Archive for LibGuides CMS

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! 🙂 )

LibGuides Courseware Integration with Desire2Learn, Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle and more!

In 2016, 6,359,121 students took at least one online class (Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, Babson Survey Research Group).

This figure represents 31.6% of all higher education enrollments and has increased 17.2% since 2012.

All signs indicate that this figure will continue to grow – more and more students will be taking online courses.

Does the library have a presence in your courseware tool?

From SnapChat to Email… from Instagram to student portals… your students have a lot of web resources that they access. They are so inundated with text-messages, emails, announcements, snaps, instas, and posts that they’ve streamlined the websites they access to only the most important, the most relevant, to get their work done. And if they’re taking an online course, their course portal page is probably at the top of a very short list.

If your library doesn’t have a native presence right inside their course pages… do you think they’ll visit the library website externally to get their assignments done? If you’re lucky, then yes! …but most students seek the path of least resistance. The easiest, most ‘Google-like’ resources to get their assignment done.

If you want to put the library front and center, both in their mind’s eye and in front of their literal eyeballs, then having a presence right inside their course pages is the way to go. It’s a win-win for everyone! Promote course-specific resources natively inside their course pages. Students see easy-to-access library resources right when and where they need them the most, and you get to boost your usage stats by embedding the library right at point of need.

Not Just for ‘Online-Only’ Students

More than just ‘online-only’ students are accessing a courseware tool, like Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, Desire2Learn, or Canvas. More often than not, they’re accessing them as part of a hybrid class (half virtual/half face-to-face) or even as a supplemental tool in face-to-face classes for professors to share resources and receive assignment submissions.

All their course-specific resources are right inside their courseware tool. From assignments, syllabi, discussion boards for online discussions, even the ability to ask their professor a question and upload their assignments. Everything they need is right there. Is your library right there, too?

The Library at Their Fingertips, Literally

The LTI Tool Builder allows you to embed your LibGuides content natively inside courseware, so students can easily find your content right inside their Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Canvas, or Sakai course.

LibGuides CMS customers can embed Guides, Database Assets, and E-Reserves Courses (if they subscribe to the E-Reserves module).

LibGuides customers who also subscribe to the E-Reserves module can embed E-Reserves Courses.

There are two ways to integrate content:

1. Manual Method

The Manual LTI method allows you to embed Guide content, Database A-Z links, and/or E-Reserves Courses (with E-Reserves Subscription) right into a Course. You’ll have various customization options along with the ability to embed an entire LibGuide, a page within a Guide, or even a single box (great for embedding a discovery layer search box or a LibChat widget!).

The Manual LTI Method, is well, manual. So you’ll have to navigate to each course and choose which Guide content you want to display.

2. Automagic Method

The Automagic method is nothing short of magical. Once the Automagic tool and your courseware platform have ‘shaken hands’, your Springshare content automagically displays in each course. Exactly what displays for each course depends upon the metadata you’ve added to your LibGuides site (in order to match courses to guides, etc.) & the customization options you’ve selected in LibApps. So the content that displays inside the course pages is controlled by you, right from your LibGuides CMS system.

Plus, the Automagic method allows you to share much more than just Guide content! You’ll have the option to create an entire Library Resources page right inside your Courseware tool and embed a variety of Springshare resources:

  1. Guide content
  2. Subject-specific A-Z Databases & Subject Expert Profiles
  3. E-Reserves Courses (E-Reserves Subscription required)
  4. Ask-a-Librarian LibChat Widget (LibAnswers subscription required)
  5. FAQ Search Box (LibAnswers subscription required)
  6. Book a Study Room / Request one-on-one Librarian Appointments (LibCal subscription required)

The best part of the Automagic tool is that it’s scalable. Work with your courseware administrators to embed it right into the course shell(s) and then control what displays for each individual course right from your LibGuides CMS system via metadata. Each time the course shell is copied for a new course, your Library Resources page is automatically created and updated to reflect the new course information via the metadata.

The Automagic tool has a few options, so be sure to spend time on the LTI Automagic page inside LibApps. Choose from either the Stepped Search or the Translation Table. Customize your Library Landing Page and be sure to Preview it to see how it will look in your LMS.

Working with a specific courseware tool? We have some FAQs to help!

Who’s Using the LTI Tool?

If you’re looking for examples of Libraries using the Automagic LTI Tool, we’ve got em! Learn how Penn State University embedded the Library into over 30,000 online courses each semester. They’ve even written about this project in the July 2018 issue of Library Technology Reports (Vol. 54 Iss.5).

Marymount University Librarians recently presented at the July 25 SpringyCamp (Springshare’s Virtual User Conference) on how they used the LibGuides CMS LTI Tool to increase student usage, foster collaboration, and support online programs.

Need Help?

Springshare always has your back – which is why we’ve setup a custom group of FAQs to address all your LTI (both Manual and Automatic) questions.

Plus, we have recordings available of our online training sessions. So be sure to watch, and rewatch if needed, to see the LTI tool in action.

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.

Mid-year LibGuides Updates are Coming Your Way!

LibGuides UpdateWe have been working hard at Springy HQ to bring you some exciting LibGuides updates and improvements. This month we’ve worked quite a lot on the back end (and are working on a complete rewrite of LibAuth!) to make various pieces of LibGuides work faster and more smoothly, as well as these features and fixes. This code update will be released to all regions by the end of this week. If you don’t see them yet, it means we haven’t updated your region’s servers yet. 🙂

Security & Privacy Updates

reCAPTCHA on the password reset page – Forgot your password? No problem! Now when you need to reset your password, you’ll see that familiar “I am not a robot” checkbox that you’ve probably seen in lots of other places. This added layer of protection will prevent bots from successfully submitting this request.

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Updated New Account page – Now when you create a new LibGuides account, you’ll be taken to a page dedicated to this process, rather than seeing the information in a small pop-up box. This additional real estate lets us display our privacy information, so that you be advised how we use cookies and the IP address of the new account holder. For more information on how we utilize these, read our privacy policy.

Code check for Media/Widget assets

Have you ever pasted some code into a widget asset and gotten some really unexpected results? Sometimes code copied from another site contains incomplete HTML or is missing a closing tag or two. Never fear! We’ve implemented a check when saving new widget code. If you happen to write or paste HTML code that is missing a tag or that contains tags that will mess up your guide, we’ll warn you!

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Smaller fixes and features

  • We updated our back-end processing for importing information from Serials Solutions.
  • We fixed a bug that prevented database description popovers from closing after a database opened in a new tab.
  • We fixed a bug preventing the yearly guide stats from updating on the system homepage.
  • We fixed an error preventing people from subscribing to a blog from a secondary site domain.
  • All new LibCal, LibGuides, and LibAnswers app installations will be set to require HTTPS.
  • We fixed an issue with the character counter for guide custom JS/CSS code.
  • When you publish a previously-saved draft blog post, the page now refreshes properly.
  • We fixed an issue that caused the assets data table to break if you assigned dozens of subjects to an asset.
  • We removed outdated export buttons from the Content > Guides page. Use the Export All features to export this information.