Archive for LibChat

Ideas for Re-enaging Patrons in LibAnswers

If you’ve been using LibAnswers for awhile, you might be looking for fun and new ways to reinvigorate and boost usage of your various LibAnswers services.It happens to all of us, we get into a groove and then coast along.

But, if you’re noticing your stats are staying consistently steady, or flatter than Wile E. Coyote after using a catapult (this pun brought to you by Springy Greg! ūüôā ), it might be time to consider implementing some of these tips to turn that plateaued bar chart into a steep spike!

Reimagining LibAnswers FAQs

In case you missed it, SpringyCamp – Springshare’s virtual user conference, occurred on July 31, 2019. Among the amazing lineup of presenters (all of which you can watch here), was a presentation by Mikki Smith from the Corning Museum of Glass on Reimagining LibAnswers FAQs.

Bit of Background

The Corning Museum of Glass has been using LibAnswers since 2014 and created most of their public FAQs from an old database of FAQs from a previous system. Many of the FAQs included attached .doc bibliographics.

Around 2016, they became a bit more selective about which questions should turn into public FAQs, but did not retroactively apply that criteria to existing FAQs.

In 2017, they began to add images to existing FAQs and to use FAQs to highlight exhibitions.

Then, in 2018, looking at data from Google Analytics, they decided to reimagine FAQs as a mobile-friendly experience. Why? Because they noticed that a large percentage of their visitors were from mobile-devices. Thankfully, LibAnswers comes mobile-first right out of the box. But with some small tweaks to their FAQ content, they were able to make their FAQs more user-friendly, more mobile-friendly, and saw their usage stats increase.

Corning Museum of Glass FAQ – On Desktop

Starting with 1,300 FAQs to revise, it was a big project to undertake. Here’s some of the tips from Mikki’s presentation on reimagining their FAQs as an up-to-date visually appealing set of questions:

Same FAQ – On Mobile

  • Visuals – The Corning Museum of Glass has gorgeous objects on display. They make full use of that by embedding images into their FAQs to enrich the user-experience.
  • Improving the Metadata – Improving the FAQ metadata (FAQ title, answer, keywords, topics) helps to improve the SEO and findability of their FAQs. From their Google Analytics data, they found that 80% of their FAQ-traffic came as the result of a Google Search. Meaning that most users weren’t starting at the Library website. They started at Google and then found one of the FAQs because of a Google search on their topic of interest.
  • Actively Linking to Content – The Library and Museum have a ton of content to share with users. Don’t reinvent that content in your FAQs. Link to it in your FAQs to improve SEO and reduce duplication of content and efforts. Mikki and the team try and have at least one link out to existing Library and Museum content on each FAQ so it’s more of an experience and an opportunity to explore.
  • Rich Digital Content – The Library & Museum have videos on their YouTube page. By embedding them in their FAQs, they’re actively promoting their digital content and improving the experience for the patron.
  • Establish a Workflow – Create a workflow to ensure FAQs are updated. Mikki’s team divided the FAQs so each librarian has a dedicated number to review each month.
  • Promote on Social – Proactively promote your FAQs on social media to improve findability and increase your digital outreach.
  • Highlight Exhibitions – Whether or not your library has exhibitions, you might do custom displays for books (i.e. Poetry Month) or a promotion of archives, or an event. Consider creating a LibGuide on that exhibition, event, or display and then embed FAQs right onto it. Corning Museum of Glass did this with their New Glass Now Exhibition LibGuide and then added a tab to their LibAnswers homepage to highlight those FAQs there too.

Highlighting Exhibition, Display, or Event FAQs right on your LibAnswers Homepage

 

Launching Proactive LibChat

If you’ve been offering virtual chat reference services for awhile now, your users might be accustomed to the service and your usage stats are steady, but not increasing.

If you’re looking for a way to increase usage stats of your LibChat reference service, without launching a whole new advertising campaign, consider implementing Proactive LibChat. Proactive LibChat simply turns your LibChat widget into a proactive one – popping out after a customizable period of time asking the user if they need help.

So, instead of waiting for them to ask for help, you can offer help first. Enabling Proactive LibChat is as easy clicking a check-box on your LibChat Widget Builder. We outline how to setup Proactive chat on this blog post.

Institutions that have enabled proactive LibChat saw varying increases in usage from 230% (CSU – Dominguez Hills) to 600% (University of San Diego’s Copley Library). While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond,¬†recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego‚Äôs Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from¬†The University of Texas at Arlington¬†Library indicate that the answer is yes!

