Archive for LibGuides CMS

Using LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards for Team-Building

At the Linscheid Library at East Central University, it all started with a mentoring program. In 2017, during a mentoring relationship with a new technical services librarian, Patrick Baumann and his mentee discussed the different personality types of their librarians and how, if different personalities joined together, it could really enhance the Library’s team.

“If we fit different personalities together, it could work better as a team. We could develop our team of librarians by figuring out what our personalities are and using that to work with each other and to discover things about ourself and the people we work with. This would help us to figure out who would fit best together for projects.”

Patrick teamed up with librarian Marla Lobley to take this idea to the next level. By the beginning of 2018, Marla and Patrick started their StrengthsFinder Project. Using Tom Rath’s 2007 StrengthsFinder 2.0 book as the basis for their project, Marla and Patrick went beyond the typical personality tests to actually uncover each individual’s top strengths. StrengthsFinder starts with 16 personalities and then gives you exercises for your top strengths as well as exercises for team-building.

Lastly, it focuses on the positive. You’re talking about your strengths and not your weaknesses. Because we all think about our weaknesses and what you’re not good at. This focuses on your strengths and positive things.

Once they had the project in place, they needed a tool to carry it out. Rather than relying on email, Marla remembered that their LibGuides CMS tool has internal Discussion Board functionality. So librarians could log in to a tool they’re already familiar and comfortable with, and know that this internal project would remain just that… internal and not visible to the public.

Their first LibGuides CMS Discussion Board thread was a calendar, a method for librarians to keep on track of the project.

 

Each librarian performed a strengths assessment, reported on their strengths, and then focused on their top-five strengths. Each librarian then created an action plan to focus/enhance those strengths and share their strengths with everyone else.

For sharing their strengths, and to get feedback, each librarian created a Discussion Post highlighting their top five strengths. Colleagues would then reply to each librarian’s thread with their personal feedback.

Our colleagues would reply to each thread and say, “I can see this strength in you such  and such project. You use that strength, and I’ve seen it.” That gave us some positive feedback.

 

Having this as discussion board threads, it was easy to manage and navigate….especially when you have 23+ replies.

Additionally, the team made use of a neat Discussion Boards feature:

With each thread reply, you can mark things as helpful which is almost like ‘Liking’ in Facebook. Which is kinda cool. If someone replied with a comment that you liked, you can mark it as helpful. It made it fun in addition to useful.

Overall, Patrick and Marla consider the project a success. It focused on the positive, each librarian’s strengths, and it helped each person to better understand their coworkers. Plus, their library director found it helpful to learn about each of the librarians and how best to work with them.

In terms of using the LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards for this project, it went really smoothly. It’s pretty straight-forward. And it’s about how you can be creative in using a tool through Springshare. It was a worthwhile project, and I’m glad we did it. And the [LibGuides CMS] Discussion Boards really helped us to carry it through.

If you’re planning on doing a similar project, Patrick and Marla have some helpful suggestions from their lessons learned.

  • If you’re planning on using a book as the basis for your project, be sure to get everyone copies of the book.
  • Make a plan/calendar and keep on task.
  • Remember, people go at their own pace, so remain flexible to give people time to process and schedule time for open discussions.
  • Be prepared to give and receive honest feedback.
  • Be up front with what you’re doing.
  • And if you’re using LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards, remember to set notifications for each thread.
    • Note: If you’re not getting notifications, check with your IT department about whitelisting LibGuides CMS emails.

Navigate to our Facebook Page to view Patrick’s 15 minute presentation from ALA-Midwinter 2019. You don’t need a Facebook account to access the video, but if you do – take a minute and Like our Facebook Page so you won’t miss cool content like this in the future (be sure to set your notifications for @springshare to ‘On’ so our posts show in your Facebook activity stream). Download Patrick’s slides from our ALA-Midwinter Recap Guide, and check out some of the other presenters to boot!

Get Creative. Let Your LibGuides Imagination Run Wild.

LibGuides Is Your Efficient & Effective Multi-Tool.

While the cake pop maker you got as a gift sits in your pantry with many other one-purpose small appliances, you probably think about regifting it at least four times a year. You already know that LibGuides can help you build subject guides, course-specific guides, guides you use to outline your orientation sessions and — for public libraries — guides for everything from Taxes to Genealogy to Job Searching and beyond.

