In This Issue
Hiya Springy Fans! Spring is here and it's Springshare's favorite time of year <get it?>! While your thoughts turn towards cleaning windows and tidying desks, think back to the last time you Spring-Cleaned your online presence. We have some ideas and suggestions, so let's spring into action (after Spring is over, we won't go crazy with puns anymore, we promise ;).
The theme of this month's newsletter is Spring Forward. It's not only about moving the clock one hour ahead, it's also about revisiting and rethinking your calendaring needs. Naturally, we have a great suggestion for you - try LibCal! Check out our Superstar, Middlesex University - their switch to LibCal organized and integrated their personal librarian, computer and room bookings, and library event services. We've also outlined some great Uses of LibCal that will help you organize events/schedules/calendars at your library.
What's more, our Springy Tips & Tricks will get your brain out of winter hibernation. And in the spirit of new and fresh, we've also rolled out some Product Updates that will really put a pep in your step.
So, let's Spring Forward into this edition of SpringyNews!
Your Biggest Fans!
The Springshare Team
Springshare sat down, virtually speaking, with the folks at Middlesex University to discuss their innovative use of LibCal. Talk about Springing Forward! These folks decided that it was time to Spring Clean their old system and move over to LibCal! This not only helped streamline their process but also made it easy to fully integrate with their LibGuides system.
Q. What did you use before LibCal and how did students learn about your workshops?
Before LibCal, we had been looking for an event and appointment booking system for our Subject Liaison Librarians. We closely investigated another system but decided that it was not right for our needs as it didn’t promote our support in the way that we wanted and it was complicated to set up and use. Therefore, events and appointments were advertised via our webpages and by word of mouth. Any 1-on-1 appointments were organised by e-mail and any workshops that were not embedded as part of a programme were run as optional drop-in sessions.
Q. What was the impetus to move to LibCal?
"...simplicity & effectiveness of LibCal has been a joy."
LibCal came about at the perfect time for us! We needed a better and more professional way of promoting our workshops and 1-on-1 sessions. We felt that LibCal would be perfect for this and, although we haven’t been using it for long, it has already made it easier for us to raise the profile of our support throughout the University. It's helped simplify our booking processes, allowing us to send reminder e-mails the day before workshops / appointments, manage waiting lists, receive notifications and sync to our Outlook calendars.
Q. You're using LibCal in really cool ways! The My Schedulers are setup by Subject Liaison. Why did you organize it in this fashion?
For the students! This is how they want to schedule appointments with us - based on the subject nature of their research. Setting up our My Schedulers by subject area ensures that the correct Librarians are consulted for their expertise. We have been embedding a My Scheduler link in our LibGuides profiles. And in some cases, embedding the My Scheduler calendar right into our guides.
Q. What was the most surprising thing about implementation?
Considering the problems that we experienced with our previous system, the simplicity and effectiveness of LibCal has been a joy. With very little training our librarians have been able to get running in no time and, with little promotion, students have been finding and using the system. It has been a great start!
Calendars for Internal Use
- Keep track of staff vacation and conference schedules;
- Disseminate important library information:
- Instruction schedules;
- Internal meetings;
- Professional development events.
And remember, even though it's internal you can still Feed your LibCal calendar into Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, etc. as well as embed it into any webpage, blog, or a LibGuide.
Room Bookings for Booking...Anything!
The Room Bookings component in LibCal is so flexible, you can use it for booking anything in your library. And with built-in QR Codes and a fully mobilized interface, you can easily advertise bookings throughout the library.
Manage Bookings For:
- Computer Reservations;
- Equipment Reservations;
- Study Rooms, Carrels & Meeting Rooms;
- Staff Conference Rooms;
- Instruction or Technology Classrooms.
My Scheduler for Booking Appointments
Use the My Scheduler component to:
- Promote your personal librarian program;
- Showcase Subject Specialists expertise - Like the folks at Middlesex University;
- Schedule in-depth research appointments;
- Departmental Consultations: Interlibrary Loan, Archives, Government Publications, etc.
LibCal = Completely. Mobile. Optimized.
- Create QR Codes with LibCal's built-in QR Code functionality;
- Highlight events on your website so mobile users can register whenever and where ever;
- Directs mobile users to individual librarians' schedule of availability so patrons can book on-the-go;
- Mobile Bookings can be fed into Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, Yahoo Calendars & more!
Spring Clean Your Content
Bust out your virtual mop & bucket and Spring Forward into cleaning mode. Read on for some of our favorite tips for getting your LibGuides & LibAnswers content squeaky-clean.
