We’ve been hard at work on the next generation of LibChat, and we’re thrilled to report that part 1 – our major under-the-hood rewrite – is now live! This update is all about improving the general back-end performance of LibChat, so you may not “see” much new stuff at first – we’re saving the major widget improvements and additional updates for later this summer. Here are the changes we’re rolling out now:
- We’ve rewritten the core of LibChat from the inside out – But don’t worry, any existing widgets will still work as they always have.
- Online/Offline behavior is now directly tied to the chat window – We know, it happens. Now, if you close the chat operator window without clicking “GO OFFLINE”, no worries – your status will remain accurate.
- New “pop out” option in all patron chat widgets – Now all chats can be floated on top of the existing window instead of being embedded inside. If your patron navigates away from the current page, no sweat!
- New help text in chat widgets – we’ve added a helpful “press enter to send” message to the public chat widgets
- Terminate Operator Session (Admins Only) – We’ve all been there – anxious to leave at the end of the day, you forget to close your browser window; when you get home, you realize your chat service still appears available. No worries – head to Admin Stuff > LibChat > Who’s Online and click Terminate Session – this remotely closes your browser window.
- Please use this feature with care, as it will end any existing patron chats when the chat window closes.
As a result of this update, several commonly-reported bugs have been eradicated, including:
- New patron chats won’t “flicker” in the operator pane
- You’ll no longer see chat duplication in the operator pane
Stay tuned for part 2 of the LibChat update later this summer – we’ll be revamping the widget builder and adding all manner of new features!
Spring is in the air, and we’ve got tons of new features to share! This latest LibGuides mini-update is a prelude to the larger style refresh happening this summer. But don’t let the “mini” fool you – this update is only mini in relation to what comes next! Read on to learn all about the new stuff.
Shiny New Stuff
- Table of Contents box type – Are your patrons overlooking the tabs in your guides? Now it’s super easy to create alternate guide navigation menus. Our newest box type automatically displays a list of all the pages in a guide. The menu works in both desktop and mobile view – and better yet, it self-updates every time you add/delete/reorder/rename a page!
- Select System Content Box -> Guide Table of Contents to try it out, or check out the help guide.
- All Links Report – Tired of creating link hit reports one link at a time? Us too! We’ve added a new “All Links” report to help make pulling reports on your links a little easier.
- Head to Statistics -> Links; click All Links (top left corner) to check out the new report.
- Guide Metadata (CMS Only) – We’ve expanded the Guide Metadata functionality! Check our our help documentation for the full explanation; in a nutshell, now you can:
- Add custom metadata tags & add them to the source code of your public guides (great for improving webcrawler search rankings).
- Use metadata tags for internal notes. Tag guides based on any criteria you choose, then use the new Metadata filter on the Guide Index to limit the list to just those guides.
- Summon Discipline Integration (Summon Clients only) – Improve the relevancy of “Suggested LibGuides” returned in discipline scoped searches! Head to Edit Guide Info -> Subject Categories to assign specific disciplines to each of your guides.
- Guide Index Updates - Clicking the headers in the Guide Index will now sort the list both forwards AND backwards.
- RSS & Podcast Feeds – We’ve condensed these 2 boxes into one “RSS” box type – cause why have two boxes when one will do?!
- Feedback Box Improvements - We’ve increased the character limit in the email address fields – now you can add more email addresses to receive notifications of new submissions. Click Feedback Box Options to edit the list.
- New Language Support – We’ve added native support for both Serbian and Chinese.
- Increased Password Security – We’re requiring stronger passwords to help keep your account secure.
- Removed “Change Box Type” - This feature caused lots of confusion, so we removed it.
- Bug fixes:
- Sub-page friendly URLs will now appear in the address bar
- Nested friendly URLs no longer break popup windows (such as the “More Information” popups)
Hey, My Admin Pages Look Different – Where’s My Banner?
When you log in to LibGuides after this update, you’ll notice your site’s banner and footer aren’t showing. Here’s why: we regularly receive questions and problem reports from clients asking why particular admin pages and editing functions don’t work, and the culprit always boils down to one thing – a conflict between a site’s custom code and our admin screens. To help alleviate these issues and the frustration they cause, we’re no longer displaying Custom JS/CSS, Header & Footer Code on the admin side of your system. Now, your system functions will always work regardless of the level of customization in your system.
