Creating an IOS WebApp icon for your Mobile Libguide

We’re in the final testing stages of launching our mobile website which is built on CampusGuides. It’s been an exciting project!

One of the little details that I wanted to get right was an app icon for our LibGuides system. Right now, Springshare does not allow you to modify the mobile settings on a group basis, like you can with the desktop version. However we can create a mobile icon for the whole of your LibGuide system.

Here’s how to do it.

Create an icon for your system. Something small, with little to no text, and sized around 57×57 for the iPhone.


This is ours. It’s 57×51 pixels, a transparent background PNG file.

Now, upload this file somewhere in your LibGuides system. I have a special LibGuide for our Library Brand Book, so this is just one more entry in my official images list.

Copy the link to the file name.

In your Admin page go to Systems Settings > Mobile Settings

In the ‘Custom <Head> Code’ field paste this string

<link rel=”apple-touch-icon” href=”[LINK TO YOUR IMAGE]”/>

IOS automatically rounds the corners of the image and adds the gloss to it.



If you have some fancy photoshop skills, you can create your own custom image with rounded corners and a look of your choice, in that case the META tag will look like this

<link rel=”apple-touch-icon-precomposed” href=”[LINK TO YOUR IMAGE]”/>

This is one of those easy touches that really make your LibGuide system look professional.

More on Direct Linking to Bib Records with VTLS Virtua

As mentioned in a previous post, I had a question from a colleague in New York City about direct linking to bibliographic records in the VTLS Virtua OPAC.

Here’s what was discovered.

You can link directly to an Item list record by using a URL as follows.

You can link directly to a Full Record by using a URL as follows

You can link directly to a MARC record by using a URL as follows

Let’s break that down as to how and why that works. The part of the URL that controls this is the &function= portion of the URL.

&function=INITREQ leads to the Item List

&function=CARDSCR leads to the Full Card view

&function=MARCSCR leads to the MARC record view

If you want to try this out on your own VTLS system, replace everything before the ? sign with your own base URL for your iPortal.

Ours at CNA-Q is so the URLs for us would be.




We are running VTLS Virtua 48, so your own system may differ in some substantial ways. I found this set of URL patterns by looking at the default links on the default skin for the VTLS 48 iPortal.

Direct Linking to Subject Searches in Virtua

I got a question from a colleague New York City about creating links to subject searches in VTLS. In other conversations with other VTLS users I’ve realized that this may or may not work depending on which version of Virtua you are running.

The principles behind it are common across VTLS systems, so you may need to experiment until you find a solution. I figured this out by looking at the default searches in the iPortal, combined with some work searching the Virtua documentation.

To do a subject search, here’s the URL pattern

u1=21 means Subject Search. This will search your LC subject headings

t1=substance%20abuse%20treatment is your search.

When you have spaces between works you need to use URL Encoding to pass on exactly what you mean to Virtua for your search.

Lessons Learned from using an Appreciative Inquiry to define a presentation

I used the interview idea from AI to define the scope of my presentation during CNA-Q’s PD days. The topic was Apps in the Classroom, and you can find the link here

My intention was to use the interviews and summary sheets to define how much information, and what kind of information was presented during my session. The activities went like this

20 minutes for interviews & summary sheets

10 minutes discussion on themes that emerged.

I was prepared for a longer presentation on using Apps in the Classroom, and I was hoping to talk on a higher level about the role of smartphones in education.

What emerged from the interviews and the summary sheets was that the session participants were interested in the following

1. Demonstrations

2. Where to find applications.

3. How to gain more experience with mobile devices.

The result of this initial inquiry made me shift my presentation. We covered the difference between webapps and native apps, what you could do with a device (as a mouse, as a presentation device, as a dictionary) and we covered how to find free applications.

In the end, I directed everyone to the website for more information.

I learned from this that the people in the presentation knew what they wanted to get out of the presentation. I’m not the expert in what they need. I poured a lot of my higher-level ideas into the website for the presentation, and it’s seen some significant use already.

Crossposted at Appreciative Inquiry Positive Changes Ning