This month we are happy to report that the LibGuides / CampusGuides community has surpassed two million unique visitors in a month for the first time! Combine that with our highest ever monthly page-view total, and its easy to see our community is growing faster than ever!
|Unique Visitors:||2.10 million|
|Page Views:||57 million|
Just as the librarians at Johnson & Wales University (Providence) found Springshare tools helped them earn a “Rock Star” status on campus, we’re pleased to report that another library recently earned kudos from their university community. Nova Southeastern University Libraries won 1st place in the professional category of the university’s 12th Annual Technology Fair for their creative adaptations of CampusGuides for educational technology. We spoke with librarians Carrie Gits and Courtney Mlinar to learn how CampusGuides helped foster community and knowledge-sharing across campus.
Q: Tell us more about the technology fair…
The Office of Information Technologies & Digital Media coordinates an annual Technology Fair to promote the use of technology in the workplace. They solicit entries from faculty & staff (professional, administrative, & technology). The fair traditionally has a theme (this year it was be green, work green, go green, live green) and aims to highlight technology projects and recognize initiatives across the NSU campus.
Q: Congratulations on winning first place! Why do you think you won the award?
We have discovered the possibilities with CampusGuides are endless! The judging panel loved the idea of personalizing library resources for students or classes and that an assessment piece could be tied into the guide. The versatility of the box types and page editing settings allow the authors to create the best educational tools for the user’s needs.
We also feel that staff recognized how easy the tool was to use and that it really did help the libraries become more efficient and effective in creating “green” online instructional and subject specific material.
Q: How did you describe CampusGuides to the judges – what were some of the things you highlighted?
We promoted CampusGuides as an opportunity for future collaboration and personalization (i.e., course reserves module, librarian directory profiles, and adding faculty and students as content creators for their own guides). We highlighted the product’s ease of use, that staff with a variety of tech skills can easily build, create, and edit subject and curriculum-specific guides quickly.
The Health Professions Division Library is also migrating many of their web pages into CampusGuides – library staff appreciate this as they can be in control of their department’s content and update it easily, even if they don’t have staff with lots of web development skills.
Q: What was the reaction of the judges to CampusGuides?
We were able to show examples of how each library has collaborated with faculty and other campus departments to build guides that are customizable for their classes and student needs – the attendees and judges LOVED this! The judges perceived the tool as organic and student-centered, with areas where students or faculty could make comments, give feedback and rate the resources provided on the Guides. They even inquired about creating a Guide for their specific program of study or classes.
Q: What do you think you’ve gained from this experience?
As mentioned before, we promoted CampusGuides as an opportunity for future collaboration and personalization. Thanks to this increased visibility, librarians have opened more opportunities for future collaboration and personalization with faculty and students. Plus, with our prize winnings, we are throwing a CampusGuides Authors appreciation luncheon bash!
Have you met our Community & Training team? Cause we’re excited to meet with you! This month, thanks in large part to requests from the Springshare Community, we’re excited to announce the launch of our new training program! Whether you’re just starting out with a brand-new system, or you’re a seasoned vet who wants to know more about new product features, we’ve got a session that’s right for you.
Our new training program allows you to sign up for the training you want on a day & time that works for your schedule. Schedules alternate each week, so a “LibGuides Basics” session will be offered in a morning slot the first week, and an afternoon slot the second week. Check out our guide on the training program for the full schedule, or subscribe to our training session feed to stay up to date with upcoming sessions!
Please note: If you want to see what LibGuides/CampusGuides/LibAnswers is all about (but haven’t yet subscribed to our products), we offer weekly half-hour demos that will give you a great overview of each system. Check out our Demo Schedule for this week’s offerings!
In September the LibGuides community surpassed 50 million page views for the first time. Yikes – that’s a lot of page views!
|Unique Visitors:||1.85 million|
|Page Views:||52.89 million|
Over the weekend we successfully completed another major code update (without any system downtime – kudos to our tech team!) and rolled out many new features. Watch for the full details of all new features in our upcoming October newsletter, but here is the summary:
- Mobile interface for your guides! The system auto-detects mobile devices and serves the mobile version. It’s pretty cool, check it out. Also, we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon, but watch for a super-major announcement in a few weeks – a cool new tool which lets libraries easily build mobile websites. The process will be as easy and as fun as creating guides!
- Including non-LibGuides guides in the LibGuides index. Now you can create “placeholder” guides in the system which can point to non-LibGuides pages, and display those pages alongside your LibGuides/CampusGuides content. Say you have a page which you want to make accessible/searchable from LibGuides. Now, you can place that page’s URL in your system, assign it all the standard LibGuides markup (title/description/tags/subject categories/etc.), and display it alongside your LibGuides/CampusGuides. This way your LibGuides/CampusGuides can aggregate *all* research and guide-related content at the library. The potential of this is far-reaching, to say the least!