Upcoming Webinars – Guest Speakers

If you’d like to learn more about LibAnswers Proactive Chat, we have two upcoming guest speaker sessions from real libraries using Proactive LibChat. Sign-up below:

Optimized Session

If you’re in the European Union and you’d like to learn more about LibAnswers and proactive LibChat, we have an optimized time for you!

LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative aka QuestionPoint Acquisition

Thank you to everyone who emailed us with excitement about the news of Springshare acquiring QuestionPoint. Besides the info in the press release, and the LibGuide (of course ūüėČ ) we created to answer migration questions¬† (https://buzz.springshare.com/qp-migration), we’d like to spell out our reasoning behind this very big deal for all libraries interested in online reference service.

First, let’s summarize the main points regarding transitioning existing QuestionPoint customers onto the LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative:


  • QuestionPoint Staffers: *All* QuestionPoint staff librarians have joined Springshare and they are continuing their QP staffing work uninterrupted. The team you are used to will remain your 24/7 librarians team (plus we’ll add more staff, too – more on that below).
  • Business As Usual: OCLC has agreed to continue supporting QuestionPoint software until all customers migrate to LibAnswers. Any software issues with QP, please email your regular OCLC tech support contacts.
  • LibAnswers Coop Features: Springshare needs another two months to finish all required functionality for LibAnswers to support the full 24/7 Cooperative virtual reference service.
  • Migration Plans for Customers: When the LibAnswers platform has all the requisite Cooperative functionality, we will start working with existing QuestionPoint customers and plan their migration to LibAnswers.
  • No Interruption¬†of Service: In the meantime, it’s business as usual for the Cooperative and for QuestionPoint software. There will be no interruption to the service of any kind while we plan and execute your migration to LibAnswers.
  • Commitment to Enhancing the Service: Springshare has committed to enhancing the Cooperative to make it better for all participants. This includes adding more 24/7 Librarians on staff, providing more training, improving workflows for sharing information between local admins and 24/7 Librarians, etc.
    • We also want your feedback and ideas on how we can make things better – please email us at qp@springshare.com.

Why Did Springshare Do This?

The simplest answer is that we strongly believe in the 24/7 cooperative reference concept. We want to put our time and effort into organizing tens of thousands libraries worldwide to work together to provide 24/7 online reference & information research help to users – anytime, anywhere.

Our LibAnswers customers (1,400+ libraries worldwide, and counting) have also been asking us to explore adding Cooperative functionality and staffing options during holidays/weekends/nights/busy periods. Between creating a Cooperative from scratch vs taking an existing solution and building upon it – we decided that the latter is a better option for everyone involved… including existing QuestionPoint customers. This is truly combining the most feature rich and the most widely used reference software (LibAnswers) with the most established and the most widely used Cooperative & staffing service (QuestionPoint).

The Internet has not only changed the concept of how people access information (i.e. the ability to access vast amounts of information 24/7) – it has also disrupted the concept of access to services, too. Today’s internet user has 24/7 access to¬†services¬†as well.

  • Hail a ride anytime, 24/7? Check.
  • Order food at 3am? Check.
  • Have a pressing medical question and need to check with a doctor online, now? Check.

Replace the words “medical” and “doctor” with terms for “legal/tax/accounting/technical/design/tutoring/coding etc.” help and you get the idea. Need a date right now? We won’t go there but word on the street is that there are 24/7 services available for it, too.

Internet Users Are Accustomed to 24/7 On-Demand Access to Services

Many internet users are library users, too. If they need help from a librarian they want it now, not the next day when the library’s doors open. Therefore, it’s important for the¬† library to join the 24/7 service offering as well – especially in today’s world where the Internet is full of misinformation. Real, professional, quality information expert help is needed quite often. This presents a real opportunity for libraries to provide high-quality live librarian help to users in their communities, 24/7.

It’s a great way to gain mindshare with users and build engagement between the library and the community. Simply put, offering 24/7 live help service helps libraries meet the needs of their 24/7 users. Every missed call or missed question/inquiry is a wasted engagement opportunity for the library. And, more engagement with users translates into more appreciation for the value-add that the library provides to its community.

Scale Matters & Springshare Can Deliver It

Since very few libraries have staff available to answer questions online 24/7/365 (because, you know, money) we believe the next best thing is for libraries to work together in a Cooperative, with Springshare librarians helping whenever needed, to achieve true 24/7/365 coverage for any library, any user, anywhere, anytime. It’s a cost-effective way to obtain round-the-clock coverage for every library in every community. Sure, there may be situations where a remote librarian is unable to answer a specific question and will need to refer them to a local librarian the next day, but that’s okay. The personal touch, and an opportunity to speak with a human librarian anytime still means a lot in turning this user into a library fan. Also, we will have effective solutions in our software platform to minimize these “unable to help” issues. You’ll be hearing more about this very soon.

