Setting up LibInsight Full for the first time

We know - getting a new system is both really exciting and fairly daunting all at the same time. You have this shiny new system...with nothing in it. What do you do with this totally empty system?? Let's walk through the things you ought to learn & discuss before you start setting up your system and then help you set everything up!

Are you a new LibInsight Lite customer? This Springboard is geared towards users getting started with the full version of LibInsight. If you are getting started with a new LibInsight Lite system, don't worry -- we have a Springboard tailor made for you! Learn more about setting up LibInsight Lite for the first time.

Who is this Springboard for?

While it's initially sent to the first Admin level user created in the system, that doesn't mean only that person should take a look! (Unless you're a solo librarian...then it just makes sense, of course! ;) ) This guide is for anyone who is helping to initially set up the system. Others may or may not be Admin level users in the system, but they can still understand the options and help discuss / form the plan for how you'll use the system, so feel free to share the information!

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Step 1. Configure your system settings

Before you start adding user accounts for your colleagues, it can be helpful to get your system settings configured first. This will make sure that all of the settings are the way you want before users start adding data to your datasets (more on those below) in your system. The most important of these is the Your Local Time setting, as this affects things like automatic timestamp recording, date/time-based analysis reports, and more, so be sure to select the proper time zone for your system.

Learn more

Step 2. Add user accounts

This is where you can start giving your colleagues access to LibInsight. When you add an account, be sure to select the appropriate level of permissions for that user, based upon how you need them to use the system. For example, if you will have other folks helping you manage the system, you'll want to make sure they have admin-level access.

If you want to allow someone to record data to, administer, and/or analyze a dataset, then they need to have at least a regular-level account. 

Once you've given everyone access, encourage them to explore the system hands-on. Don't forget to share our documentation and training resources, too, in case they need any help!

Learn more

Step 3. Set up your datasets

LibInsight allows you to create and set up an unlimited number of datasets to collect and analyze data for all aspects of your library. There are a variety of pre-built datasets that focus on e-resources usage, circulation and acquisition analytics, budget analysis, and gate counts. In addition to the pre-built datasets, you are also able to create your own custom dataset for your own unique data-gathering needs. LibInsight's custom datasets can handle any number of fields and field types, form layouts, report variations, etc. -- enabling you to define specific fields and data points relevant to your library's statistics scenarios.

Setting up your datasets can be a collaborative effort, especially if you'll have multiple staff members managing datasets, recording data, and running analysis. Just keep in mind as you're setting up your datasets that system admins and regular-level users that have been given permission to define and administer a dataset are the only people who can manage each dataset's settings. All other regular users will only be able to add records and use the dataset in analysis and dashboards if they've been given permission to do so. With this level of dataset-specific permission control, you'll want to make sure your staff all have the necessary access to your datasets.

With that in mind, knowing what data you want to collect is essential for determining what datasets you'll need to create. The specific dataset types available to you in LibInsight -- with a link to each type's "everything you need to know" Springboard -- follows: 

  • Acquisitions: record either individual transactions or just your aggregate monthly acquisitions. These datasets are designed to import acquisitions data that you've exported from your ILS, so the type of recording option you choose should correspond to the type of data you are exporting.
  • Calendaring: keep track of the number of room reservations, librarian appointments, and events at your library. If you subscribe to LibCal, you can actually sync this data automatically from your Room Bookings module, Appointments, and Calendars.
  • Circulation: record either individual transactions or just your aggregate monthly transactions. These datasets are designed to import circulation data that you've exported from your ILS, so the type of recording option you choose should correspond to the type of data you are exporting.
  • Counts/Aggregate: record and analyze data in a tabular format. This type of dataset is ideal when you want to gather and record daily, monthly, or yearly totals for something. Unlike a Custom dataset, where records are analyzed based upon each record's timestamp, records in the Counts/Aggregate dataset area analyzed by the day, month, or year you provide. 
  • Custom:  design your own dataset from scratch, so that you can analyze data for just about anything! You define the type of date/time stamp to use, as well as the different types of fields (such as text entry, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc.). These types of datasets are great for time-based or transactional data, such as: reference questions, instruction session requests, pre- and post-session assessments, or feedback surveys.
  • E-Journals/Databases - r4: analyze the usage of all of your e-journals and databases in one place. This dataset supports the uploading of COUNTER r4 files, in addition to the harvesting of SUSHI data directly from your providers. If you happen to have a resource that does not support COUNTER r4 or SUSHI, no worries! You can manually enter or upload generic usage data, as well.
    • Note: before setting up an E-Journals/Databases dataset, you may want to consider using the E-Resources/COUNTER 5 dataset instead as compliant providers were required to start providing r5 reports in January 2019. If you're just starting to collect and analyze your e-resources usage, using that is recommended.
  • E-Resources/COUNTER 5: analyze e-journal, ebook, and database usage from COUNTER 5-compliant vendors. Currently, you can import (via SUSHI harvesting) the Title Master Report, the Platform Master Report, and the Database Master Report for any providers you set up. (The Item Master Report will be coming soon.)
  • eBooks - r4: analyze the usage of all of your eBook platforms in one place. This dataset supports the uploading of COUNTER r4 files, in addition to the harvesting of SUSHI data directly from your providers. If you happen to have a platform that does not support COUNTER r4 or SUSHI, no worries! You can manually enter or upload generic usage data, as well.
    • Note: as was the case with the E-Journals/Databases dataset, you may also want to consider using the E-Resources/COUNTER 5 dataset instead of the eBooks dataset. 
  • Finance:  analyze your library's revenues and expenditures over time. 
  • Gate Count: analyze the foot traffic at one or more locations. This includes hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly breakdowns of your gate counts, with breakdowns by day of the week, weekend vs. weekday, location, and month.
  • Google Analytics: provides you with key metrics for any website you're tracking with Google Analytics.
  • ILL: record and analyze your aggregate interlibrary loan data.
  • LibGuides: analyze the total number of public page views, user sessions (if you have CMS), and published vs. total guides for your LibGuides system.
  • Reference: track your reference data in one of three ways: by connecting the dataset to your LibAnswers system to automatically keep track of the number of tickets, SMS messages, and LibChat sessions with your patrons, as well as the number of FAQs views in your system; recording aggregate number of tickets/questions, SMS messages, chats, and/or FAQs views from another reference system; or by recording individual reference questions, with data such as the question asked, the answer provided, who answered the question, and more.
  • Shared: custom datasets that allow you to collaborate with other libraries using LibInsight.

