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SpringyNews: Your Greatest Hits

March 2016

In this Issue:

Fun Facts

  • Since 2012, we've crafted over 89 Springy Tips & Tricks.
  • Since 2013, we've created 13 Springy Tech Tip Videos.
  • Tips & Tricks and the Tech Tip Videos are the two most popular pages in every newsletter. 
  • Springy Tech Tip Videos have had 7,774 views.

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Top 5 (of all time) LibGuides Tips & Tricks: Digitally Remastered

Since our first newsletter in May 2010, we've been releasing LibGuides Tips & Tricks in one format or another.

Starting in February 2012, Springy Tips & Tricks became a standard article in all Springshare newsletters.

Flash-forward six years, we've combed through all 29 editions and selected our most crowd-pleasing popular ones.

Introducing our LibGuides Greatest Hits Album, five of our best ever Tips & Tricks, rereleased and digitally remastered for LibGuides v2.

1. Keeping Guides Fresh

From one of our most popular LibGuides Tips & Tricks newsletters in 2013, tips for keeping your guides fresh blasted to the top of the charts. Let's remaster these freshness strategies for LibGuides v2 so that your visitors will come back again and again. 

Home is Where the Eyes Are!

While some things change, this important fact hasn't: since it attracts the most eyeballs, the first page in your guide is the most important.  As the first page users see, it's important to keep your 'Home' page up-to-date and fresh.

Best Bets - Not all users have time to read the entire LibGuide (though they should!). Create a 'Best Bets' box on your guide homepage to outline the best bet resources on that topic. This way, the most important information is front-loaded on the first page of your LibGuide. 

  • Front and center - Keep your 'Best Bets' box at the top/center of your guide homepage.
  • Keep the list limited - we recommend 3-5 resources, tops.
  • Use a variety of content types - highlight databases, ebooks, and web links inside the same box. 
LibGuides Best Bets

Images Speak Volumes

While your guide content might not change much over time, a great way to invigorate your guides is to constantly add new images. 

​Rotating Image Gallery Box - Nothing draws eyes to your guide's homepage than visually stimulating images in a rotating slideshow.

  • Use an Image EditorMake sure all your images are the same size so that the box doesn't change height.
  • Annotate Images - If pictures speak a thousand words, than annotated pictures must speak 10,000. Add helpful callouts, arrows, and text to your images. 
  • Limit the Number - 3-6 rotating images is right in the sweet-spot. Users might not have time to cycle through 10+ images. 

Places To Get
Free Images

Disclaimer: Please read the licenses and TOS of each of the sites suggested below before downloading images.

  • Free high-resolution images published under the Creative Commons Zero license.
  • Searchable high-res images, vector, and art illustrations published under CC0 license.
  • Free high-res stock images.

2. Build-In Interactivity

A fan favorite from our February 2013 newsletter, tips for using LibGuides in the Classroom, focuses on introducing interactive elements into your LibGuides. 

Let's revamp them for 2016, and beyond!

Four Hands are Better Than Two

Like opening a window on a spaceship, building a LibGuide shouldn't be done in a vacuum. Collaborate with teachers, volunteers, involved parents, colleagues, and even fellow librarians around the world on building a guide together. This way, the very nature of your LibGuide is rooted in interactivity - guide creation founded on valued partnership and open communication.

Adding Guide Editors

Polls: Promoting Interactivity Since 2010

An oldie, but goodie - the polls asset type! Are you using it enough? Polls are a great way to gather informal feedback on-the-fly. 

  • Add polls to your homepage - Makes it easier for patrons to find and answer. 
  • Integrate it with an instruction session - We've covered how teaching from a LibGuide is a great way to connect f2f learners with your digital content. Even better, create an interactive poll that they answer during the instruction session!
  • Point-of-Polling Education - Add URLs to Poll Choices so users can learn and vote at the same time. 

Discussion Boards (LibGuides CMS Only)

A great way to prompt users to interact with you is to pose a question via a guide-level discussion board (navigate to a guide > add page > discussion page type).

A study by Hubspot found that Facebook posts that are 'questions' get significantly more comments than non-question posts. Bottom-line, creating a question-style post can increase user engagement. 

  • Language suggestions - Try using "should", "would", and "who" language in your post. 
  • Get trendy - The times, they are a changin'. And there's always something to pull from politics (2016 election), modern day artists (Beyonce's Superbowl performance), or current events (Flint Water Crisis). 
  • Get the ball rolling - You have a list of top library users. Get the discussion ball rolling by inviting them to the discussion. 
create a question-style discussion board

3. Time Savers

In our July 2012 newsletter, we featured time saver tips & tricks guaranteed to make your guide building smoother and faster. Our 2016 tips are just as cool and promise to make your life a whole lot easier too!