- Unique CSS class for each box type. Now you can customize the look and feel of individual box types to your heart’s content.
- Folder support for E-Reserves (CampusGuides-only).
- More streamlined way to import your course lists into E-Reserves module (CampusGuides-only). We can help you import your course lists into our E-Reserves module simply by populating a simple Excel spreadsheet.
- Updated Asset Management screen (now includes “Books from the Catalog”) and Guide Index screen (more/better filtering options for finding guides).
- Custom Homepage Redirect – now you can assign a custom guide to act as your LibGuides/CampusGuides homepage (rather than the system default) by using the “Custom Homepage Redirect” option in your Customize Homepage screen.
- Keywords for enhanced searching/better auto-suggest matches. Now you can include up to 5 keywords with each Q&A pair. These are hidden fields (for the patron) but they will greatly enhance searching/finding answers).
- Much improved SMS Module. It now includes “Send a follow-up” option for librarian to send a follow-up message to the patron, to make sure their question has been answered. We also have new and improved SMS Statistics with detailed charts for auto-responders, keyword-responses, turnaround time, “direct messages”, and more!
- The new LibAnswers html widget. Fully customizable html widget which can be embedded into any webpage, to make searching the knowledge base available from anywhere – literally.
- The Reference Analytics module can now track up to 10 fields (up from 6) and each field can have up to 30 values (vs 25 in the old version)
- Librarians can record Analytics information right on the “answer” page, without having to be redirected to the Analytics module screens. This makes recording analytics a snap!
- Improved Statistics screens – more charts and graphs, more statistics options, and the ability to filter statistics range by day (as opposed to monthly statistics in the old version).
- You can now use the handy “Edit Answer” link on the public question/answer screen to edit/update questions (rather than searching for the question in the Admin interface).
There are many other ”small improvements and fixes” for both products, but we wanted to give you the heads-up on the most important changes in this post. The full details will follow in our Newsletter next month.
Many of these new features were developed as a direct result of your suggestions and feedback, so here’s a big THANKS to everyone who contributed ideas and helped with testing. Please let us know what you think!
We were so excited about the just-released code updates, new products, modules, etc. that we almost missed a super-cool milestone for our flagship platform. As of last week there were 100,000 guides in our LibGuides community. That is an amazing achievement by our community, and it speaks volumes about the ease of use and the popularity of our platform. In just 3 years librarians have created over 100,000 guides (as of today that number is 101,557) to share knowledge and information with their users!
Hence, a big round of applause and congrats to all librarians using LibGuides (and CampusGuides/CommunityGuides) to publish and share information. Librarians are the best information/knowledge professionals out there and, in our opinion, many of these guides represent the highest quality information found on the internet. Wikipedia, who?
Keep up the great work. Onwards and upwards to the next milestone. Dare we say 500,000? We’ll get there sooner than you think!
July and August are (we’re told) the “Dog Days” of summer – apparently for some, the heat and humidity of the season is supposed to cause stagnation and inactivity. Frankly, we think it’s a bunch of hooey – librarians are as busy as ever, and so are we! So while some folks are out there are wasting afternoons on front porches, sipping iced tea and fanning sweat from their brows, we’ve spent our “summer vacation” thinking up some really cool new features. Hold on to your wide-brimmed hats and prepare to be blown away!
To start off with a bang, we have two exciting additions to CampusGuides/CommunityGuides to annouce:
- Our Assessment Tool is ready for prime-time! You can now integrate surveys and quizzes directly into your guides – collect formal feedback from your users about your programs and services, website, guides, or… anything else you can think of – and get tallied reports on user responses right in the system! As an added bonus, any survey created in Campus/CommunityGuides can be linked anywhere outside of the system – just embed the unique survey URL and get instant feedback from your users from anywhere! Best of all, the assessment tool comes standard for all Campus/CommunityGuides systems!
- Academic Libraries will freak out about our new E-Reserves module! This optional module allows you to securely integrate reserve materials directly into your CampusGuides system, and will allow your students to access reserve materials right alongside your course and research guides. This module truly makes CampusGuides a one-stop-shop for all library-related research needs – and did we mention that the E-Reserves module costs orders of magnitude less than your current e-reserve solution? It’s true – ask us, and you’ll see for yourself!
We’ve also got quite a few upgrades and changes to the existing LibGuides/CampusGuides interface:
- Resource Icons – This new functionality integrates custom icons alongside your database/resource links (without having to hack your links with img tags). You can create a standard set of “meaningful” icons and easily deploy them across your resources. Create icons to represent trial databases, offsite/home-accessible resources, recommended resources, or any other info you want to convey to your users, and integrate them with your database links through a simple check-box!