We at Springshare have experience with building communities and networks. Our first product, LibGuides, owes part of its success to the concept of LibGuides community that we built where 100,000+ librarians share content, templates, ideas, best practices, etc.¬† We have made plans to build our own 24/7 Cooperative for LibAnswers because we believe in this concept. Then, the QuestionPoint opportunity came along and we jumped on it. Seriously, what’s not to like about combining our two solutions and instantly reaching scale. The scale here is very important because with scale comes¬†the flexibility to offer better round-the-clock coverage with more librarians, higher quality service, and – just as important – better prices, too. If you study these on-demand services you quickly learn that the key is achieving sufficient scale where the marginal cost of adding new customers decreases and as more customers and more providers are added to the network the cost of the service decreases for everyone.

Our goal is to add many LibAnswers customers to the existing Cooperative – this will add more coverage to the Cooperative but it will also mean the network is much larger and the additional staffing costs will be lower per-customer (even after adding many new 24/7 staffers to our team). Lower costs per customer, more coverage, better quality service – this is where we’re going with LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative. And we won’t stop until there are tens of thousands libraries all linked globally with many hundreds of librarians online 24/7, ready and available to help a library user in any corner of the world.

Vision for the Future of the LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative

This is why we’re beyond excited about welcoming all QuestionPoint customers and all QuestionPoint staffers to our Springshare community. In the coming weeks and months you will hear more about the awesome features we are releasing in LibAnswers to make our 24/7 Cooperative the best it can be.

  • More effective ways for local admins to share information with remote librarians? Check.
  • Expanding the Cooperative specialty beyond the traditional Public/Academic groups to include K-12, Corporate, Law, and Medical Libraries? Check.
  • Adding functionality for more interactive ways to engage with users (screenshare, audio, video, etc.)? Check.
  • Guaranteed response times for every incoming chat? Check.
  • Social media coverage and engagement? Check.
  • Sharing and exchanging Cooperative best practices? Check.
  • Additional options for Cooperative participation (local staff contribution – or not)? Check.
  • Reliable ratings and automatic feedback functionality? Check.

So.much.amazing.stuff.is.coming!

This is a new chapter for the Cooperative and online reference service. We’ll double-down on everything that worked great in QuestionPoint, improve on everything that didn’t, and add new functionality and new options to make the LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative the next big thing for libraries and for the communities they serve. Onwards & upwards, and welcome aboard!

-Chief Springy Slaven & the (much larger since Friday) Springshare team¬† ūüôā

 

Top 10 Springshare Blog Posts of 2018

2019 is upon us and everyone loves a recap post.

We wrote 58 blog posts in 2018 (phew, our fingers are tired!) showcasing awesome new functionality in Springy Tools, guest presentations, SpringyCamp conferences, and so much more.

So join us as we look back and highlight our top ten blog posts of last year.

hacker1. Security & Protection of your Springy Sites

January 25, 2018

If cloud-computing had a theme in 2018, it would’ve been¬†HTTPS. In this blog post, we announced new functionality to route all patron traffic in Springy tools (LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, etc.) through HTTPS. Plus, we added integration with Let’s Encrypt to provide completely free HTTPS security certificates for all your Springy v2 tools. Talk about starting 2018 off with a bang!

2. LibCal/LibStaffer Integration

March 14, 2018

Don’t you just love it when your tools seamlessly work together? We do, too. That’s why we added two-way integration between LibCal (your calendaring tool) and LibStaffer (your staffing/scheduling tool).

In LibCal, if you have a confirmed Scheduler Appointment – you can’t be booked for a LibStaffer shift and vice versa. 2018 – the year you stopped accidentally double-booking yourself. Huzzah!

3. GDPR Compliance & Our New Mailing List

April 25, 2018

In preparation for the GDPR’s enforcement on May 25, 2018, we released tons of features to help ensure your compliance. And, if you think, “Hey, our institution doesn’t reside in the EU, so this doesn’t apply to us.”¬†Think again. If you service even a single EU citizen, no matter where in the world that EU citizen resides,¬†the GDPR applies to you. And, while we were on the subject of privacy, we revamped our email list. So, if you want¬†receive our¬†Springshare newsletter, new product releases, training webinars, and¬†SpringyCamp announcements¬†– you need to explicitly opt-in here.

