Archive for Kudos

CampusGuides Transform Librarians into Tech Innovators

Just as the librarians at Johnson & Wales University (Providence) found Springshare tools helped them earn a “Rock Star” status on campus, we’re pleased to report that another library recently earned kudos from their university community.  Nova Southeastern University Libraries won 1st place in the professional category of the university’s 12th Annual Technology Fair for their creative adaptations of CampusGuides for educational technology. We spoke with librarians Carrie Gits and Courtney Mlinar to learn how CampusGuides helped foster community and knowledge-sharing across campus.

Q: Tell us more about the technology fair…

The Office of Information Technologies & Digital Media coordinates an annual Technology Fair to promote the use of technology in the workplace. They solicit entries from faculty & staff (professional, administrative, & technology). The fair traditionally has a theme (this year it was be green, work green, go green, live green) and aims to highlight technology projects and recognize initiatives across the NSU campus.

Q: Congratulations on winning first place! Why do you think you won the award?

We have discovered the possibilities with CampusGuides are endless! The judging panel loved the idea of personalizing library resources for students or classes and that an assessment piece could be tied into the guide. The versatility of the box types and page editing settings allow the authors to create the best educational tools for the user’s needs.

We also feel that staff recognized how easy the tool was to use and that it really did help the libraries become more efficient and effective in creating “green” online instructional and subject specific material.

Q: How did you describe CampusGuides to the judges – what were some of the things you highlighted?

We promoted CampusGuides as an opportunity for future collaboration and personalization (i.e., course reserves module, librarian directory profiles, and adding faculty and students as content creators for their own guides). We highlighted the product’s ease of use, that staff with a variety of tech skills can easily build, create, and edit subject and curriculum-specific guides quickly.

The Health Professions Division Library is also migrating many of their web pages into CampusGuides – library staff appreciate this as they can be in control of their department’s content and update it easily, even if they don’t have staff with lots of web development skills.

Q: What was the reaction of the judges to CampusGuides?

We were able to show examples of how each library has collaborated with faculty and other campus departments to build guides that are customizable for their classes and student needs – the attendees and judges LOVED this! The judges perceived the tool as organic and student-centered, with areas where students or faculty could make comments, give feedback and rate the resources provided on the Guides. They even inquired about creating a Guide for their specific program of study or classes.

Q: What do you think you’ve gained from this experience?

As mentioned before, we promoted CampusGuides as an opportunity for future collaboration and personalization. Thanks to this increased visibility, librarians have opened more opportunities for future collaboration and personalization with faculty and students. Plus, with our prize winnings, we are throwing a CampusGuides Authors appreciation luncheon bash!

100,000 Library Guides (and counting…)

We were so excited about the just-released code updates, new products, modules, etc. that we almost missed a super-cool milestone for our flagship platform. As of last week there were 100,000 guides in our LibGuides community. That is an amazing achievement by our community, and it speaks volumes about the ease of use and the popularity of our platform. In just 3 years librarians have created over 100,000 guides (as of today that number is 101,557) to share knowledge and information with their users!

Hence, a big round of applause and congrats to all librarians using LibGuides (and CampusGuides/CommunityGuides) to publish and share information. Librarians are the best information/knowledge professionals out there and, in our opinion, many of these guides represent the highest quality information found on the internet. Wikipedia, who?

Keep up the great work. Onwards and upwards to the next milestone. Dare we say 500,000? We’ll get there sooner than you think!

The Unquiet Librarian: Top Ten Reasons I Love LibGuides

This morning we wanted to do something a bit different, and feature a blog post from one of our LibGuides community members – Buffy Hamilton aka the Unquiet Librarian. Buffy is a media specialist/teacher-librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia and is also one of the most active proponents of LibGuides within the K-12 space. We highly recommend that you subscribe to Buffy’s blog for a unique insight on the role of social media and technology in education today. You might even see a kind word about LibGuides now and again!

The following entry was originally posted on the Unquiet Librarian blog on April 16th, 2010 and is being reprinted here with permission.


Over the last few months, I have received quite a few inquiries as to why I love LibGuides so much, so I thought it might be helpful to share a brief post highlighting my ten favorite features.

