As you may already know from the last couple of newsletters (June and September), we’re getting ready to release a new version of the system, with significantly updated dashboard and management screens. The current dashboard hasn’t changed since the system’s inception in 2007, and we’ve added hundreds of new features, so… things were getting a little cramped back there, if you know what we mean.
This update will affect all content creators in LibGuides & CampusGuides – System Administrators, Librarians, and anyone with an account in the system. We put together a guide - http://help.springshare.com/lgcg-sei - to help you with the transition. It has detailed information about the new stuff and a screenshot tour of the new interface. Please read it carefully to get acquainted with the new look and organization.
The actual code update will occur over the weekend of October 29-30. There will be no system downtime during this code update.
As always, we’re excited to hear what you think – if you have any questions, ideas, or kudos, don’t be shy – let us know!
Hey Hey Hey – we released an update for LibGuides & CampusGuides this weekend! Check out the new features & improvements:
- New Slider option to control column widths
Sick of resurrecting your math skills every time you want to create custom column widths? Us too! In any guide, head to Add/Edit Pages –> Resize Columns to see the new slider.
- Add a customized message on your site’s support form
Every LibGuides and CampusGuides site includes a link in the footer to “Report a Tech Support Issue”, which triggers an email to our Springy Support team and cc’s your primary site administrator. If there are different help channels that your patrons should be using, you can add a custom note to the “Report a Tech Support Issue” form! Check out Hillsborough Community College for an example. To add custom text to your site’s form, email Springy Support and let us know what you’d like to add!
- CampusGuides – New API option lets you filter by group
We’ve added a new filter for API calls! To filter an API call to return results from a specific group, add the term “&gid=xxx” (where xxx is the ID of the group you want to filter by). With this new feature, you can dynamically generate a list of guides, list of authors, list of subject categories, or tag cloud for an individual group in your system – neato!
- CampusGuides – Add a note to your IP rules
Having trouble keeping track of your CampusGuides IP rules? We’ve added a new “note” field – now, you can keep track of what those random-looking IP strings actually do. To view this new option, Admins can head to System Wide Settings –> Access Rules.
- E-Reserves – New course visibility options
This one’s for folks using the E-Reserves module. We’ve added a visibility option to E-Reserves courses. By assigning a course visibility date, you can show/hide courses (and all the e-reserve content they contain) by date. To edit your course visibility dates, head to E-Reserves –> E-Reserve Course List; click the “Course Visibility” drop-down to choose a custom date range for your course’s visibility.
Let’s hear it for code updates! We can’t wait to share the latest features & updates with you, so without further ado…
Simpify. Eliminate. Integrate. (Part 1).
Check out the latest edition of Springy News for a great visual walkthrough the new SEI changes! Here’s the highlights reel:
- Guide Index Screen – Say hello to the new central management hub for your ‘guides. We brought the heat, and revamped the Guide Index – now, you can view and edit guide info, editors & co-owners, tags, & subject categories for your guides all in one page. There’s also a wealth of new filter, sort, & export options from the guide index screen – it’s bonkers!
- Guide Editing Toolbar – Scroll, and the toolbar scrolls with you!
- Change Guide Info – We’ve reorganized the guide settings menu – now, everything is in one screen, separated by tabs, so the function you want is easier to find! We’ve moved lots of things to this screen, including the Guide Publishing options, Subject Categories, and Friendly URL.
- Add Box screen – We’ve added so many new box types over the years that the “Add Box” window was screaming for reorganization. Check out the Box Types Explorer, which outlines the box features. Added bonus: for all our Netbook users, you won’t have to zoom out to add a box!
Check out this month’s Springy News for screenshots & more info!
- RSS & Podcast Feeds – These box-types will now update more frequently, so the feed content you present will now be fresher than fresh.
- New Mobile Display – We’ve optimized the mobile version of your guides – users will now be presented with a guide’s tabs as options, rather than automatically expanding the 1st tab.
- Delete Link Info – When you go to delete a link from one of the “Links” box-types, you’ll see a list of the pages where the link has been reused, so it’ll be easy to see the impact on your guides!
- Admins: Rich Text Editor update – Admins can now hide elements in the Rich Text Editor (such as “Font family”, “Font size”, etc) – this can help minimize inline styles that your guide authors may be adding. Email us and let us know what you’d like to hide!
