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LibraryH3lp Blog

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Promoting your LibraryH3lp service

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

 Did you know that LibraryH3lp provides resources to help you promote your services to guests? We sure do!

We offer both printable and social media materials that you can use as-is or as a starting point for your promotional campaign. You can find it all on the LibraryH3lp FAQ.

Printable materials are available as Microsoft® Word documents and social media images are available in PNG format.

Need Help? Ask a Librarian
Image for use in Meta Stories




Monday, August 21, 2023

Latest round of bug fixes

Monday, August 21, 2023
Hi all! We released a small round of minor bug fixes today and wanted to share the details on those with you. To make sure you have the latest version, please clear browser cache before logging in.

Webclient

  • The navigation sidebar on the left hand side of the webclient now remains hidden until after a user logs in.
  • A link to the administrative dashboard is now visible for mini-admins within the navigation sidebar. Previously this link was only visible for full administrators.
  • Those users with sufficient permissions will be able to delete chats within the individual chat view on the Chat History page.

3mail

  • The navigation sidebar on the left hand side of 3mail now remains hidden until after a user logs in.
  • We fixed a bug where the subject line content of a draft would disappear when adding CC or BCC recipients.

Administrative Dashboard

  • Those users with sufficient permissions will be able to delete chats within the individual chat view on the Chat History page.
  • Within the User Management page, users must be logged out before administrators can delete them.

    Guest chat box

    • The send file and email transcript options are not available until a chat begins.  

    Friday, August 11, 2023

    Get your LibraryH3lp status alerts here

    Friday, August 11, 2023

    For many many years, we have used Twitter to publish LibraryH3lp system status alerts.  It was handy for a number of reasons, including that no one needed to be signed in with a Twitter account to read the messages.  Alas, things have changed and Twitter is not as convenient as it once was. 

    In the interest of simplicity and visibility, we're moving our status alerts here, to our blog.  Status alerts will be located at the top of the right sidebar so you can quickly see if there is a known technical problem afoot in LibraryH3lp-land. 

    System status alerts are issues that impact your staff's ability or your guest's ability to use LibraryH3lp in some way... Hardware failures, widespread networking issues and data center problems are all examples. Thankfully these sorts of issues are rare. Because these problems could mean that our servers are not reachable, our blog (hosted by Blogger) is a perfect place to share them.

    We will continue to use the Message of the Day feature within the LibraryH3lp admin dashboard and webclient to share news items of general interest to our customers and their staff.

    For those customers that still actively engage on Twitter, don't worry. We will continue to tweet the same status alerts we post to the blog so you will see and receive those important messages in the familiar way. 

    Friday, May 27, 2022

    New Users Management page

    Friday, May 27, 2022

    If you have administrative rights to all or part of your LibraryH3lp subscription, this post is for you. We've updated the users management page in the administrative dashboard. The new page has been in beta testing for quite some time and we've wrapped in customer feedback as well as bug fixes during that time. Please continue to provide constructive feedback on how we can further improve this page.

    Updated user management page in administrative dashboard

    We'll update the administrative dashboard on each of the servers in the coming weeks. And we'll update this section as we go to note the date. Here's the release schedule:

    • Canada - May 27, 2022
    • Singapore - June 21, 2022
    • Europe - June 23. 2022
    • Main (US) - July 5, 2022

    Without further ado, let's dive in to highlight some of the changes and nifty new features for user management!

    Creating and updating users

    There is a user creation wizard which guides you through the set-up process for new users. If you would like your new user to be set up exactly as one of your existing users, there's a copy feature that lets you do just that. In the wizard, you'll set up staffing assignments, chat contacts, canned messages (if applicable), conference room assignments (if applicable), and administrative permissions if desired.

    You can use the same wizard to update existing users too! Plus each user has their own page where you can view and adjust settings as needed.

    Managing chat contacts

    We've completely revamped how chat contacts are managed. When staffing chat, you can see other users and queues in your chat contacts and administrators can set this up for users in the user management page.

    The manage chat contacts button lets you quickly and easily buddy selected or all users with each other with just a few clicks. And if you want to fine-tune the contacts, there's a "Customize Contacts" option. For example, maybe you want to remove contacts instead of add contacts. 

    After setting up chat contacts and when a user is staffing chat, that user will see other users under the "Contacts" heading and queues under the "Queues" heading. Guests always appear in the "LibraryH3lp" heading. If desired, you can customize these headings. For example, you could set up headings such that contacts are organized by home department.

