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LibraryH3lp Blog

LibraryH3lp is software used by libraries, educators, and non-profits for better customer service.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Updated Guest IDs

Monday, May 21, 2018
Hi all!  Just a quick update to let you know that the guest IDs for chat are changing slightly (currently only on the CA regional server).  We're moving to a format that is a little shorter and consists of letters as well as the numbers.  Functionally speaking, nothing has changed.  But this is the first indicator of new features to come!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

3mail module 2.0

Saturday, March 17, 2018
We've just released oodles of improvements and new features for the 3mail module. For those not familiar, the 3mail module provides a simple shared email system that is available either standalone or within the webclient.  3mail is connected to one or more queues within your LibraryH3lp account. Each queue represents a shared mailbox from which any operator assigned to a queue can receive, view, and send email.

It is a handy place to direct chats that are tagged for followup and can also receive email from places like Ask a Librarian email forms.  Each LibraryH3lp subscription includes unlimited use of 3mail at no additional charge. To get 3mail enabled for your account, visit the 3mail page in the webclient or the standalone 3mail app.

Here's a quick rundown of what's new...


We've added search to 3mail. 3mail search works much like Chat History search but against email metadata instead of chat metadata. By default, both message and subject are searched but you can restrict your search to only subject or body, with or without additional keywords. You can also use the attachment, tag, sender, recipient, and operator keywords to further restrict search and/or search over date ranges.

Download messages

All of the messages for your current search can be downloaded. You can select what message metadata you'd like included in the download. The file downloaded to your computer will be in comma-separated value (CSV) format, so you can use a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets to further analyze your mail.

Mailbox settings

As part of a mailbox's settings, you can set up a name, signature and auto-reply (a.k.a. vacation).

A mailbox's name is a human-friendly name associated with your mailbox's email address that is visible to email recipients.

If a signature is set for your mailbox, it will automatically be included in the message body of any reply or with forwarded messages.

For auto-replies, you can set a subject and message. If a subject is not provided, the sender's original subject will be used. You can optionally set a start day/time and/or end/time.  When auto-reply is active on a mailbox, you'll be reminded at login time so that auto-replies are not accidentally left active.


The 3mail module now accepts form submissions, allowing you to build a custom form for your web page and submit the data collected from that form to 3mail.

Custom Tag Kung-Fu

Delete, rename, search, and even hide your custom tags.

Notifications to other email addresses

Let's hypothetically say you don't use 3mail super heavily, and you are not in there each and every day.  But you want some correspondence, such as from an email reference form, to go to 3mail rather than being locked in in any single individual's mailbox.  How will you and other staff know when there is a new message waiting in 3mail?

Bring on notifications to external email accounts!  This way, users can receive alerts in their personal (external) email accounts that there is a new 3mail waiting for attention. You can set enable these notifications in your webclient or 3mail preferences.

Other tasty bits and pieces

  • Reply all and forward options now available for all emails.
  • Easily print messages using the printer icon on each message.

Monday, October 23, 2017

New! Chat History Search Kung Fu

Monday, October 23, 2017
Hold on to your hats, we have BIG news!  We're adding search to the Chat History page in both the admin dashboard and the webclient for staffing.  So when you need to locate that chat from two years ago from a patron that texted asking about an obscure poem from the 1950's, we've got you covered.

New "Search chats..." Input

Above the date explorer, we've added a search input where you can search through most chat metadata fields and transcript content (if you've elected to save chat transcripts).  For example and if you wished to search for chat transcripts that contain the word bibliography, you could enter the word bibliography in the search input.

Search phrases are enclosed in quotes: "enumerative bibliography".

Multiple search terms or phrases are separated by spaces and ORed together:

  •  "enumerative bibliography" catalog

And you can restrict your search to specific chat queues, with or without additional keywords:

  • queue:ask-us
  • queue:ask-us bibliography

Use the operator_msg or guest_msg fields to restrict search to only operator messages or guest messages respectively.  So if you wanted to search for all chats with transcripts where an operator used the word bibliography:

  • operator_msg:bibliography

You may be thinking to yourself, that's pretty fancy but how am I supposed to remember these field names three months from now?  Never fear.  That's where advanced search comes in!

Advanced Search

Using advanced search, you can get very specific without needing to remember all the nitty gritty details of keywords.  Advanced search replaces the old filter concept we used to have for metadata columns in the grid.

Chat metadata search keywords come with an extra bonus -- most support wildcards:

  • Use * for partial matches. E.g. Use chat* to find any word that starts with chat.
  • Use ? to replace any single-character. E.g. Use ch?t to match words like chat, chbt, ch4t, etc.
  • Use ! to omit exact matches. E.g. Use !chat to omit results that contain word chat.
  • Use * with ! to omit partial matches. E.g. Use !*chat to omit results with words that end in chat.