After we gave a sneak peek to our clients via last week’s newsletter, today I am pleased to announce that the Mobile Site Builder and LibAnalytics systems are now available for anybody to check out. These two new tools expand our Springshare web platform in two important directions – mobile web and statistical analysis. Both of these are hot topics for libraries, and since our goal is to bring the latest and greatest web technologies to our clients this is a natural extension of our product lines.
Mobile Site Builder (http://springshare.com/mobile) works with LibGuides or CampusGuides and it enables libraries to effortlessly create and maintain a professional-looking mobile website. We handle the coding, the automatic redirects for mobile devices, hosting, etc. – you just log on, create menus, submenus, add content and voila – your mobile users have information on the go. Mobile Site Builder is offered as a module to LibGuides/CampusGuides so our clients will feel right at home in terms of the ease of use and familiar interface. Oh, and did we mention it costs only $299/year? You won’t find a better deal for a comparable mobile tool, so get in while the going is hot. For more information, check out http://springshare.com/mobile, and let us know if any questions pop up.
LibAnalytics (http://springshare.com/libanalytics) is our new platform for recording, tracking, and analyzing data at your library. LibAnalytics grew out of our Reference Analytics module in LibAnswers. We took Reference Analytics, which was targeted for gathering reference statistics only, and added tons of new features, more fields (up to 30 metadata fields to track) and data types (multi-choice, numeric, & free-text), improved filtering, better charts and reports, greater flexibility, and … LibAnalytics was born.
If you like statistics and data (who doesn’t, right?) LibAnalytics will feel like data-Nirvana. Instruction Statistics, Reference Statistics, Workflow Statistics, … literally any type of statistical information can be recorded, tracked, and analyzed in LibAnalytics. And the pricing starts at $299/year for a single instance. Yes, you read that right - it’s affordable, it’s powerful, it’s great looking, it’s easy to use, it’s… a typical Springshare web-app. Take the first step toward becoming a Data Ninja: http://springshare.com/libanalytics.
Developing these tools wouldn’t have been possible without our awesome client libraries who are always giving us fresh ideas and great feedback, so big thanks to everybody who contributed their comments, feedback, and ideas which resulted in these two really neat, and really useful new tools. Onwards and upwards!
I’ll tell you a secret; Spring is my favorite time of year. It’s not the fresh-faced daffodils and tulips, or the Sparrow’s returning song, nor is it the return of reasonably priced berries in the grocery store. Hands down, the absolute best part of Spring is the super energizing phenomenon of Spring Cleaning. If you’re like me (giddy about cleaning and passionate about lists), read on for ideas on doing a bit of Spring Cleaning in your guides!
- Are you using the same content over and over in your guides? Now’s a great time to come up with a Reusable Content Strategy for your links to resources, content boxes, and even entire pages.
- Create a centralized “Storage“, or “Template” guide, and create “linked” versions of that content throughout your guides
- Any future changes to your storage content will automatically update in all the “linked” versions across your site!
- Thinking about a site redesign? Check out the Best Of Customizations for a bit of inspiration!
- Been holding on to outdated, unpublished content? Spring is a great time for weeding and decluttering!
- Looking for ideas on new goodies to embed in your guides? Check out Using Interactive Tools in your Guides for some fresh ideas!
Have more ideas for bringing the Spring Cleaning mindset to your guides? Share them in the comments!
We love sharing great examples of librarians using LibGuides/CampusGuides to publish high quality, timely information. When we saw Kathy Park’s guide about the tragic events in Japan, we were inspired by its breadth, quality, & currency - so we’d like to share her work with the community. Check out the COM Library’s guide to the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami:
To be honest, one feels helpless in these tragic situations. As librarians there is always something we can do – we can compile and provide access to good quality information – it’s what we do best.
Especially for major tragedies, our patrons want to know more beyond just the latest news. How were people affected? What was it like to be there? How can this happen… and how can I help? This guide (and others like it) is a direct result of interacting with our patrons.
Using embedded media, this guide is able to continually update and evolve to reflect the changing situation in Japan. Highlights from this guide include an interactive Google map (which provides links to video and more information), and excellent RSS feeds. In the future, Kathy plans to add a page about Japan, and another on nuclear power (which is emerging as a significant part of the story), and will continue adding new angles as the situation evolves.