- A-Z database import tool (for Serials Solutions clients) – We’ve added new options to the import tool – now, you can “check-all”, “uncheck-all”, and “restore defaults”. We’ve also updated the tool and made it easier to maintain any custom database descriptions you create in LibGuides – now, blank descriptions in SS won’t overwrite descriptions in LG, and you can use our new checkbox option to prevent description updates in subsequent imports.
- Librarian Profiles have seen a number of upgrades, including an improved layout to the profile page, a new “LinkedIn” field, and better CSS customization options
- The API now offers more layout control on subject links, and options to return guides sorted by popularity or publication date
- We’ve updated the Rich Text Editor to a more recent version of TinyMCE, which should fix the issue of stripped FORM tags when using IE
LibAnswers has also received a number of improvements:
- Statistics including segmentation between private and staff-entered questions, and now offer statistics on questions transferred between systems
- Export (to excel/CSV format) is available for data in the Reports Wizard / Knowledge Base Explorer
- Filtering options – the “words” filter in the “My Home” tabs now search the answer as well as the question. You’ll also see new pagination links on many administrative pages
- Email notification options – you can now send system emails via SMTP, and librarians can create unique email signatures through their LibAnswers profile. Librarians can also create an “Address Book” for storing non-account holder emails
- New LibAnswers users can login via their LibGuides account, which will automatically generate a LibAnswers account
Frankly, there are too many things to tell you about in just one blog post – so if you want more information, grab an iced beverage and check out this month’s edition of Springy News!
When we see impressive examples of the content created by librarians with LibGuides, we don’t just yell “holy smokes!”, we also share it with the world. The Gulf Oil Spill Information Center (GOSIC) site, created by the librarians at the University of South Florida (USF) is a great example of what happens when you give librarians an easy-to-use tool to publish information and share their knowledge.
This is a thrilling example of librarians using LibGuides/CampusGuides to compile and publish the highest-quality information in a format that’s fast, flexible, and dynamic. The long-term goal of the GOSIC project is to create an open-access digital library of resources pertaining to the Gulf Oil Spill, containing both “grey” information sources (data sets, maps, press releases, transcripts, videos, web content/blog posts, etc.) as well as relevant published peer-reviewed research and scientific data. USF is harnessing the power of LibGuides/CampusGuides social collaboration / Web 2.0 functionality in their efforts to compile information. There are hundreds of Gulf Oil Spill related websites out there, but few can rival the GOSIC site at USF for its breadth, depth, and the quality of information.
With a disaster of this magnitude, the success or failure of response efforts depends on the availability, quality and timeliness of information. We are proud to have created a tool which enables librarians to rapidly share their knowledge with everyone – after all, it’s librarians that deserve the rightful recognition for being the best information resources out there!
(And if you want to see other examples of guides that made us yell “holy smokes!”, check out our Best Of site at http://bestof.libguides.com. Permission to copy “Best Of” guides into your system is granted by their librarian-creators ahead of time, so help us keep the social collaboration party train rolling!)
As some of you have surely noticed by now, we released some pretty significant updates to LibGuides, LibAnswers and CampusGuides over the last weekend. These updates represent several months of work from our talented tech team, along with dozens of suggestions from our LG / LA / CG user communities! As you will see, there is a lot to review, so lets get started!
- The LibGuides text editor now allows you to toggle between rich and plain text modes without first needing to save your work. We also added a “Save Changes” button so you can save your text without closing the editor, as well as a status area that lets you know when you have pending changes that need to be saved.
- You can now change the order of sub-pages manually, so there is no longer a need to add numeric prefixes to the sub-page names in order to control the page order. When reusing a page, you can also choose to make it a top-level page or a sub-page right from the Reuse Page screen.
- When creating a new link, book, or event you can now decide if that item will open in a new window or the same window on an item-by-item basis. Any item that does not have its own custom “target” will use the default specified on the System Settings page.
- We have added a new “User Profile” content box type that will allow you to embed a LibGuides user profile box in any column, at any position, within your guide.
- Enhanced User Profile pages give you the ability to add your office hours, as well as additional custom content by creating one rich text box and one links box. You may also disable your LibGuides profile page if you would prefer to not have it be visible to the public.
- We have also added a dedicated Facebook URL field to the profiles, so that you can easily link to your Facebook profile or library’s page within your profile.
- The new Collaborator feature allows you to co-create a guide with a person who does not have their own LibGuides account. A guide Collaborator has rights to create and edit content on just a single guide in the system, allowing them to assist you with the content creation without having access to other guides or the admin areas of the system.
- When reusing links, you are now able to customize the “description” and “more information” fields, so you can tailor the link information to each specific guide.
- With the new “Links to Guides” content box type you can create a box that allows you to browse by subject/librarian, view all published guides in the system, browse by most popular guides, most recent guides, etc.
