In This Issue
It's the Holiday Season. While you're decorating your home and rolling out those mini-quiches (yum!) take note of what you're doing. You are creating a fun environment for your family and guests. A home away from home. A space for folks to relax, unwind and feel comfortable and welcomed.
Well, that's what this edition of SpringyNews is all about - dressing up your services, creating a warm & fuzzy atmosphere and inviting your guests into the library and towards using your services. Mini-quiches optional. ;) Our 5 Ways for Building Better Guides and Tips for Advertising your SMS Service ensure that you're the hostess with the mostess.
Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season,
The Springshare Team
What’s the best route to a good guide? Fact is, there are as many ways to reach that destination as there are librarians creating guides. LibGuides and LibGuides CMS put you in the driver’s seat, giving you the ability to create guides that are right for your subject, your audience, your institution, and you.
But we don’t just hand you the keys, stick you in front of the dashboard, and leave you to find the right road. Our Help Guides, FAQs, free training sessions are there to help you get going - and don't forget to check our best practices from other LibGuides users! And if you ever get stuck or lost, our awesome support team—roadside assistance, if you will—is standing by to get you back on your way.
Of course, just like actual driving, there are some basic Rules of the Road that will help you to stay on course, keep moving, avoid delays, and ensure a safe and comfortable ride for you and your users.
Here are five key tips to keep in mind as you set out on the road to good guides.
It's What's Up Front That Counts
The first page of your guide will be the one that users see most. In most cases, it will be the only page a user sees. Make sure your most important information is on that first page. Key information can include:
- Best bets - The most important databases or resources
- How and where to get help
- A table of contents for the guide
- Links to related guides and other sources of information
Simply Put (It's Not That Complicated)
Don’t overwhelm your users. Save them time and effort by making it easy to see what’s in a guide, on a page, and in a box.
- Keep tabs to a minimum—one line of tabs is best. (Short tab titles will help.)
- Avoid long blocks of text. Show, don’t tell.
- Use headings, bullets, and bolding of key terms to highlight the most important information.
- Keep colors and fonts consistent.
Don’t put barriers between you and your users by using long sentences or library lingo.
- Use plain language that users will understand.
- “Find articles”
“Search periodical databases”
- Use active voice and avoid unnecessary words.
- “Search for books”
“Conduct a search for books in the catalog”
- Use direct action verbs for action links.
- “Get a library card”
“To get a library card, click here”
Add images to your guide. Images can liven up a page, catch the user's eye, break up blocks of text, provide graphical clues about content, and more. Screenshots, especially annotated screenshots, are great examples of “Show, don’t tell.”
- More on images
Bridge It with Widgets
Shorten the route to information users need with widgets. Examples of widgets you can embed in your guides include:
- Search boxes - Let users search library catalogs, article databases, electronic reference sources and more directly from your guide.
- Springshare widgets - Bring content from all of your Springshare products into your guides.
Advertise. Advertise. Advertise.
Whenever you launch a new service or are trying to boost usage of an existing service - advertising is key.
- They can't use it if they don't know about it, right?
- Because your competitors are! KGB & ChaCha are on notice!
- It's an opportunity to brand your library.
- Because it's imperative to ensure usage.
When it comes to advertising, small campaigns can give you a big bang for your buck.
- Use our Business Card Sticker template and paste them on your bathroom mirrors.
- Modify our Tear-Away Flyer template and post inside bathroom stalls - you've got their complete attention.
- Make Do NOT Disturb Signs with your SMS number.
- Make buttons and give them away!
Keywords Are, Well Um... Key!
Check out how you can use keywords in an instruction session to advertise your new service!
Video: SMS Keywords + Welcome Activity
Learn from Darcy Gervasio. They created a roving reference program at SUNY Purchase using the SMS component of LibAnswers.
- 57% of incoming text-messages came from within the library.
- Only 5% were in-depth reference questions.
- 36% dealt with computer, printer, wifi issues.
- 29% were directional.
Will someone let us know when the library closes? We're downstairs and my phone and clock is about to die. Thx!
- Anon. User
Advertise in the Library - in key places where they're going to need help.
- Where are They - Tell users to include where they are in the text.
- Darcy suggests they include printer numbers or names if they're texting about a printer problem.
Create QR Codes (they're free) and post them everywhere.
Our favorite QR Code Generators:
- Embed in your LibGuides Profile.
- End caps of ranges.
- Paste onto book spines.
- Add to patron's library cards.
- Paste onto all hardware lent items:
- Kindles / iPads / Nooks.
- iPods / Mp3 Players.
- Frequently used library resources:
- Paper Cutters.
- Fax Machine.
- Scanners / Copiers.
How it Works:
SpringyCamp has come and gone and if you couldn't make it to our 2nd virtual conference in 2012, you can relive all the highlights below!
1. LibGuides Redesign: Focus on Student Input
Chrissa Gobout, Mount Holyoke College
Presented on their LibGuides redesign project where students were bribed into participating with chocolate-covered strawberries. Students were encouraged to design their ideal LibGuide and used drawing to share their vision. Student suggestions were incorporated into the redesign and statistics were presented to show before / after redesign usage.
Darcy Gervasio, SUNY Purchase College
Discussed SUNY Purchase Library's transition from a consortial text reference model to an in-house model using LibAnswers’ SMS Module. Darcy's presentation focused on the development of a roving reference program based upon statistics that almost 60% of text-messages received came from within the library. Darcy shared tips, best practices and advertising techniques.