Your patrons won’t notice anything different. The public side of your site remains unchanged, and your guides will look the same in edit mode. Admins who still want to see a banner image on admin pages can head to Admin Stuff -> Look and Feel -> Admin Banner to define a new banner image just for the admin side. This change only impacts admin pages like the Dashboard, Stats pages, System Settings, Look & Feel, etc.
Admin Bonus Round: Have you ever forgotten to close a style tag in your site-wide Custom JS/CSS? C’mon, admit it, you have, and is that blank white page scary or what?! Thanks to this change, forgetting to close a tag won’t lock you out of the site editing functions – pretty cool!
Unlike our last post, this post is no joke! We’re really excited to announce a big new LibCal feature – the Hours module is here! We’ve fielded lots of questions from LibCal users on customizing the calendar display to show open hours for libraries and library departments. We decided to create a new module in LibCal just for this purpose – hence, the Hours module was born!
Here’s a quick overview of the new features – for detailed instructions, check out the new help guide on Using LibCal Hours:
- Hours Templates – Simplify the process of displaying library hours – create templates for different libraries, services, branches, and time periods (like Semester Hours, Holiday Hours, etc.).
- Open Past Midnight? – No problem! The Hours Module handles any and all time spans with ease.
- Manages Multiple Locations & Services – Our new tools help you set up and manage multiple locations and departments.*
- Widgets & APIs – This is where the magic happens! We’ve created a bevy of new Widget and API options to help display your library hours anywhere, including:
- Today’s Hours – Live in the now! Display today’s hours with a simple API call.
- Weekly Grid View – Show hours for multiple libraries and locations in one beautiful display.
- Monthly Calendar View – Display a full month’s hours on one screen.
- Weekly/Monthly View – One calendar to rule them all. Combine the weekly and monthly views in one widget, and include location and directional info too! Here’s a screenshot:
Ready for a better way to manage your library hours? Head to Admin Stuff -> Hours to get started! For more help with setting up this new feature, head to our help guide. And as always, thanks a million for your ideas and feedback!
*Sites on any of our paid pricing tiers have access to unlimited libraries and departments; 3-for-free sites can manage hours for a single library.
The next major innovation from your friends at Springshare is here! We’re moving into the physical realm and introducing LibStapler – the stapler that not only staples, but provides all the great features, statistics, and support you expect from a Springshare product.
Here’s a quick taste of what LibStapler has to offer:
- SMS Alerts – Whether its low staple alerts, breakdown notices, or just to say “Hi!”, LibStapler updates you in real time via SMS.
- Advanced Diagnostics – Breakdown got you down? Our advanced diagnostics will tell you exactly where that rogue staple is jammed, and the ideal extraction method.
- Beautiful Statistics - Get up-to-the-minute reports on staple usage, total stapler uptime, unique users stapling, etc.
- Built in Video Monitoring – Catch that person trying to staple 20 pages in the act! Plus, our proprietary facial recognition software identifies repeat offenders in advance, stopping problem behaviors before the start.
And if that’s not enough, we’re proud to offer a number of optional add-on modules:
- Card Swipe Integration – make sure every last staple is paid for.
- RFID – get rid of annoying chains and strings with integrated RFID and hand-held geolocators.
- Keypad – ensure responsible staple users thanks to full LDAP integration.
For ordering information and client testimonials, check out
We have a belated Valentine’s Day present heading your way (we didn’t forget, we promise!) in the form of a LibAnswers update! Read on to learn about all the new features.
Notes associated with individual questions got an upgrade:
- Multiple Notes - Add multiple notes to questions to track the internal history of a question. Notes are now Rich-Text optimized, so feel free to add links, lists, and even tag questions for later follow-up as a searchable way to retrieve past questions.
- Share Notes outside LibAnswers - Ever felt the need to consult on an answer with someone outside of your LibAnswers system? You can now email new notes to users outside your system – and best of all, replies to your notes are automatically added as a new note on that question.
SMS Threading & Updates
We’re making it easier to keep track of discrete SMS interactions with:
- Better “Previous Messages” Views - We’ve improved the info on the ‘View Previous Messages’ link so you’ll get a more complete picture of the full SMS conversation.
- Edit SMS Transaction & Threads - By default, the system defines an SMS “thread” as all questions & replies from one user in a 24 hour period. If new replies are part of an older original thread, move the new conversation to the old thread.
