In This Issue
A Community of Sharers
Publishers Weekly has called librarians “the original oversharers.” We love to share our knowledge of information, resources, and research skills with our patrons. Of course—we don’t have to tell you this—we love to share with each other, too.
It happens on the job and at conferences; in professional and social settings; in person, in print, and online. And it happens in the Springshare Community. This issue of Springy News looks at the give and take that enriches the experience of all users of Springy products.
“Share” is not just part of our name; at Springshare and in the Springshare Community, it’s part and parcel of what we do!
— The Springshare Team
What is the Springshare Community? It’s more than 50,000 librarians at more than 4,000 libraries and organizations. It’s everyone who uses Springy products to inform, engage, and enable their users. It’s you (and it’s us, too.) Here are five tips for making the most of this community of your peers.
“Imitation,” as the old saying goes, “is the sincerest form of flattery.” Well, flatter away, LibGuides librarians! We make it easy for you.
Spotted a guide at another institution that gives you inspiration, ideas, (maybe even a little envy)? No need to recreate the wheel. You can use that awesome guide as a template for one of your own.
- First, email the author of the inspiring guide and ask their permission.
It’s the polite thing to do, and while some may have personal, professional, or institutional reasons to say No, most will say Yes. (Librarians love to share—have we mentioned that yet?) :)
If you forget—or choose not to ask (but you wouldn’t do that, would you?)—they’ll be notified anyway when you use their guide. So avoid the need for any ‘splainin’ to do and get permission first.
- Once you have the go-ahead, click on Create New Guide.
- Select the “Use A Template” option.
- Paste in the URL of the inspiring guide and click Search.
- Click the guide's title to confirm it's the guide you want to use, then add a title and other basic information and hit the Create New Guide button.
- Make it your own. Your new guide will have all of the content of the original, but with your site’s banner, colors, tab design, and other settings. Now it’s time to really make it your own:
- Add, delete, or modify any pages or boxes any way you want.
- Make sure to change any links going to the original library’s version of databases, catalog records, or anything else are going to your version instead.
- Check for any wording that’s specific to the original library and adjust it accordingly.
That’s all there is to it. You’ll have a new guide that serves your users just like the one you’ve modeled it on.
More on Using an Existing Guide as a Template
You're the Best!
Did You Know?
You can submit a guide for inclusion in the Best of LibGuides? Just remember these rules:
- To be featured, guide owners must agree to share their content.
- All nominations should include a brief statement on what makes it the best.
- Want to nominate your own guide? Cool! Just let us know it's yours.
We love seeing all of the great things librarians do with LibGuides and LibGuides CMS. And when we see something extra special, it makes us want to shout from the rooftops, set off fireworks, have a parade!!!
When we calm down—easy now, kiddo—we add the guide, instead, to the Best of LibGuides for all to see.
It’s our way of recognizing the cream of the crop for the fantabulous work you do. But it’s not just about kudos and congrats. The Best Of site gives all LibGuides librarians a chance to learn from top-notch examples, models, and approaches for all kinds of guides, including:
- Class guides
- Guides to research strategies
- Guides on special subjects or targeting special audiences
- Examples of libraries using LibGuides and LibGuides CMS as their library website
- ...and more
You know what’s even better about the Best Of? Every guide on the site is free to use as a template for a guide of your own. No need to ask; we’ve already obtained permission from the guide authors.
So go ahead. Check out the Best of LibGuides site. Get ideas. Get inspired. Get the Best!
The Answer, My Friend...
. . . is floating in the cloud (with apologies to Bob Dylan).
Reuse answers from your library and the LibAnswers community.
Got questions? Got answers? Got the feeling this question’s been asked and answered before?
When a tough question comes in, let LibAnswers sweep the answerverse for you. Pull up existing answers to reuse, modify, or reject as you see fit. Click on “Reuse Answers” on the answer screen to view potential matches not just from your library but from hundreds of LibAnswers libraries.
Find a good one and you can copy it right into your answer box to be used as is or modified to match your question and your library’s resources.
It’s a shortcut, a learning tool, and another way to tap into the collective wisdom of the Springshare community.
Spend some time in SpringyLand, with one, two, or all of our products, and you’ll blaze new paths, make exciting discoveries, and, yes, occasionally get lost or be uncertain where to go next.