3. LibCal & the Open Workshop: Bolstering Attendance
Emily O'Connor, Rasmussen College
Presented on how Rasmussen College increased attendance to their instructional webinars using LibCal. During Fall 2011 semester, Rasmussen utilized LibCal so students can self-register for webinars. This led to increased participation and exposure of their programming.
Pru Morris, Texas A&M San Antonio
Non-Techie Alert! Easily automate the LibGuides / Blackboard connection!
Pru shared code and tips to easily and automatically integrate LibGuides and Blackboard. This script will connect a Blackboard course with its LibGuide and if a course guide doesn't exist it will reroute the user to the subject guide.
5. Using LibAnalytics to Close the Assessment Loop
Stephanie Rollins, Samford University
Shared how Samford University is using LibAnalytics for the entire instruction process from booking a session, collecting instruction statistics, to post-instruction feedback.
6. The Tipping Point: Increasing Library Service Usage using LibChat
Marliese Thomas, Samford University
Presented on how Samford University is using LibChat, Springshare's Chat Reference tool, embedded in strategic spots to interact with students in new ways. In addition, they provided ways for faculty to embed LibChat into their own websites - creating resources and tools for usage outside of the library's realm of access.
7. The Birth of a User-Centric Service: AskGCPL
Kari Evans & Susan Kosenka, Gwinnett County Public Library
Illustrated how Gwinnett County Public Library used LibAnswers to launch a well-used reference tool they've branded AskGCPL which has spread to 15 branches in Gwinnett County. Discussed strategies, implementation, and tips for advertising.
8. Building Seamless UX with Springshare Solutions
Randal Harrison & Mies Martin, Michigan Technological University
Shared how through a 5-week process of customizing LibCal and integrating it into our own systems, they were able to easily increase efficiency and usage of the system. Focused specifically on how strong project management, usability testing, and an agile, iterative design process increased UX. Mies & Randal shared specific examples of the project management documents and some of the code used to build their interfaces.
- Friendlier URLs - Expanded Friendly URL functionality throughout LibGuides. Assign friendly URLs to:
- Individual Pages within a Guide;
- Subject Category Pages;
- User Profile Pages;
- Group Homepages. (LibGuides CMS Only)
Bonus: Friendly URLs can now be nested using "/". Got a LibGuide with a friendly URL of "naturaldisasters"? Give your Page a friendly URL of "naturaldisasters/hurricane" to create page nesting!
- RSS Processing - We heard from folks that RSS processing, with certain feeds, returned wonky results. In response, we've completely changed the way LibGuides processess RSS feeds. Our new processing method is more reliable, efficient and whole lot less problematic.
- eReserves for Everyone - LibGuides subscribers can now subsribe to eReserves without needing to update to LibGuides CMS! Need a walkthrough? Check out http://help.springshare.com/ereserves and email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
- 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.
- Discussion Board Makeover (LibGuides CMS Only)
- Guide owners receive an email update each time a new item is posted;
- Boards now support HTML;
- Diacritics are now fully supported - no more &*!) display.
LibChat - Now Live
- File Transfers - Patrons and Librarians can easily share files via chat. File uploads and transfers are limited to 5MB and are only stored for 1 week, then deleted, for privacy concerns.
- Internal Chat - Need to take a 5min coffee break? Assisting a face-to-face patron? Easily alert other online chat operators with the operator-to-operator chat tool. Just click on the operator's name to initiate.
- Transcript Download & Email - Export all transcripts, export a filtered list of transcripts, or email individual transcripts right from within the system.
LibAnswers Update - Now Live
- Was this Helpful? Voting - Patron's can now vote on helpful questions. View all your votes in one place - head to General Stats > User Votes.
- File Uploads -Patrons can submit a file along with their questions in both the Ask Us Form and when they email! File uploads and transfers are limited to 5MB and are only stored for 1 week, then deleted, for privacy concerns.
- New API Options
- Embed the full Question & Answer;
- Send a search query to your LibAnswers system and get a list of results back - useful for building your own search box and displaying the results on the same page!
- Query Spy Updates
- IP-Lookups - Clickable IPs to view patron information;
- Local/Not Local - Head to System Setting > Define local IP range. Query Spy reports reflects searches from inside / outside your IP range;
- New Filters - Where are users coming from and what questions they are clicking on;
- Query Re-run - Want to see the search results your users saw? Hit the spyglass to view their search results;
- Most Popular Queries - View the most popular search terms used in your system! Query Spy > View Statistics > 'Popular Words' report.strong>
- Question Form Updates
- Receive Response via SMS - Patrons can now choose how they want to receive a response from the Ask Us Form, Email or SMS. Admin Stuff > Ask Us Form;
- Free-Text Field - Collect more Patron data;
- More Characters - We've upped the Question / Details fields to handle 64,000 characters (in total).
- SPAM/Errors Queues - Keep track of bounced emails (i.e. emails not received by patrons) and spam messages! Navigate to Unanswered Queues.
Now Live - Watch Video
- JQuery Calendars - The new Calendars are based on the JQuery library so they're standarized and look heaps nicer right out of the box.
Calendar Customization Features:
- Printer Friendly Version;
- Calendar Event Display auto resizes to accomodate full Event Title;
- Calendar Day Display auto resizes to display all Events on that day;
- Agenda View now available!
- Multiple Calendars - Admins can view events across all calendars.
- Calendar Event Preview - Hover over an event to preview the event's details.
- Calendar Color Options - Customize your calendar colors without CSS.
- Public Filtering - Patrons can filter on multiple categories and libraries.
- Advanced Display Controls - Configure how your calendar displays (screenshot below):