4. LibTote and LibTote Platinum

April 1, 2018

I mean, who doesn’t love a good April Fool’s joke?! This blog post was dedicated to our fake product launch – LibTote and LibTote Platinum. Smart Tote technology you can take with you, to help you take other things. Why? Well, because there are two kinds of Librarians in the world… and they both love Tote bags. If you need a chuckle, take a minute (or two!) and revisit this blog post and dream of a world where your Tote bag has Blue’tote functionality, smart expansion, and robust usage stats.
Sigh Рif only we lived in such a world. 

5. New LibChat Operator Interface

June 28, 2018

LibAnswers with LibChat saw a ton of updates last year. But we kicked it off with a blog post announcing an entirely new LibChat operator console designed to help you manage loads of patron chats more efficiently and chat internally with colleagues as easily as possible. But, this was just the tip of the new features iceberg. We, later, announced more chat improvements, ideas for discovery layer integration, and our screensharing & webinar functionality (coming January 2019).

6. SpringyCamp Summer Series

July 31, 2018

In case you missed it, SpringyCamp is our virtual user conference (completely free!) where Springy users share how they’re using their Springshare tools at their institutions to attendees who watch from around the world. Literally, we have people who get up at 3am their time to join! Our 2018 Summer Series featured three virtual conferences, June, July, and August, with some amazing presenters and showstopping presentations. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the first time around, no worries – watch a recording any time.

7. SUSHI Fetching in LibInsight

July 3, 2018

LibInsight is your data storage and analysis powerhouse – and it got even more powerhouse’y last July. We rolled out automated fetching for your SUSHI compliant E-Journals, Databases, and eBooks datasets. Simply connect LibInsight to your database vendors and your e-resource usage data will automatically port into LibInsight for easy analysis.

8. Essential LibGuides You Need

September 17, 2018

We‚Äôve seen our fair share of excellent LibGuides. This blog post details the guides you should have and ones you didn‚Äôt even know you needed! If you’re looking for LibGuides inspiration from other libraries, don’t miss this list highlighting just some of our favorite essential LibGuides. And, if you’re looking to build some LibGuides on current events, don’t miss this blog post either!

9. LibStaffer Workflow Forms

October 11, 2018

We released a really big feature for LibStaffer at the end of last year that helps you streamline the way your library processes various staffing-related forms. LibStaffer Workflow Forms enables you to create customized online forms that facilitate the entire life cycle –¬†after the form is submitted. This includes automated email notifications, full audit trails, and the ability to view the entire workflow/history for each form submission. Looking for ways to use LibStaffer Workflow Forms? Check out this blog post highlighting 5 Ways to Use Workflow Forms.

10. New Australia / Asia-Pacific Datacenter

December 10, 2018

When you start a year with a bang it has to end with one too, by announcing announcing a dedicated data center for our Australia, New Zealand, and Asia-Pacific customers. In early 2019, we’ll automatically move all customers located in the Asia-Pacific region to this dedicated server cluster. This new data center is our 3rd cluster, with dedicated geographical servers, alongside our Canadian and European clusters. These dedicated data centers help ensure that your institution is in compliance with local laws regarding transmission of patron data in/out of the United States.

 

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.

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!

Springshare Integration with Discovery Layers

In a recent interview with Springshare, LibApps power user Amber Tatnall, Director of Library Learning and Resources at York County Community College in Maine stated,

I think if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

From the moment we wake up, we make thousands of decisions a day. Opportunity Cost, or the cost of doing X at the expense of Y, is an often used mechanism for decision making. However, an often missing piece of these mental algorithms is the cost of doing nothing. Within libraryland, the cost of doing nothing can manifest itself as lower user engagement or reduced web traffic hits.

If your library subscribes to a discovery layer product like EBSCO Discovery Service, Ex Libris Summon, or Ex Libris Primo, there are multiple ways you can integrate your Springshare tools into your Discovery layers.

These integrations allow you more virtual touch points to ‘reach’ your users with a minimum of effort.

What can you integrate?

When it comes to discovery layer integration, your mind might immediately jump to LibGuides integration. And that’s great! LibGuides is a great fit for integration with your discovery layers. However, if you subscribe to multiple Springshare tools – you can (and should!) integrate them all. Let’s explore!