In no particular order, here is why I invest in LibGuides for The Unquiet Library:

1.  The ease and flexibility of creating guides: LibGuides makes it super easy to add RSS feeds, embed videos, embed an endless range of HTML or script codes (great for widgets and embedding and content), lists of links, feature books from the catalog (which could be print books, Google Books I like, or eBooks from our virtual collection), document widgets, a timeline widget, assorted Google Searches, and various polls.  While I have utilized the user link submission feature on a limited basis, I plan to incorporate it more after being inspired by friend and fellow librarian Elisabeth Abarbanel’s recent blog post, “LibGuides:  Collaborative Aspects”. Because it is so easy to add content and widgets for traditional and emerging sources of authoritative information ( social scholarship) , LibGuides is an essential tool for supporting my information literacy instruction and supporting technology integration into my library program; I can also seamlessly push my students to other library streams of information, including our blog, our databases, and other essential library resources.

In addition, if I need to create multiple guides on a similar topic for different teachers with slight variations, I can easily copy the original guide and then add/take away guide elements or I can create a new guide and add existing elements from other subject guides I’ve created using the “copy from another guide” feature.  As if that isn’t enough, I can also use and modify templates for guides (67,000 plus and growing!) created by other library professionals in the LibGuides community.  These features of LibGuides make it easy for me to generate research pathfinders efficiently, quickly, and dynamically.

2.  Social Media Integration:  my students can capture RSS feeds for guides or use the built-in “Add This” sharing feature that allows my students to easily bookmark or post a guide to a diverse range of cloud computing/social media tools.    Students and teachers can also sign up for email notification when a new guide is posted, and this email registration can be customized by tags or keywords.

3.  Subject Guide Organization and Tagging: I can create and organize my subject guide categories however I choose, and I can also tag my guides with essential keywords.    These are features that allow me to “catalog” my guides!

4.  Usage and Statistical Reports: you can choose to create a general summary report, homepage hits, or overall guide hits; you can even view a guide hit report for a specific subject guide.  I will soon be incorporating this data into my monthly and annual reports.  The reports can be generated in standard (best for viewing your browser), plain (best for copying and pasting into another application, or Excel (spreadsheet) format, too!

5.  Widgets: I love that I can create and customize my widgets to focus on one particular subject guide OR I can create a more generic widget to direct my students to our general LibGuides home page while featuring new or popular guides.  The code is incredibly easy to generate and can be placed on virtually any web platform.

6.  Superb Stability: in the fourteen months I have been a subscriber, I have experienced only one minor service outage.  I can count on the platform to be up and running without worrying about frequent outages.

7.  Customer Service and Tech Support: I have only had to call upon tech support once in the 14 months I have been a user, but when I did, they were most helpful.  The individuals in customer service are also wonderfully responsive and gracious as well!    You can also join (at no charge) The Springshare Lounge, a free network for discussions about Springshare products, including LibGuides.  The support blog , Springshare Twitter feed, and LibGuides FAQ Twitter feed also help me keep up with the latest new features and product news.  As if that is not enough, you can also participate in product webinars!

8.  Multiple Editors: if you work in a library setting in which you have a team (library professionals, students, or teachers) who may need some access to creating and editing guides, you can add multiple users and establish their editing/access rights to invite participation while protecting the integrity of your overall platform.

9.   Multiple Uses for the Platform: While I primarily use LibGuides for generating subject guides/research pathfinders, I am now using LibGuides to create organic, dynamic, and multimedia monthly reports that help me better tell the story of my library program in a transparent and effective manner.  I also love how this high school is using LibGuides as a medium for paperless monthly library newsletters!

10.  More Than Reasonable Pricing and a Product Worth Its Weight in Gold:  if you are someone like me who generates a large number of subject guides and integrates your virtual resources heavily into library instruction, then LibGuides is truly your best friend.  The price point, in my opinion, is more than reasonable for a K12 institution, and I get more than my money’s worth in terms of the value the product has in terms of helping me be an effective librarian and the way it impacts the library experience for my students (and teachers, too!).   While there may be other similar products out there for less or free, I have yet to see anything with the “horsepower” and reliability of LibGuides.   After only six months of use, I renewed my subscription for two more years—given my generally conservative bent  in purchasing any online product too far in advance, this should indicate to you how much I love and how heavily I reply on this service/product!

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, my investment in LibGuides is an investment in my library program.    I feel that the integration of LibGuides into my library program since February 2009 has played a major role in improving the quality of my library instruction and service.  I am empowered to integrate a diverse range of information sources and instructional support materials in an organized manner that works for my students and makes it easy for them to navigate the broad range of resources I can provide for a collaboratively designed research project.

