Monday, July 25, 2016

3 Ways to Breathe New Life into Your Library Blog



Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager

Does your library blog make you go “blah”? It might be time to take a fresh look at the blog and revive it! 
But how?
Think like a journalist 
The audience should be at the heart of every blog post. A deep understanding of your library users and blog readers, what drives them, and what they care about will help you write relevant posts your audience will read. 
Every post should bring value to the reader. It isn’t enough to provide the logistics for an upcoming program. Tell the reader why they should care. How will that program improve their life or make them a better person?
The stories on your blog should be new and original. If you are writing about a community event don’t repeat what the local newspaper reported. Create an original piece from the library’s unique point of view.
Marketing Profs wrote a great piece on these concepts. Read more
Find out what really works
Pull out your inner data geek and dig into your blog analytics. 
Create a spreadsheet of posts from the last 1-2 years, include the number of page visits and social shares. Then categorize each post in a way that makes sense for your library. 
For example, blog post types might include library program, book review, online resource review, and community event. Do you include multimedia in posts? That should be a category too. Intended audience, subject area, and day published are also potential categories. 
After the data has been gathered, slice and dice the spreadsheet to find out the most popular posts. Use this data as a guide for future posts. 
Reevaluate the distribution channels
Does your blog stand alone, waiting for visitors? If you build it, they probably won’t come. Use all of the distribution channels available to promote blog posts.
Blog posts can feed the library newsletter and should be shared on social channels. Don’t be afraid to share a blog post multiple times on Twitter and Facebook. People are on social media at all hours. 
Consider the other ways your library shares news – fliers, posters, news releases – every promotion is an opportunity to highlight the blog. 
Blogs are not new to libraries but your library blog can remain fresh and relevant to your library’s users.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Discover Leganto: Adding Citations from the Web [Video]



Gal Darom, Leganto Product Manager, Ex Libris

In the first post of this Leganto how-to video series, we looked at how instructors add citations via the Leganto search to create resource lists.

In this second video blog, we focus on how instructors can add citations to Leganto directly from the Web using the Leganto "Cite It!" widget. Instructors easily add the widget to their browser toolbar and use it to add citations from across the web, developing a diverse and dynamic collection of resources for their course resource lists. 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

From the Developer’s Toolbox: Highlights from the Ex Libris Developer Network



For our second edition of From the Developer’s Toolbox, where you can read about innovative ideas from Ex Libris customers and our own R&D team, we take a look at how the University of Liege is leveraging Alma and Primo to provide new services at the library and overcoming librarian resistance. We also feature two examples of how the Alma APIs can be a powerful tool for developers. And we end with a quick review marking the second anniversary of the Ex Libris Developer Network.

Digitization Requests at the University of Liege Library
An Ex Libris customer, the University of Liege, describes two ways in which the university library has been better serving its patrons with newly developed services in both Alma and Primo. The post does not gloss over some concerns voiced by librarians in response to the introduction of the new services, but also shows how those concerns will likely be resolved. Read more here >>>

Working with the Alma Jobs API
Tamar Fuches, a member of the Ex Libris Alma API team, explains how the Alma July 2016 release gives developers greater flexibility in defining and reviewing sets of actions to be applied to a pre-defined set of records. It is now possible to submit and view the results of such actions (known as manual jobs) using the Alma API. Read how here >>>

Ex Libris’ Josh Weisman explains how Primo and Alma work together to allow libraries to expose specific collections to patrons in external applications, such as a university or library portal or a custom special exhibit landing page. Weisman details how to use the Alma collection APIs to do so. Read more here >>>

At the end of the second year since the launch of the Ex Libris Developer Network, we're happy to share a short summary of some milestones and successes. These include: growing collaborative activity in the network; just as many blog entries by our customers as by our staff; and record usage of the Alma API. As Josh Weisman writes, this is a “testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the Alma developer community.” Read it all here >>>

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Discover Leganto: Adding Citations to Your Resource List [Video]



Gal Darom, Leganto Product Manager, Ex Libris

Welcome to a new series of how-to videos for Ex Libris Leganto course resource solution. With Leganto instructors can easily create, maintain, and share course resource lists that include resources of all types—physical books, online or digitized book chapters, scholarly articles, videos, newspaper articles, websites, or any other type of material. Instructors can annotate the resources they include to further enrich their students’ reading experience.

In this short video blog series, we will focus on how instructors can add citations to Leganto. In the first video, we’ll take a look at how easy it is to add citations via the Leganto search.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Doctor's Orders for Librarians in the New Library Space: Leave Your Desk!




By Yotam Kramer and Miryam Brand, Ex Libris Group

Library spaces are changing, and so are the responsibilities of the average librarian. 
Libraries all over the world are re imagining library spaces to enable collaborative work, teaching and learning, and even socializing. The Cambridge University Library’s Protolib project is just one example of how universities are extending library environments to include a wide range of work and study spaces.

