What Is the Automagic Tool & Where Can I Use It?
The Automagic tool allows you to automatically display guides, E-Reserves courses, and/or subject-focused Database lists by matching a field value from a course in your Learning Management System (LMS) to a metadata value in your LibGuides system. If the values match, that item is (or those items are) displayed! As just noted, you can have more than 1 item match - whether that's multiple guides, multiple courses, or guide(s) + course(s) + a subject is up to you.
Please note that only Published guides are listed. Guides that have a Guide Status of Private or Unpublished, a Guide Type of "Internal Guide" or "Template Guide", or guides assigned to an Internal group (CMS only) will not be displayed.
This tool can be used in any system that supports the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) protocol. Most often, these are supported in LMS systems like Blackboard, Canvas, D2L, Moodle, Sakai, etc.
Why Would I Want to Use It?
- Less work on the LMS side of things.
- Faculty don't have to add links and select content, like they would with the Manual tool (or just manually adding a link to the library's website).
- Librarians don't have to both work in LibGuides (to create content) and work in the LMS to add all of the links (whether using the Manual tool or adding links out to their system).
- Less access required within the LMS.
Librarians do not need to be given access to courses within the LMS to add library content course-by-course.
- All work can be done within LibGuides.
Once the tool has been added to the LMS by LMS Admins, the rest of the work is done in LibGuides! Creation and curation of guides / courses / subjects, addition / modification / removal of metadata so those items can be displayed in the LMS, etc.
- Update content at any time!
Update an existing guide with new resources or create a new guide for a course or assignment last minute. Just add the appropriate metadata, publish it, and it's immediately available in the LMS course!
- Statistics on guide / course use are still tracked when using LTI - just look for a referrer coming from your LMS domain OR look on the LibApps LTI Tool Builder area's Instance Details page.
How Does It Work?
It's as easy as 1-2-3!
- LMS Admins install the tool in your LMS system.
- Librarians define which fields to match on: one from the LMS and a metadata field defined for LibGuides & set other configuration options.
- Librarians add the appropriate metadata to guides, courses, and/or subjects.
Once those 3 steps are complete, students click the link in their course and the appropriate content displays!
For example, let's say we choose to match the course number field from our LMS to our LibGuides metadata & have set up the appropriate metadata in our guides. When someone in a course with the course number BUS150 clicks the Automagic link in the course, the LTI tool receives the value BUS150 and tries to match that with metadata in LibGuides.
- If it finds a guide match, it displays that guide.
- And/or if it finds an E-Reserves course match, it displays that course page.
- And/or if it finds a subject match, it displays a link to databases / a profile list limited to that subject.
You can match however many items as you want: a single guide or multiple guides...a single course or multiple courses...a single subject. You can even match one or more guides along with one or more courses and a subject. Exactly how it displays depends on other options you can configure. The default scenario is:
- If a single guide OR course is matched, that guide or course displays.
- If a subject is matched OR any combination of guides, courses, and subject are matched, the "Library LTI" page is displayed. This page lists all matches, plus offers additional options like widgets from your LibCal and LibAnswers systems.
- If there are no matches, the "Library LTI" page is displayed.
Additional configuration options allow you to always display the "Library LTI" page, even if there's only one match (so students see the Spaces widget from LibCal and/or the LibChat widget from LibAnswers) and you can set "failover" guides to display if there is no guide match.
You also have a couple of options for how the match is searched: stepped search and translation table.
- Stepped Search takes the value from the LMS and searches the whole string. If it finds a match, it stops. If it doesn't, it removes one character from the end and tries again. This process loops until matches are found or the string is exhausted. Learn more.
- Translation Table is a file you upload that lists the possible values from the LMS in one column, then the string that ought to be searched in LibGuides in the next 3 columns (guide, course, subject). This is a great option if you need to match on at least 2 completely different values in your LibGuides system or want to match many courses to a single guide (e.g., a general subject research guide that could apply to all courses in the English department). Learn more.
It's a lot to explain because it's a very powerful tool, but the general configuration options are a "set it and forget it" type of thing. Once you find your preference, you won't likely change the settings. Future maintenance is mainly around metadata for new courses.