  • LibCal – integrate your LibCal events so when users search on “MLA”, your upcoming Citation workshops display prominently.
  • LibAnswers LibChat¬†– embed a LibChat sidebar widget so no matter where a user ends up in your discovery layer, there’s always a way for them to ‘ask for help’.
    • Pro Tip: Create a proactive chat widget timed to pop out around the 3 – 4 minutes mark. If a user is on a discovery layer page for at least 3 minutes (that’s a long time!), your LibChat widget can slide out and ask the user if they need help. In a recent¬†College & Research Libraries News article, librarian Michael Epstein found that proactive chat led to a 600% increase in user engagement.
  • LibAnswers Systems & Services Management Tool – Make use of the Systems & Services Management Tool to create a discovery layer-specific widget that integrates LibChat, relevant FAQs, and a feedback mechanism for patrons to submit an idea, report a problem, or share praise.

The New School embeds the Systems & Services Management Tool Widget right into their Primo Discovery Layer.

  • LibGuides E-Reserves – when students see a search box, they assume it works like Google. Enter anything in it, and you’ll get some results. If you subscribe to our LibGuides E-Reserves module, you can integrate your course reserves in Dublin Core format right into your discovery layer via OAI-PMH. This way, when a student inevitably types “Professor Smith” into your search box, they’ll actually get relevant results.
    • Pro Tip: We support custom Dublin Core metadata fields so you can customize how your E-Reserves display in your OAI-PMH compliant discovery layer.
  • LibAnswers Ask Us Form – Northeastern University used the LibAnswers API to create a custom ‘Report a Problem’ form in their discovery layer. Submissions get routed to LibAnswers with the discovery layer URL automatically added.

LibAnswers Form auto-populates the URL of where the user was in the discovery layer

Integrated a ‘Report a Problem’ LibAnswers Form

  • LibCal Equipment Booking Add-on Module¬†– integrate your ‘library of things’ into your discovery layer using the robust LibCal Equipment Booking API. This way, when users search on 3D printers, or makerspace labs, they can actually view and reserve time using your equipment!

Where can I learn more about Discovery Layer integration?

Ask, and you shall receive! On September 19, Springshare conducted an in-depth training session on integrating Springy tools with EBSCO EDS, Ex Libris Summon, Ex Libris Primo / Primo VE. We even had a guest speaker from EBSCO, David Podboy, as well as Laura Guy, recent retiree from Colorado School of Mines, to showcase Springy integrations complete with examples and instructions.

The good news? You can watch this recording and download the presenter slides, which include detailed examples and instructions.

We hope you’ll take some time to watch the video and learn how you can avoid the cost of doing nothing by integrating your Springy Tools into as many virtual touch points as possible. As Amber stated, “…¬†if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

Click to access our discovery layer training session, including examples and presenter notes and files.

LibAnswers Update: Chat Improvements and More Coming Soon!

The LibAnswers release is on its way and will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Thursday August 9th. This release is chock full of chat dashboard stability and UI improvements – read on for the full scoop!

New Chat Dashboard Updates

We’ve heard your early feedback from using the new and improved Chat Operator Dashboard, and are excited to bring you several key updates and new features, including:

  • FAQ Search – It’s back! We’ve added the ability to search FAQs and share them with patrons and internal chats. You’ll see this FAQ search ability available from any chat area, including all internal and personal chats – this offers a quick way to search for existing help documentation from your site, and share it with patrons lickety split. And even better, we’ve improved the “share a link” functionality – now, instead of needing to copy and paste the link, you can just click the link icon from within the list of results and you’re off to the races.
  • Current Operator Shown In All Operators List – We heard from several folks that it felt more intuitive to show the current operator in the all operators list, so we made it happen! Even better, in addition to just showing your name in the operators list (which makes it easy to keep an eye on your current chat status), when you click on your name, you’ll find a chat entry area that’s personalized for you! Use this space as your personal notes area – you can use it to create draft messages, or search FAQs, or write yourself reminders, etc.
  • Responsive Design Elements were improved with this update, so the new chat dashboard will respond better for tablets and other smaller screens. Optimizing the chat dashboard for mobile devices will be coming in a future release.
  • Less Clicks Required to Close Chat – We’ve updated the various end chat behaviors to reduce the number of clicks – now, when you go to end a chat, you’ll have just one click to end, instead of needing to navigate through an additional dropdown menu.

Improved Chat Stability

In this release we’ve made several big under the hood improvements to help make the LibChat infrastructure as reliable and fault tolerant as possible. One of the biggest visible improvements is something we’re very excited about – in the new chat dashboard, if something inadvertently causes the chat operator to go offline for a moment – ex if the internet blips out momentarily, or if you accidentally navigate away from the chat pane and then hit the back button – you won’t lose any current chats in progress.

