtful uses.

Build an Intranet the Team Will Really Use.

Using LibGuides CMS for your Intranet platform makes sense on so many levels. Why divert them to, yet, another interface? The staff already knows how to build LibGuides. Now, they can build guides on Professional Development Days and on Vacation and Sick Day Policies. Imagine encouraging the team to build not just a profile box but a whole guide that includes more than what you’d see on a resume. It could include hobbies, photos of favorite trips, books on their must-read lists, work playlists and more. Your intranet would connect people and help them truly get to know one another. Plus, you could embed LibCal calendars to keep everyone on the same page and LibAnswers FAQs to help with onboarding new hires. You could embed LibWizard forms or surveys to get team feedback on new projects up for consideration. Your Intranet group could be a real hang out spot.

Everyone Loves to Play in a Sandbox.

If you’ve been thinking about updating your look and feel but you are not sure if your ideas are executable or if it will look too sparse or, conversely, too crowded, etc., then you’re probably wishing you had a staging area to play around in and test. With LibGuides CMS, you can create a sandbox group. Then using access controls, you can lock it down with password protection or IP address restriction. You can build and modify and adjust as you wish without disrupting the guides your patrons are currently using.

Organize Your Guides in a New Way.

Some clients are using the groups functionality in LibGuides CMS to make finding what you need more efficient and clear-cut. They have a group for Subject guides and another group for Course guides and they can keep going. You could put all the General Library Information guides in a group and/or build a group for Events and Instruction. On the public-facing side, it would be an organized person’s dream.

It’s Not Old, It’s Archived.

We’re hearing from more and more libraries that a digital archive solution is something that’s becoming a real priority. The University of Oklahoma’s Jason Henderson presented Digital Archives on a Dime at our virtual conference, SpringyCamp, regarding his experience building, hosting and publishing a digital archive using Internet Archive and the LibGuides CMS groups functionality. He emphasized that he was mindful of their budget, wanted it to be easy to use for their patrons, and that it was critical for the team that it be easy to set up and maintain.

Don’t Be Afraid to Branch Out.

Public libraries make immensely helpful LibGuides on taxes and genealogy and National Poetry Month. However, what public libraries do best is hone in on the needs of the people they serve and those needs are often particular to the branches. LibGuides CMS allows you to make individual groups for each branch. They can have their own banner, header, footer and they can have their own looks and feels or they can have a consistent look that threads them together. Best of all, if a branch has a large senior population or, perhaps, another branch has a lot of veterans or young families, the librarians can build guides in the confines of their own group to cater to them.

Speak the Same Language.

LibGuides CMS allows groups to have a fair amount of independence. They can have their own URLs and home pages with a choice of navigation layout. What’s more, they can be customized in different languages, too! We have clients that, legally, must provide their guides in both French and English, for instance. LibGuides CMS works for them because they can build a group for each language and then they can add a link to the other in case a user wants to switch from the English to the French. Et voila! Let your imagination drive for a stretch and make a targeted list of all the ways — internal and public-facing — you can envision using LibGuides CMS groups at your library. Nothing else will be so easy…or end up looking so good.