Expanded Date Exploration Options

You may have noticed a couple new things going on with dates in the sections above.  We've added an "all dates" option for searching all chats.   We've also added date range shortcuts which make grabbing common date ranges a snap:

  • last 7 days (range:week)
  • this month (range:month)
  • this quarter (range:quarter)
  • this year (range:year)

When you first use the new search feature, the default date range will be set to range:week.  From there and each time you use the Chat History & Activity page, it remembers the last search settings used.

This way, the ranges you set will always be relative to the actual current date.  So if you leave it set to range:day you'll always have the current day's chats when you first load the page.


Last but not least, we've added pagination.  It makes for a much snappier user interface experience, especially when you have lots (138,520 in the screenshot below) of chats.


All of the goodness we added to the download tool this summer remains and will work on your carefully-constructed search.  So you can easily download JUST chats from this year on a specific queue where the guest said "circulation."  Voila.

We hope you'll enjoy search! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tracking Chats Tagged for Followup

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
When chat originates over a queue, you can tag that chat for follow-up -- even if the chat has already ended. Usually a chat is tagged for follow-up because the guest cannot be fully helped immediately and some sort of follow-up action is required.  Most commonly, chats are tagged for follow-up via email. However, LibraryH3lp also offers a DeskTracker integration that works with tag for follow-up.

How do I find out which chats were tagged for email follow-up?

You can see which chats were tagged for email follow-up from the Chat History page in either the dashboard or webclient for staffing with the Tags column.  By default, the Tags column is hidden since not everyone uses the tag for follow-up feature, but it is easy show it using the drop-down menu in any of the column headings.
Click the Columns... item from the Column Settings drop-down menu to access the Metadata Column Settings. Click the checkbox next to Tags and then OK and you're set.  
Any chat tagged for follow-up via email will have a "follow-up" entry in the Tags column as part of its metadata.

How do I tag a chat for follow-up?

In the webclient for staffing, there is a tag for follow-up button that is included with every chat over a queue.
Operators using an external client such as Pidgin or Adium should click on the "chat management link" that displays at the top of each chat and begins, "For transfers, etc..." to tag chats for follow-up.

Still using the old /webchat/ client?

Don't worry, chats tagged using the old, original /webchat/ client will still be tagged as usual and you'll get the expected email with the chat transcript and operator note.  But, chats that are tagged by operators using that legacy /webchat/ client will not be identifiable in the Chat History area as described above.  

If you're still using the legacy /webchat/ client, keep an eye on its login page for news of its long-awaited retirement.  And in case you missed it, the modern webclient now has an option for the familiar individual floating, draggable, resizable chat windows, so it's easier to switch than ever.

Not sure which LibraryH3lp client you're using?  You can look at the URL in your web browser and look for the word "webchat" or "webclient."  And have a look at the login screen:

Not sure which client you're using?  Check the login screen appearance.

Monday, July 10, 2017

More options when downloading chat metadata and transcripts

Monday, July 10, 2017
Hi all!  The updates continue.  This time we've got the Activity page (available in both the admin dashboard and webclient for staffing) in our sights.  There are a few minor aesthetic changes but the big news is that you have more control over your downloads of chat metadata and transcripts.

As before, you can select which chats to download by clicking the checkbox for a chat in the metadata table.  Or if no chats are selected, all chats displayed in the metadata table are downloaded.

We've consolidated the separate download metadata and transcript buttons into a single button that covers it all.  It is the blue button you see above that has a cloud with a down arrow.

Download selected chats button

Click that button to unlock the goodness.

New "Download chats" dialog for metadata and transcripts
Using the Download chats dialog, you can:
  • Download metadata, transcripts, or both.  If you opt for both, you'll get a CSV file with transcripts included.  Otherwise you get a CSV file for metadata only and a ZIP file for transcripts only.
  • Select which metadata columns to include in the CSV file.
  • Optionally scrub the operator name from transcripts.
  • Combine related transcripts when downloading transcripts only.
  • Arrange transcripts in folders by queue or profile when downloading transcripts only.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Back to the Future: Floaty Chat Window Option in Webclient

Sunday, July 9, 2017
There's a new option for manual chat window layout now available within the webclient for staffing. Those who have used LibraryH3lp for many years and are familiar with the original version of the webclient for staffing will already know this feature well.

By default, the webclient for staffing automatically lays out chats in Hollywood Squares format.  That is, each open chat takes up the maximum possible real estate without overlapping another open chat. We've made automatic layout the default since it is a timesaver, allowing the operator to focus on the guest instead of window management.

