I mentioned a few weeks ago that my library recently moved to LibGuides from an in-house custom guides solution. One of the features that most sold me (and allowed me to help sell LibGuides to library administration) is the robust API Utility Tool that allows LibGuides to be fairly easily integrated into other web products — like your main library website, blogs, LMSs, etc. Since the typical library “website” really consists of a mashed together system of multiple websites and web products, it’s important to be able to get the most bang out of those various systems by re-purposing and integrating content whenever possible. This is part of the beauty of APIs. And Springshare takes the thinking out of working with APIs through it’s handy API Utility Tool wizard in both LibGuides and LibAnswers.
Since my library is also in the middle of a complete website redesign, while evaluating LibGuides for purchase I analyzed the different types of API calls and RSS feeds that could be generated from LibGuides and integrated into our main website and suite of web products. One of the most obvious uses cases is to display a list of LibGuides, for each librarian, on their new faculty profile pages. We librarians put a lot of work and time into building our guides; we want to be able to show that professional work off on our faculty profile pages!
But, up until this month, the only way to do that — without laboriously building (and maintaining) a hard-coded list of one’s guides — was by embedding a LibGuides widget of your guides into another web page. While this widget has some good uses, the non-customizable styling (it’s a flash widget) can be way too cluttered and busy looking for those wanting a cleaner looking website. I was very unhappy with the way this widget looked on our nice new clean streamlined website templates.
Displaying My LibGuides via the Traditional Widget
Shortly after acquiring LibGuides at our library, I started chatting with Springshare about the need for an API call to display a cleaner list of guides by user (librarian) that could better integrate into our website style. Springshare’s developers and customer service team paid attention to my request, and within a couple of months they told me that they could include that functionality in their next release. Talk about excellent customer service!
On August 3rd, Springshare officially released this new API call.
Displaying My LibGuides via the New “Guides by User” API
The unstyled minimalist look generated from the new API call blends much better into an existing website design.
A Much Cleaner Look with the Integrated API Call
Notice how cleanly and seamlessly the list of my Library Guides looks when set into my faculty profile page. Much more attractive than using the embeddable widget.
I think our librarians will be pleased with this new functionality when we roll out the new website and faculty/staff profile pages. Particularly when, during training, they learn that this list is automatically generated and updated by LibGuides each time a librarian publishes a new guide. No more manually creating a list of one’s own guides.
Using the New API Call
The new API call works just like all of the other tools in the API Utility toolbox. Under Select API Data, choose the “List of guides/pages with links”, and under Display Filter, choose “Return guides owned by this user” and pick a user name from the drop down menu. All of the additional normal filtering and output options can be applied to this new API call.