- LibGuides pages now have a visibility setting, allowing you to remove entire pages from the public view with a single click.
- All cover art from Syndetics is now retrieved at the highest possible resolution, and scaled down accordingly, to ensure the highest quality for all cover art images.
- We updated our code so that Google Analytics will pick up link hits in Links & Lists and Simple Web Links boxes! All you need to do is add the Google Analytics tracking code in the Custom <HEAD> Code box on the System-wide Settings page. Your link hits will then show up in the “Content” report in the GA console.
- You can now search for content within a Private Guide, assuming you are already on that guide and use the “This Guide” option in the search drop-down menu. We also added a “view homepage” link to each of the results on the search results screen, so you can easily jump to any guide homepage right from the search results.
- LibAnswers now supports SMS/Texting through our new SMS reference module! Best of all, this new module will be FREE for the first year, with rock bottom prices afterwards. It is really, really affordable (There is a 1-time start up cost, but other than that it’s totally free for the first year). No cellphone required!
- The LibAnswers Homepage is now much more customizable. You can control the page layout (1 or 2 columns), column width, and use new box types.
- Previously, when you marked a question as “private”, it was deleted from the system as soon as you answered it. Now, they are kept in the system separate from public answers. There is also a new system-wide option to set all questions as private by default.
- The Manage Topics screen has been redesigned to allow you to see the number of questions under each topic and edit the questions directly from that screen. When you create a new topic on the Answer screen, that question is automatically assigned to that new topic.
- You can now send an update email to the person who asked a question by simply clicking a check box when updating a question in LibAnswers.
- When you delete users, you must first reassign all of their answers. Until now, you had to contact us to do that…but now it’s built into the process!
- In the Unanswered/Answered/Private tabs, you will notice many filtering options for the list of questions. You can filter by status, by answerer, by date, topic, etc. to help you find the questions you are looking for.
- You can now transfer unanswered questions between LibAnswers systems, allowing for even more collaboration between libraries and branches.
- Admins are now able to customize the default text of the “Ask Us” box.
- When emailing a user in your system about an unanswered/unclaimed question, you can now assign it to that user. Admins can now unclaim any unanswered question in the system – no matter who’s claimed it.
- Topics can no longer be assigned to the same question/answer twice.
CampusGuides & CommunityGuides
- All the features mentioned in the LibGuides section above, plus…
- You can now feature guides on group homepages, just like on your general CampusGuides / CommunityGuides homepage.
- Group filtering has been added to the API – you can now create lists of guides assigned to groups that contain a certain term or groups with the exact name you enter.
- You can display all the guides from a specific group within the Links to Guides content box via a drop-down menu option.
- You can now choose to have your group inherit the HEAD / Header / Footer code from the System Settings page, as well as specify your own custom HEAD / Header / Footer code for each group.
If you would like further information about any of these features, or have some ideas you would like to see added to our applications, please let us know at email@example.com. Thanks!
Last night we updated our production servers with the new code for LibGuides/Campusguides, that we’ve been working on for the past few months. This was a major code update and it fixed all outstanding bugs, in addition to introducing several important new features:
- Better (much better) full-text search capability with real relevance-based ranking and search syntax highlighting. In other words, when you perform a search in your system and jump to any of the guides which are listed as search results, the search string will be highlighted on the page. Yeah, it’s as cool as it sounds For example, check out http://demo.libguides.com/content.php?pid=33675&sid=249813&search_terms=ProQuest and note the search term highlighted in yellow.
- The ability to search within a guide only. Yes, it’s here – finally!
- Search-and-replace function for admins (when updating many links at once) can now be case-sensitive, if chosen.
- Several new API functions and performance improvement in API in general (all API functions can be found under the “Widgets & API” tab on the Admin screen.
- Support for using Syndetics images for book covers in the “Books from the Catalog” option, if your library already subscribes to the Syndetics service.
The features above are available for both LibGuides and CampusGuides (or CommunityGuides, for our non-higher ed clients). We also added several CampusGuides/CommunityGuides - specific new features.
- Added IP-based authentication rules. Now you can limit access to the whole system, or to certain Groups, or to individual guides, based on IP addresses for the visitors. This is a major, major new feature for CampusGuides.
- Added user-based authentication. At the option of the system administrator, access to the entire system can be limited to users who have an account. In other words, to access anything you would have to have an account in CampusGuides. This is an ideal situation for staff-only or intranet-based usage scenarios, where only people who have an account in the system should be able to access content. Another major new functionality for the system.
- We added Group homepage links to the main CampusGuides homepage.
As always, we’d like to thank our Community for the great ideas – most of the new features in our systems come as a direct result of customer input and suggestions. So, keep up the good work, and we’ll do our part to make these into reality. We’re here if any questions pop up – firstname.lastname@example.org