However, librarian spaces have not changed at the same rate. The recently published State of Academic Librarian Spaces 2015 report demonstrates that recent renovations of libraries have, not surprisingly, focused on patron spaces

And while librarian spaces have not changed, librarian responsibilities are constantly growing. The same study shows librarians have experienced a significant increase in their responsibilities, particularly focusing on digital collection development, technology development and maintenance, procedures for operational tasks, and communication and management. 

So how can librarians keep up? They need the “freedom to move” – to leave their desks and do their jobs wherever they’re needed. Librarians need to be free to go where the patrons are and where the books are, while still getting the job done. 

Today’s library management mobile app is designed to help librarians do just that: to free librarians from their desks and work while they walk. With these mobile apps, librarians can keep up with changing library spaces without being chained to their own “space.” So work while you walk, enjoy the added fitness, and keep your library management system with you on the go.

Check out Alma Mobile:



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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Librarian’s Google-y Guide to Innovation



By Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager

Kathy Chin Leong recently wrote for Fast Company about Google’s nine principles of innovation. These principles drive Google’s culture and successes from the revolutionary search engine to self-driving cars and virtual reality.
What can libraries gain from Google’s nine principles of innovation?
Innovation comes from anywhere
Who is coming up with new ideas in your library? The director, managers? What about the student workers, pages or circulation clerks? The workers on the frontlines can provide valuable insights and solutions to provide better service for patrons.
Focus on the user
Some librarians are guilty of focusing inward and creating webpages full of jargon or teaching researchers as if they too were librarians. Hyper focus on the user can solve these common missteps and improve the user’s experience.
Aim to be ten times better
“If you come into work thinking that you will improve things by ten percent, you will only see incremental change. If you want radical and revolutionary innovation, think 10 times improvement, and that will force you to think outside the box.” Kathy Chin Leong
Bet on technical insights
Take stock of insights about your library and users. Don’t be afraid to implement new services based on these insights. It could be revolutionary!
Give employees 20 percent time
This is a hard one for time-strapped librarians. But, even taking a little time to explore outside of one’s job description can result in inventive new services. 
Default to open processes
Libraries are naturally open environments. Foster this open atmosphere to tap into your library users for great ideas.
Fail well
"Failure is actually a badge of honor," [Google's chief social evangelist, Gopi Kallayil] says. "Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride."
Have a mission that matters
Libraries have been practicing this principle as long libraries have existed. Kallayil affirms this is the most important principle.
This post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Library’s Buzz



Dani Guzman, Product Marketing Director, Ex Libris

This month, the Library Buzz brings you several very interesting and in-depth reports on the interplay between technology, libraries, academia and innovation. In a new paper, thought-leading analyst Marshall Breeding provides a comprehensive look at the latest technological trends in today’s library. While the American Library Association, looking at the modern library from the flip side, released a study on the role libraries can play in entrepreneurial success. Presenting a related perspective on how libraries are evolving, the ITHAKA organization’s latest report details the real-world research practices of UK academics. Drilling down further, an article in the Scholarly Kitchen presents options for preserving the viability of specialist research writing in an academic environment pushing for more open access. And since we are looking at the integration of tech trends, we top it off with a little philosophical musing on the use of emoji.

One of the most well-known independent analysts in our industry, library technology consultant Marshall Breeding, published a new conference paper this month ahead of the 82nd IFLA World Library and Information Congress (13–19 August 2016 in Columbus, Ohio). In this paper, he explores the role of technology in the success of libraries faced with both increasing service demands and limited funding. “[M]ost procurements of new systems in academic libraries result in the selection of a library services platform,” Breeding notes, “with Ex Libris Alma currently seeing strong popularity.” Read the full paper here >>>

A new report by the American Library Association (ALA) highlights how the resources of public and academic libraries have been – and can yet be – put to use by entrepreneurs throughout the lifecycle of their business initiatives. Whether providing guidance on writing a business plan, market analysis, or product prototyping, according to the ALA paper, libraries of all types need to be leveraged “to further advance the innovation economy.” Read the full paper here >>>

Ithaka S+R, a strategic consulting project of the ITHAKA academia-focused nonprofit, partnered with Jisc and Research Libraries UK (RLUK) for their second comprehensive survey of the real-world attitudes and behavior of UK-based academics. The study, drawing on responses from over 6,600 people, looked at how research, discovery and data management is adjusting to the latest technological changes. Among the noted results was an increase “in the importance that academics assign to the service-based roles of the library....” Read the full report here >>>

Monographs – academic specialist works – form a backbone of advancing research, especially in the humanities. In the Scholarly Kitchen, digital media management consultant Joseph Esposito lays out his view of “the all-important matter of sustainability” when it comes to open access monograph publication. In this regard, Esposito presents three possible options for how open access monographs might earn enough money to allow their continued publication, as well as addressing the question of reducing the costs of their publication. Read more >>>


Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor at the School of Information at San Jose State University in California, wonders if the increasing use of emoji in everyday communication might be an evolution of language. For the modern library, he imagines a day when patrons could use emoji to express their feelings about a book or to rate a library program. “Talk about making feedback more fun!” Stephens comments. Read more >>>