Introducing the “Best Of” LibGuides Website

We’re pleased to announce the http://bestof.libguides.com website – a collection of what we think are the shiniest examples of LibGuides across all our client institutions. The best part is that all content on the Best Of site can be freely reused and shared (that’s one of the rules of being featured on the site – guide owners must be willing to let others reuse and copy their awesomeness). No need to reinvent the wheel, and this way everybody benefits from the collective wisdom of the tens of thousands of librarians who create content in LibGuides.

We are also working on having official prizes, automatic idea submissions, voting, etc. so the Best Of site will only get better – this is just the beginning of great things to come. We will be adding new content every time we find something that makes us go “Wow, this is a great guide”  (we always contact the guide owner first, to get their permission to feature their work). If you have suggestions for what type of content you want to see there, or if you want to submit your or your colleagues’ guides please let us know, we’re all ears – support@springshare.com

So, there you have it – in a spirit of Valentine’s Day (a few days early but since Valentine’s is on Sunday we had to compromise a bit): Announcing the Sites We Love on the Day For Love – LibGuides Best Of, http://bestof.libguides.com. Check the site often because we will be adding new content every couple of weeks. You should also follow us on twitter – http://twitter.com/springshare – as we will be tweeting the Best Of updates/additions as well.

As always, please send us your suggestions, ideas, kudos 😉 – support@springshare.com.

Monthly LibGuides Stats – December 2009

What a great way to end the year – with Charles Darwin University becoming LibGuides member library #1000.  Congratulations to all LibGuides sites for being part of such an amazing community of educators!

Community Sites: 1023
Librarian Accounts: 16,068
Total Guides: 66,703
Total Pages: 424,688
Unique Visitors: 792,496
Page Views: 19.6 million

1500+ Questions Answered via LibAnswers Already

We were going to celebrate the 1000-th question answered via LibAnswers, but before we could say “cheese”, we realized this number already stands at 1547. Wow! Given that the system was released only recently, this speaks volumes about how popular and useful the system is going to be, and how easy it is for patrons to submit their questions and get timely responses from librarians. They’ve already done it 1547 times in the past couple of months.

So, thank you to all the early adopters of LibAnswers, keep up the good work! To everyone else – come join the party. To see why LibAnswers is the next big thing in Online Reference, check out our brief intro video at http://springshare.com/libanswers and then also take a look at the Analytics module.

LibGuides Member Site #500

We are very happy to announce that with the addition of Creekview High School this evening, our LibGuides community has grown to 500 member libraries!

Thank you to all the LibGuides users out there for your great feedback and for promoting our community on your blogs, Twitter feeds, poster sessions and conferences. We are on pace to have another great year, and we are looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas our growing community comes up with over the upcoming months!

Wrapping Up A Successful Webinar Series

Last week, Mazen Khoury and Kristiana Burk presented the final session in the ‘user experience’ webinar series. Many innovative ideas were presented during these sessions, and the response from the LibGuides user community has been overwhelmingly positive. We at Springshare would like to thank Kristiana and HowStuffWorks.com for all the hard work that went into creating these sessions, and we look forward to working with them in the future!

For those of you that were unable to attend one or more of the sessions, we have made Kristiana’s slides and videos available online at the LibGuides Help site. You should also visit HowStuffWorks LibGuides, to check out the many valuable (and reusable!) resources that they have created for the LibGuides community!

LibGuides Member Site #400

We are very happy to announce that with the addition of University of Illinois Chicago this afternoon, our LibGuides community has grown to 400 member libraries!  Many of you will remember how excited we were to reach our 100th member library earlier this year, and since then our user base has grown quickly to say the least  By the end of this year there will be 7000 librairans around the world working on 135,000 individual content pages from ‘AAA Style Guide’ to ‘Zoology’ – and everything in-between!

Thank you to all the LibGuides users out there for your great feedback and for promoting our community on your blogs, Twitter feeds, poster sessions and conferences.  2008 has been a great year for us here at Springshare, and we are looking forward to keeping the momentum going for the remainder of the year and into 2009!

LibGuides – 200th Member Site!

Northfield Mount Hermon School joined LibGuides this morning, bringing our total site count to 200!  Our membership has just about doubled since January, and we have quite a few more groups that will be joining the community in the next few months.

Thanks to everyone for making the first half of 2008 a very successful one for Springshare and our LibGuides community members!