We are so excited that SpringyCamp is SO CLOSE, but the most exciting bit of info is for you:
There are still a few seats available!
So join us for awesome presentations, great company, and maybe some campfire songs / ghost stories before we tuck in for the night.
- Springovation: Innovation with Springshare Products
Thursday, May 16th, from 1pm – 4pm U.S. Eastern time
- Track C: Techie Talk
Friday, May 17th
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 http://libstapler.com!
Some might say that we’re a tad psychic here at Springshare. Others might say we’re a bit wackadoo. In fact, both of these groups are right! When we heard that Google is retiring their RSS feed aggregator tool, Reader, on July 1st 2013 we weren’t a bit surprised. We anticipated that something like this might happen when we started noticing issues with the way Google was processing feeds last year and that’s why we moved all of our RSS processing within LibGuides to an in-house system rather than being based upon Google Reader.
What does this mean for your LibGuides system? Absolutely nothing! Your LibGuides RSS box type will remain unaffected by Google Reader’s shutdown. Our powers of psychic detection are strong. And yes, we do know what number you’re thinking of. It’s seven right?! <wink>
Some of you might rely on Google Reader for personal use – feeding your Springshare Support Blog into your Reader accounts so you can always stay up-to-date on all the Springy-happenings. Just so you don’t miss all the latest & greatest, bring your Springshare Support Blog subscription with you when migrating into a new feed aggregator tool. Or, sign-up for email alerts! Just navigate to support.springshare.com and input your email address. Blammo! It’s that easy.
Now, where did we put that crystal ball?!
Yesterday marked the start of Teen Tech Week, sponsored by the Young Adult Libraries Services division (YALSA) of the American Library Association. This year’s theme encourages libraries “to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer.”
To celebrate Teen Tech Week, we’re highlighting a few of the many great LibGuides created for teen audiences by school and public librarians. The three guides featured here will also form the kernel of a new “Teen Interest” category on the LibGuides Best Of site. Feel free to use one of the guides as a template to reuse / remix on your own site! (The guide authors have given their permission.)
Newport News Public eLibrary
The Newport News Public Library in Virginia has created an attractive and dynamic “Teen Space” with a wide range of resources for its teenage audience.
The site offers everything from career and college information to homework help to books and magazines to special events. It’s all wrapped into the highly customized and tightly structured design that gives the Newport News eLibrary a distinctive online look and feel. (NNPL uses LibGuides for its overall online site.)
Be sure to check out the library’s use of tabbed boxes on each of the pages of its teen guide to keep the content compact and organized.
Walk in My Shoes: Exploring Cultures in America
Akira Toki Middle School
This guide, created by teacher-librarian Madge Klais at the Akira Toki Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin, supports the study of multicultural literature for teens. It’s a companion to her 8th grade course in the school’s Unified Arts Program, and it’s filled with information, illustrations, and resources.
Madge hopes to have students add additional content, including book reviews, Animoto videos, and other items to the site as they proceed through the course.
Just for Teens
East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Louise Hilton at the East Baton Route Parish Library in Louisiana designed this guide as a “one-stop shop” for area teens to find resources on arts and crafts, gaming, writing, teen reads, music, and more. It’s full of books, databases, websites, online classes, and creative ideas.
The guide also connects to the library’s social media presence, including Twitter and Instagram plus a Facebook page and Pinterest board just for teens.
Like all the best guides, “Just for Teens” is a work in progress, with new and changing categories and content to keep it fresh and fun.
Congrats to all three for these great guides. We’re looking for more Best Of examples, so if you’ve created or know of a guide that’s a cut above—in this category or any other—let us know!
We’re seeking SpringyCamp proposals and there are only two days left to get your submission in!
What is SpringyCamp, you’re probably asking yourself! SpringyCamp is Springshare’s bi-annual virtual conference where you can learn how colleagues from around the world are using Springshare tools. Springshare4Everyone is this year’s conference theme and we’re looking for submissions on how you’re using Springshare products – easy peasy!
Submit your proposal by March 10th.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: http://springsharelounge.com/group/academic-librarians/forum/topics/adding-libchat-widget-to-library-databases
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!