But you’ll never be alone. The Springy support staff will always be available to help you find your way, of course.
And that’s not all.
There are thousands of other librarians travelling the same highways and byways, mapping the landscape and leaving trails to be followed by anyone curious, adventurous, and eager to learn.
Visit the LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal community sites to explore and expand upon the work of your fellow librarians in SpringyLand.
Springshare Community Sites:
Mix and Mingle in the Lounge
Ready to meet other librarians for conversation around and about Springy products? Kick back and relax and join your counterparts from other libraries in the Springshare Lounge.
It’s not all fun and games, of course. (And refreshments are strictly BYO.) But there's no better place to ask questions and get real world answers from librarians putting LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibAnalytics to work in their institutions.
Here are a few examples of the topics that have been posed and pondered in the Lounge:
- LibGuides as Websites
- Managing Link Rot
- LibAnswers & Twitter: Privacy Issues
- Adding LibChat Widgets to Library Databases
- Room Booking Validation/Authentication for Students
Start a conversation in any one of the groups in the Lounge—or suggest a new group for us to add.
The Springshare Lounge: THE place to network, exchange ideas, get questions answered, and discuss strategies with like-minded peers.
SpringyCamp 2013 was the best one yet—
a shareapalooza of inspiration and ideas!
We've posted recordings of all of the sessions online, along with presenter materials:
We also asked SpringyCamp presenters to tell why sharing is so important to them—and to the profession. Here's what some of them had to say:
Darby Fanning, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
"As I stated in my presentation, 'LibGuides is a community of sharers,' and I meant it….None of us exist in a vacuum, and if we do, then we cease to be effective. Learning from and contributing to the knowledge base in our profession is vital, and Springshare offers a community of practitioners from all areas of the library in all disciplines the ability to learn from each other rather than withholding innovation for the sake of ego/stakehold/etc."
"I really do depend upon the Springshare community as a major resource for the work that I think about, develop and (hopefully) continually revise/revitalize. I love to learn from the work of others and see it in action."
Veronica Reynolds, New City Library, New City, NY
"By it's very nature, librarianship is a profession of collaboration. We work together to improve services not just in our own library, but to everyone we can reach. A rich exchange of ideas makes us all better in the long run."
Trevor Calvert, Marin Academy, San Rafael, CA
"I firmly believe in community professional development and am committed to 'playing it forward.' A synergy exists in healthy communities between the component parts and the complex whole. I love when my colleagues ask to use a guide or chat about content and design as both of our skills grow as well as our professional relationship."
Alex Armstrong, American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
"We sometimes forget that the challenges we face in creating online interfaces to our services and resources are common across libraries. I wanted to raise some issues [in my presentation] that I thought were crucial in how our users experience our web sites. My hope was to spark a conversation—preferably over code—about these issues."
"Every platform restricts you in various ways, but because the Springshare products are created with libraries in mind, they provide a vocabulary to talk about our common challenges, as well as a set of tools to address them. The vocabulary may be more useful than the tools, ultimately, because the challenges we face are often conceptual rather than technical."
Scott Salzman, Furman University, Greenville, SC
"I think that all professionals want to share and contribute within their communities of practice. As librarians we reap the added reward of knowing that when we share ideas with our peers it can lead to a multiplier effect since so many people benefit from library services."
"We’re always getting new ideas from looking at other folks’ LibGuides. Those and the Springshare Lounge are always available but SpringyCamp is a true 'event' that I always look forward to. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more active in the Springshare Lounge."
Raise your hand if you've ever sent a suggestion for adding to or enhancing a Springshare product.
Raise it higher if your idea saw the light of day as a new or improved feature or function.
Now take that raised hand and pat yourself on the back—and keep those bright ideas coming.
We're always working to make our products better. But we couldn't do it without you.
Your feedback and suggestions help us know what works, what doesn't, and what could be improved.
It can be as slight as a change in wording or as grand as an idea for a whole new product. Nothing is too big or too small. We listen—and we respond. So hit us up. And thanks.
(Okay, you can put your hand down now.)
New features and new products? You asked for 'em; we've got 'em.
We’re headed to the land of Da Bears and Deep Dish delish with our own treats in store! This year’s ALA Conference is in Chicago and Booth 563 is your ALA Flash Pad for a FLASH forward peek at exciting delights on the way from Springshare.