Step 4. Start recording/uploading data

Once you have your datasets setup, you can start recording and uploading data. When adding data, the method you will be using can vary between manually adding records, uploading it in bulk via spreadsheet uploads, or automatically harvesting it via SUSHI. Depending on the dataset, you may be able to record and/or upload data in bulk or you may be limited to one particular method. For example, with the E-Resources/COUNTER 5 dataset, new data can only be added to it by fetching it via SUSHI. You can choose to manually run the harvest or schedule harvests on a recurring basis, but no new data can be added manually or via spreadsheet upload. Conversely, custom datasets can have new data added by manually entering records within LibInsight, spreadsheet upload, or from outside of LibInsight with widgets and the API.

Learn more

See the previous section (Step 3. Set up your datasets) for more information on adding data for each dataset type. (And remember to have the permissions set up for each dataset to allow your regular-level users to record data to it.)

Step 5. Analyzing data

While analyzing your data isn't part of your initial set up of LibInsight, it is the reason why you have gone through the first four steps above. Once you have some data in your datasets, you can utilize LibInsight's powerful analysis tools to get a better understanding of what the data you've collected means. For each of your datasets, you will have a variety of reports and charts available for you to be able to analyze most effectively. 

In addition, LibInsight includes other tools to help you analyze, visualize, and share your data with others:

  • Dashboards: dashboards allow you to display charts of key data points from one or more datasets on a single page. Dashboard pages can be public or private, allowing you to create and share dashboards internally with staff or with the public. You can get more information on dashboards in Step 6.
  • Cross-Dataset Analysis: allows you to compare up to 4 variables from across one or more datasets. This can provide some really useful insight for seeing trends across services or resources over time.

Learn more

See the previous section (Step 3. Set up your datasets) for more information on analyzing data for each dataset type. (And as was the case with recording data, remember to have the permissions setup for each dataset to allow your regular-level users to use the dataset in analysis and dashboards.)

Step 6. Set up dashboards

If you want to take your analysis a step further, while also giving others a look at the data you've been collecting, you can set up dashboards. Dashboards allow you to create shareable custom pages that provide a broad overview of the library's metrics. Dashboards can be used internally, or you can create public-facing dashboards to give your community real-time insight into the usage of their library's services.

Learn more

Setup Checklist

Before you go, consider reviewing the following checklist to make sure you have everything set up and ready for action. If you missed something, no worries! Check out the sections above for help tying up any loose ends.

System settings

  • Have you configured your system settings, such as date & time settings and access rules?
  • Have you added any custom header, footer, and JS/CSS code to style your site?

User accounts

  • Does everyone who needs a user account have one? (Remember: a staff member must at least have a Regular account to be able to record and/or analyze data.)
  • Have you set up each user's dataset permissions, as needed?
  • Has each user been introduced to LibInsight, including what datasets they have access to, how to record data, and how to analyze the data?


  • Do you know what data you want to collect?
  • Have you created all of the datasets that you need to collect that data?
  • For your E-Resources/COUNTER 5, E-Journals/Databases - r4, and eBooks - r4 datasets, have you set up the necessary SUSHI providers and created the platforms within each dataset?
  • Do your Regular users have access to the datasets where they need to record data?
  • Have you instructed your staff on who should be recording data, when/how often that data should be recorded?

Analysis & Dashboards

  • Do you have a plan in place for who will be running analysis on the data you're collecting?
  • Do your Regular users that will be running analysis and creating dashboards have the proper access to each dataset to allow them to do so?
  • Do you have dashboards created to provide an overview of your data? If not, do you have a plan for who should create dashboards and what data should be added to them?

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