Library Committee Handbook

Web Content Working Group

Library Web Content Working Group Meeting Minutes September 16, 2008

Library Web Content Working Group
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Meeting Minutes
Main Library 423

In Attendance

John Weible, Lynne Rudasill, Lori Mestre, Robert Slater, Darlene Chirolas, Jenny Emanuel, Laura Hanson, Helen Zhou, Bill Mischo, David Ward

Laura Hanson was welcomed to the team. She will be replacing Mary Beth Allen.

1. Review the Library Web Content Policy

The focus of policy review today is the language for ensuring a consistent look and feel for all library web pages.

There was originally a charge from library administration for the Web Content Working group to put in place technical measures and policies that would ensure uniformity of branding across all library web sites/pages. The group has pursued this goal by developing a standard header and footer for use on all library web pages. The issue had been raised in CAPT recently of whether requiring this type of branding infringed on our librarians academic freedoms, in particular in light of the creation of instructional materials. A review of the relevant policies and guidelines hasn’t uncovered any language that would categorize the use of a header, footer, or other template elements as an infringement on academic freedom/free speech, most importantly the University Statutes, Article X Academic Freedom and tenure, Section 2. Academic Freedom( and the Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter #, Section Academic Freedom and Faculty Responsibility (

Lori raises the issue of self contained tutorials (like those produced by Digital Literacy and reference using Camtasia). Should the policy require that the opening screen and closing screens of presentations like this (bookends) have the Library’s visual identity/branding of the content, as opposed to requiring that the header/footer branding be enforced across the entire presentation? To require it be across the entire presentation could be distracting and encroach on already limited screen space. The group decided that self contained, multi-screen items (like flash files or powerpoint) would only be required to bookend their content with library branding. However, when the content is embedded within a web page, the web page itself must use the library header and footer.

The group wondered what should be done with sites that have already been (or might be in the future) developed to use their own design. An example that was raised was the global news village ( The group decided that sites like this would need to wrap their own content/presentation within the library branding, and that updating the village page (above) to use the new design as an example would be worth pursuing. Robert is tracking down the currently assigned content owner for this page to see about moving this content either in to the CMS, or applying library branding at its current location.

Prior to launching the new gateway and beginning unit conversion into the CMS, some library units had already raised concerns that they were with the site wide header and footer. We may have units that do not want to apply the branding because they are unhappy with the look of the header, or the amount of space that it occupies. Beth Sandore reiterated the importance of applying a consistent look and fell on all library web pages, and that as far as library administration is concerned, the header and footer should be considered campus/library real estate, as opposed to a unit controlled area.

The group decided that to accommodate the range of needs our users have in developing their own content in various formats, several branding options should be developed including the design of a smaller header for web pages, and images for use on smaller projects (like PowerPoint presentations). In these cases, we would use just the text “University Library , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” the I-Mark, and the library gateway color scheme. Robert will work on developing these for review at our next meeting.

The group decided that even if the content is hosted outside the university library network, content that is created by/for the university library (or any library unit) or by a library staff member as part of their job responsibilities for some university entity, then it must use a version of the library header (full or light-weight branding options). If content is presented in a way that presents the program, initiative, or content as being created by or for the library then it must use one of the library branding options.

The only exception to this policy is when library content is being provided through a service where units/individual do not have control of the header/footer area, or are in any way limited from applying library branding. In these cases, every effort must be made to reference the library, either in text or using a library graphic, linking back to the library gateway or a page on one of the Library’s web servers.

The group would like a library staff wide message sent out with information about, and links to examples of, including the I-mark , University Library, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign text on PowerPoint presentation. As a future agenda item, we may want to consider adding a requirement that PowerPoint files, at least those posted on the web, must include the Library Branding along with the required University branding. Robert will add links to the ppt templates the University is currently supplying to the WTCC page, as well as sending out an email regarding this to library staff.

The policy will be updated with information clearly stating that it the responsibility of a web page author/editor to ensure that their page complies with the Library Web Content Policy (and all referenced University requirements, state and federal laws and regulations).

The language referring to checking web content using various automated validation tools will be amended to suggest that this only needs to be done when new pages are created, or when a significant amount of content is added to or changed on an existing page. Also, any time content is being copied from an application in to a web page (rather than being directly created within a web content creation program, like tinyMCE) that they content should be validated. Eventually, ISD will look into developing a tool that will periodically run all web content through validation services and alert the content creator/editor when non-compliant pages are discovered.

The biggest concern that prompted the initial development of this policy was that by allowing web page authors/editors to apply their own custom CSS that they might inadvertently or intentionally manipulate elements of the library header, footer (or other template elements) in a way that would make them inaccessible. Therefor, the policy will be updated to note that is a web site or page is employing its own CSS or Javascript, then it must be validated.

The policy will also be updated to ensure that the Web Content Working Group, the Office of Web Technologies & Content Coordination, and the Office of Information Technology Planning and Policy that will ensure that any site wide changes deployed in the future will not be made without a timeframe being set for library units that will address how long they have to comply with these changes. These units will ensure that sufficient time and resources are allocated to assist units with the transition. During the last library web site conversion, remnants of the old site design lingered for up to four years because a timeline for conversion had not been set.

To help ensure that custom CSS will not interfere with or be overridden by library site wide CSS, Robert will work on new site wide templates that will employ emulate a namespace approach to class selectors and id selectors. All library class and id selectors will be changed to begin with the text “library_”. Although this will not stop CSS content positioning problems, it will greatly reduce the problems of site wide and custom CSS conflicts. Also, the library site-wide CSS (and other look and feel elements like images) must always be linked to rather than being copied to another location.

The policy section on use of non-library hosting environments will be updated to require that units inform the Office of Web Technologies & Content Coordination before the content has been created/hosted. This has been proven to be a problem in the past, when units started creating/hosting content before they determined if they would be able to include university and library branding to the content. For instance, some units have developed external projects that they would like to be included in the uiucedu/ domain, but University Legal Counsel has not had time to develop policies related to this issue that would allow that yet. WTCC should be contacted before content is created for an external service, and certainly before any contracts/agreements are made with regards to creating or hosting that content. Specific examples of problems in these areas are the libraries use of libguides and Wharton FAQS.

2. Set a min-width attribute for <body> of web pages site wide in the CMS

This item was briefly raised at the end of the meeting out of order because Robert going to be working on new web content, including header materials, branding elements, and template designs as referenced in item 1. The group would like to see Robert develop some templates that use the min-width property. Our current CSS based approach to design, without any minimum width set, has cause some units designs, materials to run into content overlap problems. Setting a minimum page width (or minimum widths on some of the template elements) would solve some of the problems untis have been reporting. Bill will get some web log information together for Robert and the group that he has been collecting regarding screen widths of our web users. Robert will check to see what minimum width (or simply width) settings the new University web site design and University Portal are using. Update: the current university gateway and secondary pages use: width: 1010px for the body tag, the University Portal Uses: width: 1000px for the body tag.

The unaddressed agenda items will be moved to next month’s agenda.

4:15 Meeting adjourned.