- LibGuides Refresh: the biggest ever update to LibGuides
- LibAnswers Enhancements: action-packed updates taking virtual reference beyond beyond.
- LibAnalytics Insight: offering data-driven decision making like you've never seen before.
Can you catch it all? Yes, you can. We’ll be doing 15-minute Flash Presentations every day. Keep an eye on @springshare on Twitter or pick up a schedule at the booth. For a limited time, we’ll have stickers at Booth 563 that say, I got FLASHED by Springshare! You know you want one. Springshare doesn’t crash a party. We FLASH a party!
Here are some of the things you'll see:
Check out our recent blog post for a sneak preview of all the new goodies. The LibGuides refresh will be available as an opt-in update starting this Fall, so you can pick the best time for your site to update.
- Overhauled guide layouts - More responsive, less column-y, and so much prettier.
- Overhauled look and feel - Our revamped style looks better than ever, right out of the box.
- Overhauled Edit Guide Screen - In-context controls make the editor infinitely more intuitive.
- Boxes re-imagined - Mix links, documents, embedded content, rich text, headers, etc. all in one box.
- New Box Types - Tabbed boxes and slideshow boxes make your guides more dynamic and fun!
- Admin-friendly features - we saved a few shout-outs just for the admins in the house:
- Asset Management - Manage all site assets (links, documents, embedded content, etc.) from one screen.
- Redesigned API - Site assets are all available via API. Store it in LibGuides, use it anywhere.
- Publishing Workflow - Review content prior to publication.
- Community Style Templates - We're making it easy to create your own style templates for guides. See a customization you love? Don't recreate it, grab the template!
Facilitate data-driven decision making across all facets of library operations with LAN Insight. Import your data on e-journal usage, acquisitions and circulation statistics, budgets, association reporting, etc. and so much more.
If you can track it, LibAnalytics Insight will help you make sense of it.
- All your stats in one place - Accessible wherever and whenever you need them, including on tablets and mobile devices.
- Effortless Reporting - We created report templates for the most common library stats, including:
- E-Journals & Databases - Reveal key data with a single click, including journal usage, cost-per-download, zero-use journals, duplicate journals, etc.
- Acquisitions - Resource allocation and analysis made easy.
- Circulation - Reveal daily, monthly, and yearly trends on borrowing patterns.
- Budget Analytics - Track where the money is going, compare expenditures over time, and track income categories.
- NCES Statistics - Store and track all your NCES reports and gain insight on trends and growth over time.
- Multi-year trend analysis - Reveal your data's trends over time.
- Custom Reports - Mix-and-match fields from various Datasets to create custom reports.
- Community Comparisons - Say WHAT?! This opt-in feature allows you to compare your library's data with other participating libraries. Compare yourself to libraries in your geographic region, similar institution types, local and national consortia, or just the community at large!
- Questions Restructured - We overhauled the way we treat questions in LibAnswers:
- Questions that patrons ask are "private" no matter how they come in.
- Those private questions are the base for public FAQs.
- Stats Restructured - Those question changes have exciting implications for statistics:
- All patron-related stats are stored together - Date & time stats, turnaround time, question method, etc.
- All public FAQ stats are stored together too - Public FAQ views, up/down votes, views by topic, etc.
- Enhanced Question Collaboration - New question statuses and an improved answer page layout make it easier to collaborate on answers.
- Publish and unpublish public FAQs - Set your FAQs to automatically expire / publish themselves.
- Revised Dashboard - It's easier to scan for the info you need, and you'll love the new Quick Look feature.
- Updated Look and Feel - LibGuides has a new look, so we figured LibAnswers needs one too. :)
- Queues - they're here!
- Each queue has its own email address, question form, SMS number, twitter handle, etc.
- Grant/deny access to each queue by staff member (ex. Sally in IT can answer questions in the IT queue, but not questions in the reference queue), and designate queue admins.
- Each queue has its own notification and email settings.
- Your public FAQs can be "Grouped" into searchable sub-sets of the overall FAQ, each with its own homepage, topics, associated queue, look and feel, etc.
Plus: Search Revamp
Stop by the booth for an early preview of our new search engine. We can't wait to show you our improved search results, faceted search options, and combined LibGuides and LibAnswers search.