Full Admin Side HTTPS Support – No Action Required!

In this update we’re also introducing full HTTPS support for the admin side of your system, for all sites! This change means all of the admin side interactions in the system – from replying to tickets to answering chats to viewing statistics and running reports, every action you take on the admin side is now run via HTTPS enabled pages, so all system communication is more secure.

Please note that this update automatically updates every site’s admin-side pages to HTTPS. To update your public side pages to HTTPS (which we highly recommend doing!), check out our instructions available at¬†https://ask.springshare.com/libapps/faq/596.

Plus Bug Fixes and More!

  • Accessibility Improvements have been implemented for chat widgets – we’ve made them more screen reader friendly, so users with all types of assistive devices will have a smooth chat experience. We’ve also updated aria information in several key places
  • Remove the “Welcome to the New Chat Dashboard” message – For sites that have chosen to upgrade to the new chat operator screen, you’ll no longer see the “Welcome to the New Chat Dashboard” message each time you log in.
  • Character Escaping Improvements were made in a couple of places – now, if a patron shares a URL that contains an & in the pre-chat questions, or if you create a “Contact Us” link that contains an &, these will be rendered properly right from the get go.
  • Chat Links Open in New Window – We discovered a bug with the new chat operator interface where, if a patron shared a URL in one of the pre-chat question areas, those URLs were not opening in a new window. Now, all URLs shared via chat will open in a new window, so you won’t inadvertently navigate away from the chat pane.

Tips for Promoting Internal Staff Communication, Collaboration, and Community

Are you engaged?

It’s funny to say, but people are always talking about communication. In every relationship dynamic, the secret…is always communication — with your child, with your clients, with pets, with other countries, with your barista. Are you communicating effectively? Even more to the point, how can you communicate better?

This has always been a trending topic and it’s even more of a challenge now. With so many ways to reach out and because the traditional work environment is morphing with flex hours and telecommuting, virtual possibilities, it helps to reboot the conversation.

The one thing you will learn quickly is that it’s all about engagement. You have to be engaged in the solutions you put forth or the team won’t be either. So, if you really care about boosting internal staff communication to improve collaboration and create a sense of community, then you’re already on the right track. You care. The sooner we stop talking about communication and make improving it a real priority, the sooner we will see the wonderful effect it has on team productivity and morale.

The leaders have to lead.

If you want to encourage active internal communication amongst the staff, you’ll want to get in the mix. There are teams all over the world who find themselves with new directives sprinkled with enthusiastic words about the new intranet tool that has been licensed — so the company can better connect. It improves efficiency, they’re told. And, while this may be true, so many of those sharing the new mandate will never be seen actively participating in the intranet. They say¬†the best way to lead is by example. Well, whether you intend to or not, you’re always leading by example. So get in there and show them how it’s done!

LibGuides CMS has Groups functionality. Combine that with its Access Controls feature and you can create a locked down group and use it as a staff intranet! Many libraries are starting to do this as it’s super convenient.

  • Your internal group in LibGuides CMS can be a place where you get to know each other better. You can have each team member build a guide where s/he shares not just education and work experience, but also hobbies and interests, favorite TV shows and go-to Karaoke songs, photos of family or pets or a favorite vacation vista and more.
  • You can facilitate collaboration on projects that should be tackled next or get feedback on your latest instruction session idea by enabling Discussion Boards. You can engage with your team right in your site by encouraging open discussions or you can post specific questions. Remember, you can enable Discussion Boards on as many guides in your intranet group as you wish!

  • Cultivate a fun internal voice by using the blogging tool. Maybe your library organized a particularly¬†successful event recently. Or, maybe you had excellent reviews on a recent class you offered. Have the folks in charge write a blog post about it. This gives staff a chance to share and shine!
  • It’s your intranet, what do you want to use it for? Ensuring an actively accessed intranet is about making it a “place” you’d want to hang out. Of course, you can build guides that hold documents and files and links and images pertaining to a current project. But alongside those, be creative about your guides.¬†Perhaps the Director wants to build a guide about what’s on the horizon with tabs for each quarter? Give your retiring colleague an opportunity to build a farewell guide! Maybe you should start a staff book club or book review guide! Have fun! This is where communication leads to community.

The new water cooler.

Do offices even have the proverbial water cooler anymore? At Springshare, we’re chatting all the time, but from our desks or devices. Don’t curtail the chatting. Instead, foster it. It’s much faster than opening/sending/replying to emails. LibChat, a component of the LibAnswers Platform, not only helps you answer your patrons efficiently, it also allows you to chat amongst yourselves.