We love sharing these success stories – as Kathy mentions, “Every time I create a new guide, I blog it. I use twitterfeed to send the blog post to our Twitter & Facebook accounts, and I use the text from our blog to email every user on campus”. And the results are tangible – using Kathy’s links, patrons have donated to victims of this and other catastrophic events, and students have access to an incredible source of research help, akin to a time-capsule of an event.
Much like the GOSIC (Gulf Oil Spill Information Center) guide we shared back in July ( http://guides.lib.usf.edu/gulf-oil-spill ), these guides represent the best of what LibGuides has to offer. We’re proud to be able to offer librarians a fast & flexible tool to rapidly share their knowledge with their communities. We also love to share, and Kathy has graciously agreed to allow other LibGuiders to re-use her excellent content in your own sites. For more information, check out our Best Of site: http://bestof.libguides.com/collections
A quick update – we’re rolling out a small enhancement to the public display of guides. If your guide only contains one page, the “Home” tab will no longer display in the public view. You’ll still see it when editing in admin mode, but your patrons will see a cleaner page view. A big thanks to everyone who requested this enhancement!
A relaxing December put a cap on a very exciting 2010, where our LibGuides community grew by 800 member libraries and over 11,000 librarians! Thank you very much to all the LibGuides, CampusGuides, CommunityGuides, and LibAnswers users out there – it has been a pleasure working with all of you in 2010, and we look forward to another great year of collaboration and innovation!
|Unique Visitors:||1.39 million|
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This past weekend our friends at Serials Solutions announced that custom database names are available via their API, so we are now able to import those custom values into LibGuides!
The way it works is as follows – if your resource has been assigned a custom name in the Serials Solutions interface, we will import the resource into LibGuides using that custom name. For any resources that do not have a custom name assigned, we will use the default resource name provided by Serials Solutions as we have done in the past.
If you have already imported your resource list and would like to update your existing links to use the custom names, just run the A-Z import tool from within LibGuides and be sure to check the box for all links you wish to update. Any links that were previously imported using the default name will be updated to use your local, custom name – it couldn’t be easier!
If you’d like to learn more about this tool, check out our guide: A-Z Resource List Management
Here’s a “too good not to share” story from our friends at Albuquerque/Bernalillo County (ABC) Libraries, who published a LibAnswer that received 11,000+ views in 5 days.
An online trivia contest (“Outwit the West” – top prize: $1 million dollars) recently caused an internet sensation, and a patron submitted one of the questions from the contest to ABC Librarians via LibAnswers’ SMS service. The question was:
Before they could respond to the original SMS, ABC Librarians started seeing the question crop up in multiple channels – through LibAnswers, phone calls, and emails. And the answer was ambiguous: The race was scheduled in Fairview, NM on Christmas Day, 1866 – but was won, by Perico, on January 10th, in Chloride, NM – and the library’s considerable archives offered no information on what happened in between.
What happened next is a great example of jumping head first into social media. Using LibAnswers, ABC Librarian Anne Lefkofsky was able to quickly publish the info the library had on the race. The answer’s URL was shared in contest discussion forums, and it spread like wildfire. As trivia hunters asked for more details, library staffers updated the answer with more source materials. When patrons called the library, staff emailed them the answer with two clicks. Meanwhile, LibAnswers’ built-in Search Engine Optimization meant the answer quickly rose to the top of internet search rankings.
The real-time statistics in LibAnswers let the ABC Librarians know how popular the question had become. Within a few hours of posting, the answer had 500 hits; by the next day, 5,000. Driven by the popularity of this topic, ABC Librarians created a new LibGuide that compiled links to climate data, maps of the towns involved, images, and user link submission. Not long afterward, a librarian from the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library in Santa Fe, NM submitted a link to a photo of the elusive newspaper that explained exactly what happened on Christmas Day, 1886 in Fairview, NM. Pretty amazing, right!?
The end result? Eleven thousand people found the ABC Libraries LibAnswer, which now linked them to a resource only available at another library. Talk about librarians using technology to improve services and collaboration! When we contacted David Hurley (Digital Services Manager at the ABC Library System) about the story, he put things in context: If those 11,000 hits saved the time spent answering a hundred phone calls or emails to our Special Collections library, then LibAnswers paid for itself with one question. And us? We’re really pleased that LibAnswers and LibGuides got to play a small part in a success story like this. Way to go, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Librarians – you rock!