    When users forget to logout

    There is no way for an administrator to force someone offline if that user has forgotten to logout. This is because chat clients have built-in logic to reconnect users who get disconnected and, if you try to boot the user, that user's chat client simply reconnects. As an administrator, the next best thing to do is opt that user out of the queue staffing assignments. The user remains logged in but, once opted out, their availability no longer impacts queue availability and so your queues will not remain falsely online.

    There is a red "Disable staffing" button that you can use to easily opt a user out queue assignments. 
    When the user is ready to staff again, that user can opt back into the queue staffing assignments just after logging into the webclient. Or you can use the "Enable staffing" button to opt the user back into the queue assignments.

    Administrative permissions

    You can have as many full administrators as you want for your subscription. Administrators have full access to all aspects of a subscription. Any user can be granted administrator privileges by adding them to the Administrators group.

    You can also create "mini-admins" to give users access to a sub-portion of the overall account. Mini-admins are a great way to provide a degree of isolation to departments sharing a subscription. For example, if a campus library manages the overall subscription, the admissions department can have one or more mini-admin users that will be able to manage the chat service for the admissions department without needing to bother the library folks every time they need to make a change. 

    But I loved the old page

    We've got you covered. There is a link to the old user management page from the new page. We're no longer maintaining the old page but do plan to keep it available for some time.





    Friday, January 14, 2022

    Staffing Assignments in the Webclient

    Friday, January 14, 2022
    Hope everyone is having a great new year so far! Let's talk about an important webclient change. 

    When you log into the webclient for your chat shift, you are greeted by a selection window that presents a list of queues. The selections you make in this window control whether or not you will receive incoming chats from guests. Also these selections are remembered from login to login so you don't have to set them every time you log in. Nothing new so far, right? What is new is that we've replaced the checkboxes with YES/NO buttons. We received a lot of excellent feedback from folks who pointed out that the old checkboxes were confusing. Please give these new buttons a go and see what you think!

    In order to receive incoming chats from guests, you need to be assigned as an operator on at least one queue AND you have to be opted into staffing the queue. Queues are how LibraryH3lp routes incoming chats from guests to multiple operators at the same time. 

    If you want to receive incoming chats from guests on a queue, make sure the "YES" button associated with that staffing assignment is green.

    Selection window seen when logging into the webclient for staffing

    If you DO NOT want to receive incoming chats from guests on a queue, make sure the "NO" button associated with that staffing assignment is red. For example, you might opt OUT of receiving chats on all of your staffing assignments when you want to log in but only chat with your colleagues. 

    When you are opted OUT of staffing at least one queue, you'll see a purple alert message which reminds you that you won't receive any chats from that queue while opted out.


    An alert message is shown when you are opted OUT of staffing at least one queue.

    In the selection window and at the bottom of your queue assignments list, there is a handy "Receive chats on ALL queues" checkbox. You can use this to ensure all staffing assignments are set to YES. Folks assigned to a lot of queues will find this checkbox especially useful. Also folks with a lot of staffing assignments may need to scroll in order to review them all before connecting.

    Fast forward. Let's say you've reviewed your staffing assignments and connected. What if you wish to change those staffing assignments later? You can do that without logging out and then back in! Look for the "Staffing Assignments" tab in the Contacts sidebar. The tab heading also reflects how many queues you are staffing from your assigned queues. For example in the screenshot below, I'm assigned to 3 queues and staffing all of them -- so 3 out of 3 or 3/3

    Click "Staffing Assignments" to opt in/out of queues after login.

    After you click "Staffing Assignments" in the contacts sidebar, you'll see the same YES/NO buttons as you did at login.

    Use the YES/NO buttons under "Staffing Assignments" to control whether or not you receive chats.

    As always, we appreciate constructive feedback on this and any other aspect of LibraryH3lp. If you have ideas you'd like to share, please email us at support@libraryh3lp.com.

    Why don't I see this change?

    We'll be rolling the change to each of the regional servers soon. Here's the release status so far (and we'll update this section as rollouts happen):
    • Singapore: January 14, 2022
    • Europe: January 14, 2022
    • Canada: January 15, 2022
    • Main (North America): January 29, 2022

    What happens if I don't use the webclient for staffing? 

    If you do not use the webclient for staffing, then you will not have the option to adjust staffing assignments within your chosen alternate chat client. If you need to change your staffing assignments, briefly log into the webclient to update the YES/NO button for each queue as desired. Then you can log back out of the webclient and resume staffing in your chose alternative chat client.

