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Embedding your LibAnswers and LibChat content in an LMS, discovery service, or other systems

One way you can expand the reach of your chat reference service is by embedding LibChat widgets in your Learning Management System (LMS), discovery service, or other third-party system. There are a few ways in which you can do this. Please work with your institution's local admin(s) to see which option will work best for you.


Using the LibApps LTI tool

LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability - it's a standard for integrating tools from third-party services into Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace / Desire2Learn, Moodle, Sakai, etc. In terms of Springshare's products, it's a way to seamlessly integrate Springshare content into your LMS.

Not only does this include easily displaying relevant LibGuides in your LMS courses, but it also allows you to include your LibAnswers content, as well -- all without having to embed any code directly into your LMS.

This can be done through the LibApps LTI Automagic tool, which (auto)magically brings together relevant content for each course on a single landing page! This allows you to share a ton of library information, including:

  • Links to related guides / e-reserves courses,
  • a link to your A-Z Database page (optionally customized to a subject),
  • LibAnswers widgets: LibChat & Search,
  • LibCal widgets (if you subscribe to LibCal): Room Bookings / Spaces, Appointment Scheduling, Today's Hours.

The LibApps LTI Tool is available as part of LibGuides CMS. Not yet a CMS subscriber? Contact our Springy Sales Team for more details. Not only will you get the LTI tool, but you'll also unlock additional LibGuides functionality that will level-up your LibGuiding!

Already a CMS subscriber? Great, you're ready to get started! Check out our article How to set up and use the LibApps LTI tools in your learning / course management system. The Using the LTI Automagic tool section will help you configure the LTI within the most popular LMSes.

You'll want to work closely with your LibApps Admin (if that's not you), as well as your LMS Admin(s) to get this set up.


Using the embed code for LibChat and LibAnswers widgets

If your LMS supports embedding JavaScript code and you have permission to do so, then you should be able to copy and paste the embed code already provided by LibChat. Each widget will have a <script> element and a <div> element, with the <script> generating the chat widget inside of the accompanying <div>. (Not allowed to embed JavaScript code into your LMS? Check out the Using a non-JavaScript embed section option below.)

Although you will likely get the best results using an In-Page (Embed) type of chat widget, you could explore the button pop-out, slide-out tab, and floating type widgets, too. FAQ, Search, and Question Form widgets also have in-page and pop-out options, as well.

Again, please consult with your LMS admin to see which type of widget would work best within your system. If your LMS does not allow code to be embedded, we encourage you to check out the LibApps LTI Automagic tool. Not only is it easier to integrate into multiple courses, but you'll also benefit from displaying your widgets alongside relevant content from LibGuides and LibCal, too!

For more info about create and embedding widgets, check out the following help articles:


Using a non-JavaScript embed for LibChat

If your LMS does not allow you to embed HTML code that includes <script> elements, or you do not have permission to do so, there is another option for adding a LibChat widget to your LMS. This method will still work to allow students to chat, but please note that the student will not be able to see the online/offline status (i.e. if it’s online or offline directly from the course page). However, if you are using our 24/7 LibChat Co-Op, this will not be a big issue. :)

Please note: these steps require the use of an In-Page (Embed) type of chat widget. If you do not currently have one set up, please create a new one before continuing.

Once you have an in-page widget ready, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into LibAnswers and go to LibChat > Chat Widgets.
  2. Locate the In-Page (Embed) type widget you want to use and click on its View Widget Code () icon in the Actions column.
  3. In the Widget Code window that pops up, copy and paste just the <script> tag code into a text editor (such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on macOS).
  4. In your text editor, change both "script" elements to "iframe" elements. For example:
<script src="https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/load_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166"></script>

would become:

<iframe src="https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/load_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166"></iframe>
  1. In the source (src) URL, change load_chat.php to widget_chat.php, like so:
<iframe src="https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/widget_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166"></iframe>
  1. Copy and paste the following inside the opening <iframe> tag to give it an initial height and width:
style="width: 100%; height: 340px;"

You should end up with something that looks like this:

<iframe src="https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/widget_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166" 
style="width: 100%; height: 340px;"></iframe>

Now you have the code you need to display your widget. Again, please consult with your LMS admin to see which option would work best within your system. If your LMS does not allow code to be embedded, we encourage you to check out the LibApps LTI Automagic tool. Not only is it easier to integrate into multiple courses, but you'll also benefit from displaying your LibChat widget alongside relevant content from LibGuides and LibCal, too!


Linking to a chat widget

Using a similar method to the above, it is possible to view a chat widget in its own browser window/tab. Again, these steps require the use of an In-Page (Embed) type of chat widget. If you do not currently have one set up, please create a new one before continuing.

Once you have an in-page widget ready, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into LibAnswers and go to LibChat > Chat Widgets.
  2. Locate the In-Page (Embed) type widget you want to use and click on its View Widget Code () icon in the Actions column.
  3. In the Widget Code window that pops up, copy and paste just the <script> tag code into a text editor (such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on macOS).
  4. In your text editor, delete everything except for the src URL. For example:
<script src="https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/load_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166"></script>

would become:

https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/load_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166
  1. In the URL, change load_chat.php to widget_chat.php, like so:
https://yourlibrary.libanswers.com/widget_chat.php?hash=foobar0ed21a265dec0c451a9e336166

Now you have the URL you need to link to widget!

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