Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New website

Since the very beginning of this blog I have written about the Olin library website. I am delighted to be able to say that we are very close to having a new website. The image here is the home page, notice there is no great verbiage to wade through. We think most people come tot he library online to search for and find information. So the first thing you get is access to our iteration of Summon, and subject and title access to databases. Clustered around that is the ability to navigate to more specific kinds of searches, and information about, or services of, the library.

Some of the links still don't work, some of the images are stock images, but you get the idea. I have to give a big thank you to Paul Gindlesperger for all his work in coding this site. At the beginning of the fall term we got access to the college CMS and began writing our new site. Over the fall we have had numerous meetings about what we want it to look like and how we want it function. We have tried to design it based on these principles.

  1. Our top priority is enabling our users to find the information they seek.
  2. We seek to help relative novice student users, while enabling more sophisticated users to get what they need in a familiar "native mode" or via quick shortcuts.
  3. The website should include a significant education component, and not assume that users are in the building or can seek in person help.
  4. It should be aesthetically gorgeous.
  5. Information about us, our services, facilities, or resources, that are key to our users use of the (online and physical) library are of primary importance (e.g. hours, phone #, etc.). Other information about us is secondary (e.g. history, statistics, etc.)
  6. Metadata should be consistent and not hide us from search engines (on and off campus)
  7. If we disagree on architecture, nomenclature, etc. usability testing will be used to decide the outcome.
  8. Pages should be coded so that we continuously collect data about usage etc.
  9. We use that data and usability testing to make decisions about revisions of the site.
  10. The site should be efficiently maintained, hopefully by a variety of people in the library.
We hope to launch it early in the spring, and then take the spring semester to do usability testing, and refine the site.

I would love to hear your reactions to it. What do you think we have got right? Wrong?

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