    Sunday, August 29, 2021

    2nd Generation Chat Box Coming to LibraryH3lp

    Sunday, August 29, 2021

    We hope everyone had a great summer. Fall is already upon us, and we wanted to share some big news: a next generation chat box is coming to LibraryH3lp packed with features you've been asking for. 

    But wait. There's more! We also want to show off some neat new features in the admin dashboard and webclient for staffing.

    We'll be rolling the new features described in this post to each of the regional servers soon. Here's the release status so far (and we'll update this section as rollouts happen):

    • Canada: August 29, 2021
    • Singapore: September 3, 2021
    • Europe: September 3, 2021
    • Main (North America): September 11, 2021

    Easier Chat History search

    It's now even easier to search chats in the Chat History page, which is common to both the admin dashboard and the webclient for staffing. As before, there's the area at the top of the page where you can search chats by date, transcript keywords, or most any bit of chat metadata either by typing you search parameters in the search box or by using the advanced search dropdown and filling out the search fields. 

    But now there are two new features: one-click narrowing of search parameters and easy-to-remove-search facets.

    When you visit the Chat History page, you'll see all the chats which match your current search criteria (this week's chats by default) in a table. We've added hyperlinks to the guest, protocol, queue, and operator fields in that table for each chat. Clicking on any of these links for a chat will automatically add the value of that field to your search so you can quickly narrow your search to a particular guest, protocol, queue, operator, or any combination of these metadata fields. You'll also see these fields added as facets to your search.

    Here's an example of the new search features in action:

    original search
    Before narrowing search by clicking on an operator hyperlink

    Clicking an operator name narrows the search to a particular operator and adds a facet

    If you want to remove search criteria and widen your search, click the X beside a facet to remove it.

    New Webclient Features

    Today's chats with the guest

    Each incoming guest chat over a queue now includes a history hyperlink as part of the chat metadata. Clicking that hyperlink lets you quickly view today's chats with that guest, which is especially handy for repeat guests who may have previously chatted with another operator or to refresh your memory on a prior chat with a guest.

    New "History" metadata on chats within the webclient. Click to see today's chats for the guest.

    Volume control for sound notifications

    And there is now a volume control for notification sounds under preferences so you can control the volume of webclient notification sounds relative to other system sounds and even quickly mute webclient sound notifications by setting the volume to zero.

    Volume control for webclient sound notifications


     2nd Generation Chat Box (Yay!)

    Without further ado, we're excited to announce the second generation LibraryH3lp chat box packed with lots of great new features. Don't worry, we haven't gone crazy with the redesign and guests who have used your chat box before will still find it familiar.

    Default 2nd generation chat box with no customized skin

    Upgrading your existing chat box skins is super simple in many cases and literally just takes a couple clicks. Plus upgrades are FREE. That's right, it's included with every subscription.

    Here are the new things that guests will see immediately after you upgrade:

    • more spacious typing area that auto-sizes based upon chat box dimensions
    • modernized icon set for chat features such as emailing transcripts
    • new icon to enable/disable visual notifications of new chat messages (pop-out and follow-me chat box styles only)
    • new icon to review and choose emojis to insert into the conversation
    • new icon to clear chat history which replaces the old 'Clear Chat History' button


    After you've upgraded the chat skin, you can then take advantage of some new features and customization options which include:

    • Add an optional, customizable greeting message that appears in the transcript area at the beginning of a conversation. This is separate and different from the concierge auto-response in that this message is NOT part of the chat transcript per se and appears to the guest before a chat starts.
    • Create and present a chat policy to guests and optionally require guests to acknowledge your chat policy before chatting.
    • Customize the 'Type here to chat. Press ENTER to send.' typing instructions for the chat box.
    • Disable file uploads for guests if you do not want guests sharing files with operators.


    NOTE: If you have a chat skin which is highly customized though advanced customizations in Wicked CSS Hacks, those customizations will be lost if you choose to upgrade through the default upgrade process. The reason that the contents of Wicked CSS Hacks are purposefully not preserved is because much of what is valid for a Generation 1 chat box is NOT valid for a Generation 2 chat box. That is, the old Wicked CSS Hacks content will likely just make your updated chat box look strange and is no longer needed. Please contact LibraryH3lp support if you'd like assistance upgrading any chat skin or have questions.


    Updated Chat Box Skin Editor

    Finally, we've redesigned the Chat Skin Editor in the admin dashboard. The new editor makes it easy to search your existing chat skins and see what each skin looks like at a glance.

    In the redesigned editor, you'll see an "Upgrade skin to latest generation" button when you edit any of your first generation chat skins. You can use this button to upgrade each skin.