LibGuides is so flexible because we didn’t design it to do those things. We designed it to communicate. LibGuides can also be your megaphone, your bulletin board, your invitation, and your checklist. It can be your newsletter, your blog, your virtual book club… you see where we’re going with this. It can be your go-to way of starting any conversation with your multiple audiences and — while you’re at it — it is a scrapbook of all the cool things you’re doing and sharing! If you have LibGuides CMS, it can be your intranet, your sandbox and more! Check out some really great ways people are using LibGuides to say — anything.

Keep Everyone In The Loop.

LibGuides are easy to build and, just as important, they’re easy to keep updated. They’re a perfect fit for building guides that are important to everyone. The University of South Carolina Upstate Library turned to LibGuides to keep everyone updated on the Library renovations. They designed a visually striking image and put it in the top box that spans the columns. They included images and have a tabbed box they’re using as a monthly blog to detail progress and share timelines. They’ve even got a top-level tab that contains Conceptual Drawings and Plans. It’s a stellar example of keeping their community engaged and in the loop.

 

Conferences, Vendor Days, Annual Meetings and Events. Check!

Organizing a big event takes creativity, organization, attention to detail… and then you have to market it and make sure your audience has all the pertinent details. If you’re a frequent attendee, you know how helpful a good event site can be. The West Virginia University Law Library built a guide for the SEAALL Annual Meeting. It features side-navigation tabs that share information about

  • Registration
  • The Schedule
  • Accommodations
  • Networking activities and more.

The best part? Since they also have LibWizard, if they wanted to get feedback, they could add a survey to the guide and ask attendees to fill it out after the event.

Publicize a Contest.

Bulletin boards are great… if you’re looking for a drummer. But if you need to share more information, you should head to LibGuides. The B.D. Owens Library at Northwest Missouri State University is asking for submissions of a paper or project for their Undergraduate Library Research Awards. They have conveyed the deadline, listed the prizes, shared the date and time for the ceremony. Plus, they utilized the tabs to define the eligibility, the criteria and even have a section noting previous winners. LibGuides is designed with promotion in mind. During the publication stage, they can share this guide via Twitter and Facebook. Plus, friendly URLs are great for sharing the link. When you want to get the word out — but there are definitely more than two words, (i.e. “roommate needed!”) we’ve got you covered.

Foster A Sense of Community with a Book Club.

Libraries are using the Blogging feature in LibGuides to announce exciting additions to the collection, to introduce a new member of the team, to share a new service being offered, and — in the case of Boston Children’s Hospital — to post information about their Book Group. People can subscribe to the blog. They can view recent posts and even check out the archive. Engagement is encouraged with integrated commenting. Behind the scenes, the bloggers can manage subscribers, create a blog widget and, to really up the broadcast game, they can easily share a published blog on social media.

Possible Future Projects

If you want to nurture your creativity in 2019, we’re here to encourage more limitless thinking. We’ve got excellent videos on-hand for you to peruse and new live sessions to keep you discovering (sign-up to get Training email alerts!).

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 – if 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’ve seen our fair share of excellent LibGuides. This blog post details the guides you should have and ones you didn’t 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.

 

Planned Server Maintenance: December 26, 2018

Server maintenance is planned for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal in all regions on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, which may cause brief downtime (no more than 15 minutes in the worst case) for a subset of our customers.

There are no changes or actions required on your side, by anyone, for any product. So you don’t have to lift a finger! This is simply a notification of the expected downtime while we update our servers. We will remind you again (via a message when you log into your system) as we approach the maintenance date.

This work is necessary to strengthen our load balancing infrastructure for all of our customers. As a reminder, we use load balancing so that any sites attempting to connect to a disrupted server automatically move to a healthy server while we replace the disrupted server. A minority of customers, however, opted to be tied to a single server due to the nature of the setup of their custom domain. Those customers will also be load balanced upon completion of this update. (If this does not sound familiar to you, you are likely not part of that minority of customers.)

We chose Wednesday, December 26, 2018 for this maintenance / brief downtime based on usage logs, which show this is one of the lowest usage periods in the entire year. We will further mitigate any disruptions by performing this server work either early in the morning or late at night in each server region’s time zone.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Building LibGuides for Current Events

In our most recent newsletter, we talked about creating #TrendingNow content. To summarize, the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, project, or task.

Context is key. And contextual learning leads to long-term learning.

That same concept applies when you connect learning resources with #TrendingNow current events.

Patrons are far more likely to deep-dive into a topic when the subject matter is topical, trending, and “hot right now”.

 

U.S. Mid-Term Elections Are Six Days Away!

The U.S. mid-term elections are only six days away! The news cycle is 24/7 continuous coverage on this hot-button event. What better way to position the library as a leader in information-sharing that creating a topical LibGuide on the Mid-Term Elections.