  • You can transfer questions from patrons to another operator. This is useful if there is someone better suited to answering the question online with you or in case you are about to go on your break and you need to start feeding questions to the next person on duty.
  • You can ask a colleague a question — behind the scenes — to help you answer the patron.
  • You can chat with all LibAnswers colleagues that are online at the time or initiate a chat with someone in particular.

A mixed bag is good. People will chat with each other about projects, ask for feedback, share an experience. But they’ll also send a birthday shout out and ask each other about playlists that move the day along. The important thing is that it’s a happy work environment. People who know and like each other want to collaborate.

Plus, the LibChat Operator Console was just updated with an entirely new interface making internal/staff-only chats that much easier.

Check in — so they don’t check out.

You can set up tools and you can implement strategies to improve communication in your workplace, but one of the best things you can do is frequently check in with the team. Use LibWizard to create an anonymous survey and ask folks if something is missing from the intranet. See if there’s a page they never use. Use the multi-select checkbox field to ask them which portions of the intranet they find most useful or interesting.

Not only will it help you improve by filling in the blanks or kicking out stuff that’s just taking up space, but it lets your team know you really do care about nurturing a productive and supportive and — dare we say — fun workplace.

LibAnswers Update – New Chat Operator Interface is Here!

The new LibChat Operator console will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Friday June 29th, 2018. But, keep in mind that we are not changing the current console to this new version just yet – we’re making the new chat operator console available to everyone to test it out, try things, get accustomed… and then when you are ready to switch to the new console on the system level, your LibAnswers system administrator can make the new console the default for everyone, in system settings.

When you login to LibChat, you will still see the current/existing console by default. To use this new console instead, head to LibChat -> New Chat Dashboard and you can switch back and forth between the current and the new chats on different days – until you are fully comfortable making the new chat interface the only one to use for the entire site.

The new Chat Operator console makes it easier to hold multiple chats with patrons, to chat with individual colleagues – or all colleagues from a department – all from one place!¬†Words don’t do justice to this new console, so instead let’s just take a look:

 

  • List View of All Chats – The new chat UI utilizes a standardized list view of all ongoing chats, so it’s easy to keep track of all of your conversations without having to move and resize boxes.
  • Expanded Chat Pane – Now you have a much more spacious area for each chat conversation you’re part of. We’ve also made a number of quality of life improvements inside the chat pane for operators, including left-orienting all of the chat conversations, adding clearer indicators of who said what, better timestamps and improved “Patron is typing” notifications, etc.
  • Conversation history with Patrons – If you choose to do so, you can view the history of conversations (both chats and tickets) from the patron you’re chatting with. Of course we’re fully aware of the privacy concerns as well, so this tool will only return chat and ticket history from the time period inside your privacy scrub window. The privacy scrub is a standard feature of LibAnswers – it’s run on a monthly basis, and you get to choose the number of months for which you’d like to retain data prior to the scrub – contact our support team to set this up for your site.
  • Dedicated Department Chats – We’ve added dedicated chat channels for each department you monitor, so everyone who monitors a department can be part of the same ongoing internal conversation. Use these new department chats to discuss and strategize around chat question trends, staffing coverage issues, or the latest departmental happenings – it’s up to you!
  • New Internal Note Field for a Chat¬†– A new operator-side internal note feature displays at the end of each chat session. It’s a handy way to communicate high level information about the chat with admins or other staff members who may be reviewing the chat transcript after the fact. Any internal note you add will be appended to the chat transcript itself, keeping all the information in one tidy place.
  • Answer Tickets from the LibChat Interface – As with the existing chat interface, you can respond to SMS, Twitter and Facebook messages right from the new chat dashboard, so it’s super easy to keep on top of all instantaneous methods of communication. In the future we’ll also be working on a way to answer all tickets from this pane, making LibChat a one stop shop for all communication!

To give the new chat interface a spin head to the orange command bar and choose LibChat > New Chat Dashboard. The new chat dashboard is fully linked to your existing department affiliations, so it’s easy to try out answering patron questions right from the get go. Just be aware, internal department chats between users on the old and new chat dashboard won’t work (though you can still talk with individual librarians between the old and new chat). Once you’re ready to fully make the switch for your whole site, admins can head to Admin > LibChat Setup > Settings to switch everyone over to the new dashboard.