    The redesigned Chat Skin Editor comes with some new, schnazzy features:
    • There are color pickers with built-in WCAG color contrast checkers to help you style your chat box skin while ensuring your skin meets color contrast accessibility standards.
    • Rich text editors are available for parts of the chat box where there is text content, like the title.
    • As before, you can see your changes to the chat box skin update in real-time. But now you can also click on the visualization of your skin to highlight the settings in the editor that are relevant to that portion of the skin.

    Redesigned Chat Skin Editor


    With the redesign, we've broken up the chat box skin settings into two groups -- Branding Basics and Additional Flair. The Branding Basics group represents the most commonly tweaked skin settings and Additional Flair is for other customizations which are less commonly tweaked.


    Saturday, May 22, 2021

    End to End Encryption (E2EE) for chats

    Saturday, May 22, 2021

    From the beginning, LibraryH3lp has been designed as a privacy-first application. Guests chat anonymously as there is no requirement or option for guests to enter any sort of identifying information such as email address or name to begin a chat. As a customer, you are the main custodian of your subscription data and control your internal users, queues, and transcript retention (which is an opt-in feature). In this vein, we are excited to offer a new optional feature for web-based chats -- end-to-end encryption.

    Released as follows:

    • Canada: May 22, 2021
    • Europe: May 29, 2021
    • Singapore: May 29, 2021
    • Main (North America): June 20, 2021

    What is end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and off the record messaging (OTR)?

    End-to-end encryption (E2EE) means that only the two parties (ends) participating in a chat can read the messages. No one else (including LibraryH3lp support personnel) can read the messages because the messages are encrypted. The specific cryptographic protocol used to encrypt chat messages is Off the Record Messaging (OTR).

    As a further proof against man-in-the-middle (MITM) eavesdropping, operators answering chats in the webclient for staffing can optionally provide the private key from a Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) key pair so that the guest's chat box (which has the matching public key fingerprint) can confirm that the answering operator is authorized to communicate with the guest.

    Note: E2EE/OTR is not available nor planned for SMS (texting) chats.

    Wait. Aren't chats encrypted by default?

    Yes. Even without setting up E2EE, guest chat boxes use HTTPS by default and the operator's webclient for staffing always uses HTTPS. With HTTPS, chat messages are encrypted in transit over the network. However unlike with E2EE chats, these chat transcripts can also be read by authenticated users that have appropriate permissions in Chat History while a chat is active, and also after a chat has ended if transcript storage has been enabled. Chat transcript retention provides the ability for later access and can be useful for things like training, data assessment/analysis, and personnel review.

    Even though this OTR chat is active, its transcript cannot be seen in Chat History.

    If my chats are already encrypted, why would I want to set up E2EE/OTR?

    Actually we anticipate that most customers will not set up E2EE/OTR, since messages are encrypted in transit via HTTPS and the ability for later transcript review is an important part of quality assurance, assessment, and training for many organizations.  

    However customers in countries with very strong data privacy regulations or any customer with stringent privacy requirements might be interested in E2EE. For example, if E2EE is configured, then there is no way for LibraryH3lp support staff to access chat transcripts, and that can be an important feature.

    Generally how does OTR work?

    The guest does not have to do anything special to initiate an OTR chat. Your local administrator sets up OTR ahead of time as part of the chat skin used for the chat box. When the guest sends a message to begin a chat, they'll see a brief "Connecting..." indicator which indicates the start of the OTR negotiation process which happens automatically and behind the scenes between the two ends of the conversation (the guest and the answering chat operator).

    When the chat goes out to the operator(s) in the webclient, the operators see a note that the chat is OTR and, instead of plainly seeing the guest's initial message(s), the operator(s) must first claim the chat by clicking a button. Only after an operator claims the chat, will the operator actually see the guest's message(s). The operator can close the chat window if the operator does not want to claim the chat, leaving it open for another receiving operator to claim.

    The chat operator cannot see the guest's messages until the operator claims the chat. Alternatively the operator can close the chat window, leaving the chat available for another receiving operator to claim.


    How do I enable OTR for my chat box skins?

    To get started, the local LibraryH3lp administrator generates a public key fingerprint / private key pairing for all chat box skins within the admin dashboard (US, CA, EU, SG) using the "Manage Off the Record Chat (E2EE)" button. We recommend regenerating the public key fingerprint and private key on a routine schedule as a best practice. Using keys for up to one month is generally considered safe, and the typical recommendation is to regenerate keys weekly.

    Refer to our how-to guide that walks you through the process and has lots of extra details and screenshots.