- SMS Notifications to multiple numbers - We’ve added more notification options to let you know when new questions come in to your system. Head to Admin Stuff > System Settings > SMS Notification Number and add multiple numbers separated with a space.
Secure / HTTPS module
We now offer HTTPS support in LibAnswers – both for full sites, and for widgets and APIs.
- If you’re loading LibAnswers content or embedding LibAnswers widgets into a separate https site (Blackboard / Moodle / Desire2Learn / etc…), our new HTTPS support will avoid those pesky ‘unsecured content’ error messages. Email us at email@example.com to set it up!
- New API Security Features - We’re adding new options for security-conscious sites to help keep API data secure. You can:
- Turn off the API entirely
- Add IP restrictions so only certain users can generate API calls
- Force API calls to load over HTTPS
Please note – HTTPS support is currently available for sites on a *.libanswers.com domain. We’re still investigating HTTPS support for sites with custom domains.
Admins, head to Admin Stuff > Metadata > Keywords Tab to see these new features:
- Keyword Admin Screen - View all the keywords in your system and view questions assigned to a keyword. Need to add/edit keywords? You got it!
- View Questions Without Keywords - View the questions that aren’t assigned any keywords and add them with one click.
- Blocking Options for Email & SMS - Has your system received a spam email or SMS message? Then SPAM it! You’ll find a new ‘Spam’ icon in your Unanswered Queue. Click to report suspicious spammy emails and we’ll rollout a red-carpet SmackDown!
- Improved Notifications in LibChat - We’ve upgraded the LibAnswers notifications on the LibChat screen:
- Replies to existing questions will display
- Preview new questions
- Want to answer the question? Just click it to claim it you’ll go straight to the answering page
- New System Backup API - Grab a full feed of your public knowledge base!
We noticed a great exchange happening right now in the Springshare Lounge – it’s the type of conversation that reminds us of the power found in the collective knowledge of the Springy Community. The discussion kicked off as a request for information on adding LibChat widgets to library databases. The librarian hive mind didn’t disappoint (no surprise there, it never does!), and strategies for embedding widgets in several major library databases have already been outlined.
Catch up on the conversation:
We get excited when we see discussions like this take off – particularly on topics like embedding content in library databases, to which we don’t have direct access. We love seeing your ideas and questions creating such fruitful conversations – High-five, Springy Community!
Winter breaks and holiday closures are just around the corner. Here are some cool tips and tricks from the Springy Elves to help get the word out on holiday changes to your library hours.
- Change your System Tagline – You’ve got 140 characters to communicate info on holiday closures. Instructions
- Create a custom “Closed” Banner – Sometimes words just aren’t enough – hang up the “closed” sign! Instructions
- Remind Staff via Admin Alert Box – Even elves need the occasional reminder that your site is going on break. Instructions
- Set an “Away” Success Message – Questions submitted via the question form can trigger a “hey, we’re away!” alert. Instructions
- Dont forget the SMS Auto-Responders – Make sure to let folks submitting questions via SMS know you’re away. Instructions
- Hide the question submission form – Allow patrons to search for questions, but prevent them from submitting new questions until you’ve returned from break. Here’s how
- We have a slew of suggestions on things to keep an eye on in your LibCal site.
We hope these suggestions and ideas help make it that much easier for you to relax this holiday season. Happy holidays from all of us at Springshare!
Good Morning Springyland – we’ve rolled out a LibAnswers and LibChat update! This time around we’re focusing on some of your most requested features – here’s the highlights reel:
- File Transfers - Patrons and Librarians can now share files via chat, all with the click of a button.*
- Operator-to-Operator Chat - We’ve made it easy to chat with other online LibChat operators. Just click on another operator’s name, and you’ll initiate a private, back-end chat.
- Transcript Download and Email - It’s here! Head to the Transcripts management area, and you’ll be able to download transcripts. We’ve also added an easy email option for individual transcripts, making it easy to share interesting chat logs with your colleagues.
- Was this Helpful? Voting – We’ve added a super simple way to generate patron feedback on the helpfulness of answers in your public knowledgebase.
- User File Uploads - Patrons can now submit files along with the questions they submit; uploads are fully supported in the question form as well as via emailed submissions.*
- New API Options: We’ve added a host of new APIs, making it even easier to embed your LibAnswers content in other sources. Head to the widgets and API area to find these new options:
- Full Question API – use this to grab the full question and answer content for any public question.