Hiding Boxes

With LibGuides v2, hiding content is now more granular than ever. Rather than having to create a hidden page and move boxes to it, you can show/hide individual boxes. 

Keyword Search Images

With our latest LibGuides update, we've now added the ability to tag images in your image library with searchable keywords. This way, you can search for images by titles & relevant keywords! 

Add as many keywords as you'd like to maximize image findability. 

searching images

Automagically Adding a Box to All Guides (Advanced HTML/Bootstrap Users)

A great timesaver and tool for ensuring consistency across all guides is adding a box ID to a guide template. Adding a box ID to a guide template automagically adds that box to every guide using that template. Just imagine, you'll never again have to make sure that guide-authors are adding your 'Ask A Librarian' box to your homepage.

Time Saved. Sanity Saved. LibGuides Saved. </mindblown>

Since manipulating guide templates does require advanced HTML knowledge, the following instructions are not for novices.

If you're new to LibGuides templates & Bootstrap, we strongly recommend you take our LibGuides Admin Customizations: Templates Training session or watch the recording before attempting the below.

You've been warned. :)

Instructions for Adding a Box to a Template


Why Add a Box to a Guide Template?

  • Always a part of the guide - So you don't have to worry about guide authors accidentally deleting it. 
  • Can be easily updated -  Simply update the box content and presto, it's auto-updated everywhere. 
  • Control where it displays - You decide whether it displays on all pages on a guide, or just the homepage.
  • Facilitate Freshness - Rotate box IDs in and out of the template so content is fresh.

Usage Ideas!

  • Ask A Librarian - Create a 'Get Help' box to promote your email, phone, SMS, and chat services.
  • Library FAQs -  Embed a list of LibAnswers FAQs 'About the Library' that auto-updates every time you publish a new one.
  • Directions & Phone # - As simple as that, adding basic library info to your guides expands user knowledge.
  • Feedback Survey - Create a LibWizard feedback form and embed it on every guide homepage.

4. Maintenance Strategies 

With every Greatest Hits album release, artists tend to sneak in a new track (or two!). So, while this particular gem hasn't been featured in any previous newsletter (we couldn't believe it either), it's time that the LibGuides Search & Replace Tool had its moment in the sun. 

The following Springy Tech Tip Video focuses on all the glory of the Search & Replace tool, and S&R'ing only part of a URL. 

Using the Search & Replace Tool To Update Part of a URL

5. Writing Better Guides

Like Yesterday and Yellow Submarine, some B-side tracks can often eclipse their A-side hits. When we first released our 'Best Practices for LibGuides' training session on Feb 9th, 2012, we had a modest 14 registrations.

Registrations grew over time but nothing prepared us for the monster B-side hit when we released our Building Better Guides Tips in the December 2012 newsletter.

Like Strawberry Fields Forever, these tips for creating better guides are timeless. No remixing or remastering needed.

Cut Writing In Half - And Then Cut It In Half Again

You're probably rolling your eyes at this one a bit - I mean, look at how much we've written on this page alone! But, you're all librarians - so you read every word right? Right!

Aaron Schmidt, a leader in library design, suggests that copy is most effective when it's cut in half and then cut in half again.

Less is not more, less is less.

- unknown

Speak Plainly

Reduce barriers by speaking clearly, removing unnecessary words, and cutting out jargon. 

These simple steps can improve trust, aid the reader as they move through your content, and empower them to confidently act on it.

Jakob Nielsen found that, "on the average webpage, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is most likely." ()

So make sure you get the best bang for your verbal buck with these tips.

Use This

Not This

"Search for books in the library catalog."

"Use the library catalog to conduct a search for books."

Avoid unnecessary words.

"Get a library card."

"To get a library card, click here."

Start strong with a simple verb.

"Find articles in the library's databases."

"Click here to search for periodicals in the library's databases."

Use plain language and avoid library jargon.

"Request an ILL Item."

"To request an ILL Item, please click here."

Avoid using 'click here' - users understand a link when they see it. 
Turn the entire phrase into a hyperlink.

"ILL Requests take 3-5 days."

"Please understand that ILL requests may take anywhere from 3-5 days."

Avoid trying to sound 'polite' - short, active sentences are easier to read.

"Your Library Account."

"Library Account Information."

Speak to the user as "you". 

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