  • Think Local – Share local, district, state-level races as well as ballot proposal questions.
  • Distill Information – Share ways to register to vote, how to find your local polling place, and suggestions for best times to visit the polls.
  • Inform – There are a lot of fake news resources choking people’s inbox, their social feed… and their brains. Use your Elections / Voting LibGuide to break myths, communicate accurate information, and explain how to be an informed citizen.

 

Pikes Peak Library District – Voting & Elections LibGuide

Stevens Institute of Technology – Vote New Jersey LibGuide

What Other Kinds of Guides Can I Make?

#TrendingNow content doesn’t just have to be about the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, hurricane season is upon us and North America is seeing an uptick in the severity and frequency of hurricanes. Other areas have natural disasters to contend with too, like earthquakes, blizzards, and more.

If you’re in an area with hurricanes or other natural disasters, a Disaster Preparedness LibGuide is an effective way to communicate important information.

To illustrate, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the largest library system in Louisiana covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. EBRPL services a large community with nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and an annual circulation of 2.5million items. EBPL has 160+ active LibGuides and they receive roughly 150,000 hits to those guides annually. In 2016, their LibGuides were instrumental in providing resources for a struggling community. From their Disaster Assistance LibGuide to Coping with Traumatic Events LibGuide – these resources were invaluable to citizens. Watch EBPRL Librarian Andrew Tadman present at our 2016 virtual SpringyCamp conference on how their InfoGuides helped citizens during these trying times.

As Andrew stated,

“During the 2016 flood, information was coming out over social media from different news outlets, kind of all over the place. And sometimes, it was contradictory information. So, we knew immediately we had to get a guide setup to create a one-stop resource of curated information. We didn’t want to overwhelm people by just putting every link possible that we could find out there. So we just to focus it on just what people need right now, what’s the most important things. There was lots of gossip and rumor about what you’re supposed to do, where you’re supposed to go, what you’re not supposed to do, including bad information about shelters, and incorrect information on documenting damage for FEMA. Additionally, information from the official city offices wasn’t getting out quickly enough. And that’s where the speed of LibGuides came in. We were able to get information up quickly, link to it on our library website, share it on social media, and disperse it. The mobile-accessibility was important to be able to access this information.”

Arizona State University – Hurricane Florence LibGuide

Add #TrendingNow Tag

Whatever LibGuide you decide to build, whether it’s on a patron’s chance of winning the 2018 $1.5billion combined lottery or on how the European Union’s Parliament works with Angela Merkel’s recent retirement announcement, add a #TrendingNow tag to your LibGuide.

Big thanks to Sally Stieglitz from Adelphi University for this idea! Sally’s created awesome LibGuides on #ThanksForTyping: Women’s Invisible Labor in Academia and Publishing, Fake News and Alternative Facts, and the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter.

#TrendingNow guides can have a short shelf life, so use tags to organize them. Then, when they’re considered ‘old news’ simply remove the tag or consider unpublishing them to keep your guide list manageable.

To advertise your #TrendingNow content, create a widget connected to your #TrendingNow tag, embed that widget on your homepage, and voila – you’re creating a quick & easy shortcut for patrons to view your #TrendingNow content. Every guide you build or take down will auto-update that widget.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Essential LibGuides and Ones You Didn’t Know You Needed

LibGuides icon

For Academic libraries, this time of year is exciting as the physical and virtual campuses are brimming with students and faculty. Your Library Orientations are in full swing. Your Social Media efforts are kicked into high gear as you promote your services. You’ve got to remind everyone that you’re there! As you do this, it’s a good time to have a look at your LibGuides.

If you’ve had LibGuides for a while now, it’s highly likely you have the essential guides built and they’re ready for your users. But there’s a chance that even your library could add some guides to your “to-build” list when you see what some other institutions are showcasing.

What Are Some Essential LibGuides?

Springshare has a bird’s eye view of the guides that exist in the community and we have consistently seen some staple topics.

It’s always a great idea to have guides addressing:

 

As you see these topics, they probably make absolute sense to you. If you are new to LibGuides, remember we have free training and free support, if you have questions. Plus, you have access to the LibGuides community where you can see examples of such guides.

Put Your Best Guide Forward.

If you have these guides already built, why not check the stats on them? It’s a great way to keep the guides fresh and exciting. What should you be looking for?

