Getting started with the Systems Status Management tool

The System Status Management (SSM) tool allows you to provide staff and patrons with status updates about your various systems and services. Through the System Status Dashboard, you can let patrons know whether your online catalog is down for maintenance, a database has new features, or even if a printer is out of order. Each "product" you add (whether it's an online system like a database, a physical piece of equipment, or even a library space or service) can have its own status and informational posts.

Example of the public system status dashboard

In addition to providing status updates, you can also use the SSM tool to provide point-of-need help and gather feedback from patrons. When you add a product to your SSM tool, it will have its own unique widget that can be used to search related FAQs in LibAnswers, submit a ticket to your queue, submit an idea for a new feature, and even use LibChat to get live help.

Widgets have the option to be embedded as buttons, or as tabs that hang out on the side of the screen. If your system allows you to embed HTML code, this can make it easier for you to place your widget right within the product itself.

For example, if you have the ability to customize your library catalog's webpage, you could embed your product widget as a side-tab that reads "Support" or "Catalog Help". If a patron clicks on the tab, the widget will appear where they can:

  • Ask a question: as they type, related FAQs from your LibAnswers system will appear that may help them find an answer. Otherwise, they can submit their question to one of your ticket queues so a library staff member can follow up.
  • Report a problem: if a user encounters an issue with a particular system, they can easily report it. This will go to your ticket queue with a special tag letting staff know that a problem is being reported for that product.
  • Share an idea: if a user has a suggestion or request for new features/resources, they can submit an idea for the product. These can be voted on by other users via your public system status dashboard for that product.
  • Give praise: if a user just wants to give the library a kudos about a particular system, they can do that, too! This will go to your ticket queue with a special tag letting staff know it's praise, rather than a problem, for that product. This can allow staff to review the feedback and follow up, if they'd like.

Questions, problems, and praise go to your LibAnswers queue, allowing you to follow up with patrons just like you would with tickets submitted via email or your queue's question form. The big difference is that these tickets will automatically be tagged as related to a product, so you can more easily identify them.

Setting up the Systems Status Management tool

User access

By default, only Admin users can customize the Systems Status Management tool, add posts, and update statuses. Although all Regular users can view the status dashboards, they must be given permission before they can manage posts, statuses, and/or settings. If you'd like Regular users to add & manage posts, statuses, and ideas, you can assign them the Editor permission. To also allow them to manage products and settings, you can assign them the Admin permission.


Before you start adding products, posts, etc., it's a good idea to first customize the Systems Status Management tool settings. This will give you the ability to add and edit the statuses you can assign to products and the category types that you can assign to posts. You can also make customizations to the public dashboard page layout, including adding and editing folders which you can use to organize products.


The Systems Status Management tool revolves around your products. A product represents a system, space, service, or really anything for which you want to provide status updates. Each product you create will:

  • Appear on your public and internal System Status dashboards
  • Display its own status and posts
  • Have its own customizable widget to provide point-of-need help
  • Be assigned its own unique product tag, which will be used to identify all tickets submitted via that product's widget

For example, if you added a product for your library catalog, you would be able to assign it a status (such as "Normal" or "Outage") and publish posts (such as for planned downtime or new features), both of which will be displayed on your dashboard. This will let patrons and staff know what's new, what's coming up, and what's happening currently. And, if you embedded the product widget directly into your catalog pages, patrons would be able to search for help, ask questions, report issues, or submit ideas -- all without leaving the catalog itself.


Widgets are a powerful part of the Systems Status Management tool.

  • Each product you add to the System Status Management (SSM) tool has its own customizable widget. By embedding the widget in a webpage for a system or service, you can provide your patrons with point-of-need support, including related FAQs and LibGuides, as well as a built-in chat widget and question form.
  • The Systems Status Dashboard widget provides the current status of each product, which can be handy in places like your library website, a staff intranet page, your LibGuides A-Z database list, etc. When a user clicks on a product link, they've be taken to that product's dashboard page, where they can view its posts.

For example, if you created a product for your library catalog, you could embed its widget into your catalog's webpages. Users could click on the widget to quickly ask a question, with related FAQs appearing as they type. If the FAQs don't answer their question, they can easily submit it as a ticket to one of your queues.

[Return to top]

Updating product statuses & creating posts

A product's status is used to indicate its availability. For example, a status of "Normal" can be used to indicate that everything is running smoothly, while a status of "Issue Reported" or "Outage" can be used to indicate when a product has limited or no availability.

Posts can be used to share information about a product, including providing details about a change in a product's status. For example, when updating a product's status to "Issue Reported", you could also add a post that provides more details on the issues and what's affected.

A post does not need to coincide with a status change, though. For example, you could share a post with information about upcoming or newly released features. Posts can also be kept internal, as well, so that only logged-in users can view them. This may be appropriate for sharing information about upcoming training, subscription changes, etc.

[Return to top]  

Managing feedback & ideas

When users submit feedback via your product widgets, what happens next depends upon the type of feedback provided.

  • Questions, problems, or praise: these are submitted as tickets to your queue, tagged to identify the product widget used.
  • Ideas: these are submitted to your system's Ideas list, which is managed separately from your tickets.

Tickets generated by your product widgets can be handled just like any other ticket you receive -- the only difference is that your product feedback tickets will have special tags to help you identify them. Ideas, on the other hand, are managed separately by those users who have access to your Systems Status Management tool. When an idea arrives, it must first be reviewed and published before the public can view it. Once published, users can actually vote on the idea to indicate their support of the idea. This can help you get a sense of how popular a new feature or service might be.

[Return to top]  

Related Springboards