November 16, 2006
The Library Web Content Group is providing this interim report as we finalize the look, feel, and functionality of the proposed Library home page. We had hoped to provide CAPT with a functional page at this point, but production has been delayed primarily due to the loss of personnel available to “bring the pages to life.” This has been remedied to some extent, but the production work has not yet been finalized since the last meeting of the group on November 8. We will still need to run the first four to six usability sessions with naïve users before we can make our complete recommendations. In the meantime, aside from the final design of the page, we strongly recommend the following actions be taken to provide service to our users. In providing these recommendations, we have adhered to the guidelines developed for this project.
We strongly suggest a Development Team of several individuals be brought together to provide ongoing assessment and development for the library website. The team should consist of an expert in CSS/HTML and the CMS system, a graphic designer with exceptional web development skills, a usability specialist, and at least one individual working in the delivery of public services. It is further suggested that the majority of the individuals involved in the Development Team have experience working “on the ground” with users of the library. The position of Webmaster for the Library should head this development team. This individual should possess either the graphic/web design skills, or programmer/CMS specialist skills, but must in either event, have a strong background in managing a large web presence and an understanding of the issues of accessibility, web standards, graphic design and layout standards, and the importance of training in the use of the CMS and timely update procedures.
The Webmaster and his/her team should have joint reporting and consultation responsibilities to the AUL for Information Technology, the AUL for Services, and the AUL for Collections. Our website, and the services it provides, is too important to the success of the University Library to be isolated under a single rubric. Although tradition does not support this model of reporting, it is a time to step away from the traditional model and look toward the future of the University Library.
The following categories have been identified for placement on the front page of the website. (Please see associated image) We have tentatively indicated the specific party or parties that should be responsible for the development of these next level pages. Several alternatives have been presented to us concerning “responsibility” for the production of pages including Central Public Services, the Advisory Committee to the AUL for Services, the Systems Office, and subject specialist and public service librarians. We have over 50,000 web pages in our collection. No one unit, department, or library can hope to take on the responsibility for building all of these alone. In addition, we have made a commitment to the Department of Disability Resources and Educational Services to comply with the latest in accessibility guidelines for all of our pages. This really has to be a joint effort on all of our parts, and perhaps this is the impetus that has been missing in the past iterations of the website. The implication of this is that a comprehensive and evenly applied program of training in the use of the CMS, including accessibility, must be developed at the earliest date possible.
Quick Links - Electronic Resources (ORR)
(additional items may be identified by the Systems Office via review of transaction logs)
Find – Books (catalog links)
Articles – using Search Assistant and other resources
Journals – using the Journal Finder developed by Grainger Library
Reference – include also Statistics, Maps, Standards, and Patent
Other – add Grant Information
About Us – House/locations - leads to the equivalent of the current print list
Libraries/collections - leads to maps, unit directory
Contact Us - leads to telephone directory
Jobs – identified as useful links by patrons
Services – Borrowing/Interlibrary Loan – ILL department updates
Computing/Printing – similar to information provided by Systems Office
Accessibility – Mary Beth and others?
Get Help – How to Use the Library – Coordinator for Instruction….
Ask a Librarian – default page
FAQs – responsibility of CPS
Workshops – Undergraduate Instruction Librarian, et al.
Browse by Subject – Subjects A-Z – responsibility of subject specialists
Libraries by College/Major – responsibility of unit libraries
Resources – Undergraduate
Boundless – links to a paragraph of facts or accomplishments provided by the
News and Events – Library specific news
More…. – leads to aggregated list from campus
Library Friends – About the Friends
Donate to the Library
Gifts at Work
Buy a Book Service (BABS)
More…. – all of these pages are supported and updated by the
At the bottom of the page, to the right at the same level as Contact Webmaster “Staff Access” provides access to an intranet that runs through the BlueStem server or its equivalent.
The header for secondary pages is currently in process and includes color coded tabs leading back to the homepage, a banner branding the page with the Library and the University, an identifier for the information found on the page (e.g. political science, geology, circulation, etc.), and breadcrumbs to allow the user to work his/her way back.
We cannot emphasize enough that the website, like the University Library, is a growing, changing entity. In the opening section of this report we mentioned administration of the first four to six usability tests for the site. The website is not something that will be done at any point in time. It must be flexible and responsive to the needs of our users. It must reflect changes in the collections and services provided by the Library and the technological tools we have at our disposal. Remember gopher or telnet or bitnet? We need resources directed in many divergent areas in the Library, but most of all, we need resources directed to our web presence to enable our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and larger public to understand and access the information we are providing.
Submitted by members of the Library Web Content Group:
Lynne Rudasill, Chair