Additional Updates and Features

But why stop there – we have several additional LibAnswers updates and features to share, including:

  • SMS Macros – We’ve added the option to create macros that are specific for SMS messages – these macros don’t contain any HTML, so they’re perfect for sending to SMS users! To create an SMS macro, head to Admin > Macros > Create SMS Macro.
  • Edit FAQ Info from the Knowledge Base Explorer – We’re adding the ability to edit high-level information about an FAQ – including its group assignment, assigned topics, keywords, and status – right from the KBE, instead of having to navigate to each individual FAQ. Head to the FAQ Knowledge Base and click the edit icon to give it a spin.
  • FAQ Topic Multi-Select – We’re making it loads easier to apply multiple topics to an FAQ – now, instead of selecting each topic individually from a drop down list, we’ve updated these menus to support multiple selections and easy keyboard navigation. To see it in action, head to the edit FAQ page.

LibAnswers 2.20 Coming Soon

The LibAnswers 2.20 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day on Thursday May 24th. We have several great features to share, including GDPR privacy updates and an exciting announcement about upcoming changes to the Chat Operator screen!

GDPR & Privacy Related Updates

We’ve worked on a number of issues to help get LibAnswers ready for the impending GDPR changes. In case you missed it, check out our full GDPR post. Here are the tools we’re rolling out in this update:

Public Cookie Notice and Privacy Statement¬†‚Äď We‚Äôre adding an optional, dismissible notice to alert users about the use of cookies and IP address collection on LibAnswers public pages. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.

Data Submission Notices¬†‚Äď We‚Äôre also adding an optional data submission notification, to help you alert your patrons to what personal information you collect in order to submit a question or idea to LibAnswers. This gives you an opportunity to let your patrons know why you collect particular data in forms, what that data is used for, etc. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.

Expanded Privacy Scrub¬†‚Äď We‚Äôre expanding our current privacy scrub options so that now, in addition to scrubbing patron name and email address, you can also choose to scrub all possible identifying information from both ticket interactions and/or LibChat transcripts on a rolling basis.

This new privacy scrub option will remove the entire contents of a ticket conversation and/or chat transcript – all of the messages that were exchanged between librarian and patron will be removed, and replaced with a short indicator message: [Removed during Privacy Scrub]. This option will also remove all of the patron’s responses to question and chat forms, so all possible identifying information will be removed.

With this new scrub option, your site will still retain usage data, so you’ll still be able to see things like how many chats or tickets came in by month, day, and hour. All potential identifying information will be removed and cannot be restored. Once the scrub is run, your tickets and/or chat transcripts will look like the following:

To enable the privacy scrub for your site, get in touch with our awesome support team and let them know whether you’d like to scrub just name, email, and SMS number, or whether to scrub the entire contents of the conversation for tickets and/or chat transcripts. Please also let us know how many months of data you’d like to retain before running the scrub.

Additional Updates and Fixes

  • We’ve added a new “Link to FAQ” option on the Add/Edit FAQ page, so it’s easier to add links to related FAQs when building an FAQ. To use this option, head to the Add/Edit FAQ page > Add/Edit Links.
  • We’ve added a Keyword Filter on the FAQ Entries Knowledge Base Explorer page, so it’s easy to filter results by a particular keyword. To try it out, head to the Knowledge Base Explorer and filter by Keyword.
  • We fixed a bug where Topic List Widgets weren’t opening links in a new window when that option was selected (now they will!).
  • We fixed a bug with the Helpful Tools search box on the Ticket Answer page – now, if you search for a public FAQ on this page, the results will open in a new window so you can easily browse existing FAQs.

And Coming Soon…Chat Operator Redesign!

We’re also hard at work behind the scenes to bring you a really exciting update – this summer, we’ll be rolling out a brand new interface for Librarians monitoring and responding to chats! This new interface will completely streamline the process of responding to patron chats – we’re moving away from having each chat open in its own window, and moving toward a list view of all of your chats in progress. Active chats are listed on the left, and each chat conversation is displayed on the right, so it’s worlds easier to manage multiple conversations without needing to rearrange chat windows. We’re also adding a host of frequently requested chat features with this update, including things like improved Group chats, improved alerts (including a nicer alert tone when new messages arrive), better integrated user history, and so much more!

Needless to say, we are super excited for the new chat update, but we also recognize that the new UI is a big departure from the existing chat UI. For this reason, the new chat UI will initially be an opt-in update Рonce it rolls out, all librarians at your site will be able to try it out live before you make the switch. Once your site is ready, your site admins can officially switch everyone to the new interface. If you have ideas or suggestions about what you’d like to see in the new LibChat Operator screen, please let our support crew know and they will relay the message to the LibAnswers product team.