  • Which guides are most popular? Perhaps your patrons like the way it flows/looks. Make future guides with this in mind.
  • During which time of year are they visiting the guides? Maybe the timing coincides with orientation, exams, large projects or your instruction sessions with classes.
  • Are there books or links or any content that show a lot of clicks? Perhaps they’re being recommended or they have good descriptions, etc.
  • Are there content items that have little or no clicks? Could these benefit from different placement on the page or better descriptions? Or, maybe it’s a good idea to replace them with new items that you have because people aren’t interested in them.

It’s a perfect time of year for refreshing your LibGuides with new resources you may have acquired since you first built them or to hone what’s there based on what you glean from the historical data.

Must-Have Guides That May Surprise You.

So what kind of content is out there that you may not have thought to make, yet? Here are some examples that might inspire you and your team.

You can build guides focused on serving specific subsets like International Students or Graduate Students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many libraries are creating LibGuides for Professional Development on topics like integrating intersectionality into library instruction and programming or on how to make PowerPoint presentions more captivating.

Focusing on faculty, there are guides on keeping your research current and on boosting your scholarly impact. Another excellent idea for internal purposes is to use LibGuides to provide a place to recognize each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re building LibGuides for your students, think about specific resources that are available to them like the Student Learning Center or Archives and Special Collections and let LibGuides be the vehicle you use to introduce them to what they can find there.

 

 

Finally, put yourself in their shoes. What are the skills they’re trying to advance? What are the challenges they’re gearing up to face? Check out these examples on using images and prepping for exams. You can build LibGuides on any subject. Be creative, devise a way for your students and faculty to submit suggestions or requests — and have fun!

Gearing Up for Fall with Additions to LibGuides

LibGuides UpdateSummer is winding down here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we know lots of folks are getting ready for back-to-school. We’ve been getting ready, too! In addition to some back-end performance improvements for LibGuides, we area also pleased to tell you that we have a few features and fixes to report for our August release. This code release has already gone out to all regions, so all of the things below are ready and waiting.

Blog Tune-Up

We’ve made a few changes to blogs inside LibGuides! Whether you use the System Blog or you have blog pages added to your guides, you’ll notice:
  • The addition of an anchor link for every post that will jump you down to the comments section
  • On the edit side, the addition of each post’s public URL near the title, for easy copying-and-pasting.
  • Blog post authors will receive an email each time a comment is left (unless they’re the commenter!)
  • A larger compose area when writing a blog post, as well as a rearrangement of some of the elements on the compose screen for better usability.
  • Images within blog posts are now automatically constrained within the post’s container, and book covers have the same CSS selectors as they do when added to a regular guide page.

Get Secure with HTTPS

We’ve been writing a lot lately about HTTPS and security. If you haven’t changed your LibGuides site to require all traffic to go over the secure HTTPS protocol, now’s a great time! We recently made a security change for blogs which also applies to Discussion Boards, if you’re a LibGuides CMS subscriber. All pages that accept user input (like blogs with comments, and like discussion board threads) are now required to be secure.

To require your site to be secure, log into LibApps and go to Admin > Domains & Certificates > click the padlock icon for your site > Force HTTPS > click the Required button. Before you do, you’ll want to review your content and make sure that all your media/widgets, images, and other embedded content are changed to https, if it’s supported. This FAQ will tell you more about what to do.

Getting Right to SSO

It’s now possible to take users directly to your SSO login form, if you would like the public side of your site to be protected by this additional security. If you have set up a site-wide LibAuth rule to restrict the viewing of the public side of your site AND you also have one (and only one) LibAuth configuration set up, users will be taken directly to the SSO login page, rather than to the LibApps login page. Read more about restricting access to your site with LibAuth.

Updated LibAuth Code

Speaking of LibAuth, we have completely rewritten the back-end in order to make it faster, more extensible, and easier to add features to. Have a wishlist item for authenticating your users inside Springy products? Drop us a line!

Small Fixes and Features

As they used to say on TV, “But wait, there’s more!” We have a few additional updates to share:
  • Accessibility: The A-Z list no longer contains duplicate IDs when databases appear in the main list and the sidebar.
  • When an account is created, the name of the person who created the account is included in the Welcome email sent to the new account holder.
  • You can now export all Database and non-Database assets using the Export All button, regardless of how many assets you have in your system.
  • You can now export your LTI Instances using the Export All button–even if there are thousands of them!
  • You can identify media/widget asset code more accurately when using the filters on Content > Assets.
  • Protecting a site, guide, group, or any combination of those works correctly in LibAuth now, even when you’re using a guide as your custom system homepage.
  • The Domains & Certificates table appears appropriately when using IE11. (Please keep your browsers up-to-date for functionality and security reasons! 🙂 )