- If you are using the same content over and over in your guides, now is the time to come up with a Reusable Content Strategy. Any future changes to your storage content will automatically update in all the “linked” versions across your site!
- Create a Storage Guide for frequently used content like database or catalog search boxes, widgets or important library information.
- Take advantage of the reusing guides functionality and create Guide Templates. This way, guide authors don't always have to start fresh!
- Create an A-Z List of your Database Resources for easy reuse, and maintenance, throughout your system.
- Did you know that you can reuse answers within LibAnswers? Need to update a "linked" answer? Simply update the original and all reused answers are updated.
- Thinking about a site redesign? We have Best Of Customizations that will knock the dustpan right out of your hands.
- Out with the old and in with the new! Get rid of your old unpublished and unused content. Get Zen and declutter your guide workspace.
Rethink Old Patterns
Patterns aren't just for curtains. Get out of your comfy-zone and check out these tips for rethinking old patterns and getting out of your rut.
- Are you using the right box type? There are over 20 box types in your LibGuides system. Each box is designed with a specific use in mind. Try these steps next time:
- Ask yourself, what am I trying to create? Text? Links? Embedded widget? RSS feed?
- Find the box that meets your needs.
- Remember, the Rich-Text Box:
- Doesn't track link usage;
- Doesn't allow for reusability;
- Isn't counted in the bi-monthly link checker report;
- ... use it sparingly!
- Looking for ideas on new goodies to embed in your guides? Check out Using Interactive Tools in your Guides for some fresh ideas!
Learn Something New
The Springshare Training Team is bringing you amazing new sessions designed to teach you something new about your systems!
- Best Practices for Building Guides:
This session will help you think about what “best practices” will work for your library and your audience in addition to some information on general web best practices.
- Guide Style - CSS & You:
Customization Using CSS takes you through some cool ways you can customize your LibGuides or CampusGuides site (or specific guides) using CSS.
- Guide Design:
In Guide Design, we'll talk about organizing your guide content in LibGuides/CampusGuides.
- ...View All Training Sessions in April
LibAnswers Update - New Features Are Live!
- READ Scale Integration into LibAnswers Reference Analytics. Admins will see a new option when editing an instance – “Use the READ Scale?”. This integrates the qualitative six-point scale and guidelines for use directly in your record a transaction screen.
- SMS/Text-Message Reference now available in Canada and the UK! Send/receive SMS, create auto-responders, and mine usage statistics - all from within LibAnswers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
- Keyword Improvements – support for key-phrases and an auto-suggest feature help you discover keywords and phrases you’ve used previously. Adding keywords helps your users discover relevant public questions in your knowledge base.
LibGuides & CampusGuides Update - New Features Are Live!
- Books from the Catalog Box redesigned - we know how much you love book cover art, so we've made it easier to retrieve! Enter an ISBN, click Get Book Info, and we'll grab the cover art automatically! For DVD/CD cover art, see this FAQ.
- A-Z Resource List Guide - we now "feature" the A-Z guide on the Reuse Link screen making it much easier to select that guide when searching for items to reuse!
- Word-Wrapping Enabled - long URLs bleeding outside the contents of your boxes? No longer! We've enabled word-wrapping so all long URLs automatically wrap to the next line.
- HTML Backup of Password Protected Guides - for CampusGuides subscribers, you can now download the HTML backup of your password protected guides.
- Tag Results Page Revamped - you asked for it and we heard ya! The tag results page has been revamped! Tag results display in the center column while other tags now display in the left-column. Plus, the tag search results page now displays *all* tags, not just the popular ones.
- Updated Language Options Interface - we've redesigned the language customization interface and included French as a base language.
- Want other language options? We need your translating skills! Email us at email@example.com
Coming to a System Near You!
Springshare is working on some really cool stuff! Keep an eye out for these upcoming updates on our Support Blog. Check out what's coming down the pike:
- Access controls - deciding which users can access any particular instance;
- Ability to do multi-selects - select more than one field in select boxes;
- More metadata fields at your fingertips - metadata fields will increase from 30 to 50 and the 10/10/10 limitation will be removed;
- You will be able to setup 40 select fields and 10 text fields or any combo of fields that add up to 50.
- More field types - including a sliding scale, agree/disagree, date/time fields, etc.;
- Streamlined user interface;
- Better Statistics.
It's coming *very* soon! Shhhh, don't tell anyone yet. ;)
Full integration with LibAnswers and LibGuides. The most awesome virtual reference chat tool. ever.