- Search API – Send a search query to your LibAnswers system and get a list of results back – great for building your own search box and displaying results in the same page!
- Query Spy Updates: we’ve added some excellent features to the fount of knowledge that is Query Spy:
- One-click IP lookups – you’ll find IP addresses listed in your Query Spy results – click them for a quick view on patron’s location info.
- Internal/External IP reporting – Admins: head to System Settings and define your internal IP range, so Query Spy reports can reflect searches coming from inside / outside your IP range.
- New Filters available to narrow in on query source and questions users selected.
- Query Re-run – want to see the search results your users saw? Hit the spyglass to view their search results.
- Most Popular Queries – find the most popular search terms used to search your system! Head to Query Spy > View Statistics and scroll down to view the new “Popular Words” report.
- Question Form Updates: We’ve added a host of new options to your system’s question form. Admins, head to Admin Stuff > Question Form to enable these options.
- Receive Response via SMS – Patrons in a hurry can now submit a question with the system question form, but choose to receive an answer via SMS.
- A Third Free-Text Field is now available for more in-depth data collection.
- Character Limit for Question/Details has been upped to 64,000 characters, making it easier to capture all the information a patron might submit.
- New Queues: We’ve added new queues to help you keep track of bounced emails (ie emails not received by patrons) and spam messages (questions submitted to your system marked as spam).
As always, we’re sending out a million thanks to our user community for sharing these fantastic feature ideas – you guys are the best!
* Note: File upload and transfers are limited to 5MB; files are stored for 1 week, then deleted due to privacy concerns.
The LibCal Update is now live! Check out our previous post or the video walkthrough for an overview of all the Calendar changes we’ve implemented. In addition to the major Calendars overhaul, we’ve added several frequently requested features:
Keep Track of Patrons with Room Bookings
We’ve added new tools to the Room Bookings area to help you keep track of the users that book rooms in your system! There’s a new checkbox option to help track whether users show up for their booked appointments. We’ve also added a “Notes” field to Room Bookings, making it easier to add internal notes about a booking.
Visibility Status for Individual Rooms
Do you sometimes need to take an individual room temporarily offline? Maybe the room is down for maintenance, or needed by staff members. Whatever the reason, we’ve added a way to hide individual rooms in a group from the public display, so you can toggle their visibility! Head to the edit room screen to see the new option.
Thanks for your feedback!
Sandy be darned! A hurricane can’t slow us down – the LibGuides Update is now live! We’ve got a bunch of exciting features to share.
Friendly URLs are a whole lot friendlier!
We’ve expanded the Friendly URL functionality throughout LibGuides! It’s now super easy to assign a friendly URL to most static pages within LibGuides, including:
- Individual Pages in a guide
- Subject Category Pages
- User Profile Pages
- Group Homepages
Even better, the new Friendly URLs support the character “/”. Why’s that important? Let’s say you have a guide (or group) with a Friendly URL of “hurricane”; if you then create a page (or guide) on Sandy, you can give it a Friendly URL of “hurricane/sandy” – in other words, nested friendly URLs!
New RSS Processing
We’ve heard from some folks that, with certain feeds, the RSS feed box sometimes returned wonky results, displaying seemingly random feed items. We heard those concerns, so we’ve completely changed the way we process RSS feeds. We’ve implemented a new processing method - it’s more reliable, efficient, and a whole lot less problematic.
E-Reserves now available for LibGuides clients
LibGuides clients can now enjoy the awesomeness of E-Reserves, without needing the full update to LG CMS! Check out
for a walkthrough of this module – and when you’re ready, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
Discussion Board Upgrade
Discussion Boards (available in LibGuides CMS) got a huge reboot! We’ve incorporated several of the most popular feature requests, including:
- Guide Owners will now receive an update each time a new Discussion Board post is added
- Discussion Boards now support HTML – add images, style, etc. in your post text!
- Diacritics are now fully supported – no more weird &*(@! display!
Google Content Boxes + Proxy Prefix = @mylibrary results
Does your library use a proxy resolver that relies on the prefix method? You’re going to love our update for the Google Scholar search box. Head to System Settings -> Link Options, and you’ll find a new option to include this prefix for Google Scholar results – making it way easier for patrons to grab search results that are specific to your library’s holdings!
As always, thanks to everyone who contributed the ideas and feedback that led to this update!