Friday, December 14, 2007

24 hour access

At 7pm tonight, our 24/7 hours come to an end for this semester. here are the results.

Between Midnight and 8 a.m. we had a gate count high of 350 (Monday, December 10th)and a low of 47 (Saturday, December 8th.) the average between 12/3 and 12/14 was 209. Our data on how many people were in the building is pretty squishy, but it look like we had between 40 - 50 people in the library at 4 a.m. on any given night. Between midnight and 1 a.m., most people entered the library between 12-1 a.m. (an average of 59 on any one night) and the fewest people entered the building between 4 and 6 a.m. (an average of 9 per hour.)

On a campus with a residential population of less than 1700. I deem those numbers, along with lots of nice comments and thank yous, to be a success.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Olin Library Website

I would really like your contribution to this -- post a comment, please.

I have written about this before, twice in fact, but now we are on the verge of making some real progress so it is worth revisiting. I have never been particularly impressed with our website. I don't think it is very attractive or functional (in terms of both architecture and functionality) and I think we can do a lot better. We have made some progress with functionality over the last year and expect to make more soon, but we have held off on the attractiveness because ....

Rollins is currently involved in a project to ramp up its marketing efforts and the College's web presence is obviously a big part of that. Some of us from the Library met with the folks who will be redesigning the College's web presence last week to talk about our audience, what they do on our website, what functionality we need, what we see coming down the pike, and other concerns. It was a good meeting.

One way to approach this is look at what we like about other websites that can inform our rebuild. Last time I wrote about this we got lots of comments. Here are the sites that were mentioned:

Brigham Young University -- Yvonne liked this one. The only thing I don't like is that the white box does not resize. It is a fussy box anyway, and this makes it even fussier. Well not the only thing -- the colors clash as well.
British Library -- The only things I don't particularly like are the navigation bar in the center of the screen and the horizontal orientation
Bowdoin -- I am not as big a fan as I was, except of their federated searching solution, but that could stand out more.
Bucknell -- This one did not get mentioned, but it should have been. First they are using xml. Sweet. Look at that picture with text in the middle -- object lessons on how they change teaching and learning, and they change as you visit the site. The search of the (Bill -- Sirsi!!!) catalog is right there in the middle and look at that calendar function. The whole impression is full, perhaps tending to fussy, but generally, very good.
Gustavus Adolphus -- Still like the clean lines and space, but why call a good blog "Library News"? They could be more creative than this.
Middlebury College -- I still like it, but there are still too many links, and why not have a federated search function on this opening page?
Oberlin College -- What was their new site is now in production and still looks good. I like the blog, but there are too many options under "find", and why aren't they federated search boxes?
Smith College -- I still like the direct link to subject guides in the "find resources" drop down menu, and the quick search of the catalog, as well as the float over menus. The left side is still fussy though.
Sonoma State University -- Another one Yvonne liked. It is clean and has the search of the catalog right there, and I like the haiku.
University of Rochester -- Dani Picard liked this one and they have the distinction of basing design on thorough usability testing. But why have the owl break the line that way? Ugh! Some of the functionality behind the "finding" (why the gerund?) links is great, but why have different lengths of buttons, and why not find a way to put the search right on the front page?
Webster University -- Naomi liked this one. I like the white space but not the font or those little black blobs. Also why say "look for" instead of "find"? As Roy Tennant says, "librarians like to search, everyone else like to find." Finally, the link to the survey results (great idea!) is ugly.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The race to the finish line

There is a palpable change in the atmosphere in the library today. Just two weeks until the end of exams and the semester (at least for Arts & Sciences and Holt. Crummer follows Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution and never seems to stop.) Everyone is busy, focused, and the place is even fuller than usual.

We started 24 hour access on Sunday and will run through Friday December 14th. So far it is pretty slow, but we expect traffic to build as the publicity hits and as deadlines grow tight. Here are the hourly gate counts from the first night. Unfortunately these only tell us how many people entered the library, not how long they stayed, and we are having a devil of a time getting Campus Safety to do a 4 a.m. walk through the building to count heads. However, the building is clearly being used, who are those hardy thirty folks who get up and go to the library between 4 and 6 am?

Monday 12/3 Data

Hour Gate Count
1am 59
2am 21
3am 13
4am 11
5am 11
6am 8
7am 17
8am 66

Average 26

However, the building is clearly being used. Who are those hardy thirty folks who get up and go to the library between 4 and 6 am?