However if you prefer to prevent that automatic layout from happening and would rather manage your own chat space, head over to your webclient preferences and uncheck the "Automatically arrange and size chat windows" option.

Here's an example of what you would see when there are two chats with automatic layout:

And below is what those same two chats look like with the manual layout.  The grey area is the chat space and the chats are floaty windows that live inside that chat space.  You can move and resize chat windows at will and move them around all willy nilly by grabbing anywhere in the chat window title bar.  The resize handle is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the chat window.

To ensure your browser grabs the latest version of the webclient for staffing, click the reload button while holding down the SHIFT key to clear cache before logging in.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coming soon! Updates to the webclient for staff

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
We've been hard at work on updates to the webclient for staff based on user feedback. This updated webclient retains the current webclient's basic layout and workflows, and so it will feel immediately familiar to most operators. We plan to release these updates on January 29, but for now we invite everyone into the late-stage beta testing phase. You can readily switch back and forth between the production and beta versions as desired. If you'd like to give the beta version a try, follow the link provided from the webclient login page.

And without further ado, let's run down the list of changes and improvements!

Menu Layout

The navigation menu has moved from the top to left sidebar, which opens up the space for your custom status (more on that below).

Left: older layout with navigation at top.  Right: updated layout with navigation along left sidebar.

Custom status for colleagues more conveniently located

Provide short custom status lines shown only to your colleagues (guests won't see this).  Previously, custom status was set through the Availability drop-down menu.
Setting a custom status

Canned message improvements

Canned message behavior has been redesigned.  Now in addition to or instead of the type-ahead menu, you can use our canned message selector to visually browse and filter all canned messages within each chat.
Visual canned message browser.

And, for those that prefer an approach that doesn't require use of the mouse, canned message type-ahead matching remains, with a couple of usability improvements to make it less aggressive:
  1. Matching begins after three matched letters.
  2. Matching occurs only at the beginning of words.
Type-ahead matching begins at three letters now.
Type-ahead matching can be enabled or disabled in Preferences.

Emoji picker

No need to memorize the key combinations for the available emoji. There is a handy "insert emoji" button that comes with every chat. Click the "insert emoji" button to review the available choices and then click the desired emoticon to insert it.

Emoji picker available via the "insert emoji" button for a chat

In-place profiles

If you staff a collaborative service, you're probably very familiar with queue profiles.  These function as staff "cheat sheets" and provide useful context-sensitive shortcuts for staffers.  

Queue profile displays as an overlay and can be detached into a separate window.
Queue profiles display as a convenient overlay now, instead of always opening in a new tab.  And, if you need continued access to a profile, you can detach into a separate tab at any time by clicking the icon in the profile overlay title bar.

Performance improvements for very busy services

We suggest Chrome for the best experience if you have a high-volume chat service and often chat with many guests simultaneously.

Conference rooms

If you use conference rooms, you'll notice a few changes to the layout:
  1. There are no longer options to join or to leave the conference room. Both actions are done automatically for you as you log into and out of the webclient.
  2. If you have more than one conference room available to you, the rooms be listed vertically to the left of the conference room messages.  Previously conference rooms were listed horizontally across the top of the conference room area.

Detachable Chat History and Profiles

Chat History and Profiles are both available for browsing at any time within the webclient.  And if you need to have them available in their own, separate browser windows while you're chatting, you can detach them easily.

Detachable Chat History
Detachable Profile Browsing
Open Chat History and/or Profiles in their own separate browser window or tab.

Desktop visual alert improvements

Desktop alerts notify the user visually of new chat messages, even if the webclient itself is minimized or otherwise not at the top of the user's desktop.  This is especially handy in situations where sound must be disabled on the staffing computer.

In any browser that supports desktop notifications, you will be proactively prompted for permission to display the notifications if permission is not currently granted to the webclient.

You can control the duration of these visual alerts if you're in Chrome.  So you can set a lengthy duration if you're worried about missing a notification when your attention is away from the computer for a few minutes.
Configurable persistence of desktop alerts available in Chrome ONLY.

Auto-logout also available in Preferences now

Auto-logout is a very handy feature that prevents you from leaving your chat service falsely online if you forget to logout and then step away for a meeting or for the day.

Change your auto-logout preferences at any time, not just at the time of login.
As before, the opportunity to adjust your auto-logout setting continues to be offered each time you login, so that you can flexibly change your auto-logout trigger if needed based on how long you expect to staff in that particular session. But now, you can also visit and change your auto-logout setting in your Preferences.