notes on information organizations

August 4, 2010

no laughing matter – are library websites any better?

Filed under: higher education, information access, librarianship, web site design — Frank Cervone @ 8:18 am

This analysis from Inside Higher Ed about a comic (that has gone viral) on how bad university websites are points out just how disconnected many academic websites are from their user communities. I don’t think there is much to add to the analysis except for considering how disconnected many library websites may be from their user communities. In particular, what are the library equivalents on the left side of the Venn diagram that need to be replaced by library services more representative of those on the right side of the diagram?

A couple of things on the left side come to mind immediately: the welcome from the director, the slide show of empty computer labs, “news” items that are really marketing pieces with no relevance to services or collections. Some of these things should be on the website but just not on the front page. On the right side, many of the items listed for the university site are also valid for the library: calendar/hours, address and phone number, maps, reserve reading lists, direct seemless access to all resources and not just the catalog.


March 18, 2010

the end of large scale web sites?

Filed under: information access, web site design — Frank Cervone @ 9:53 pm

Since I’ve been working on my own web site lately, and have significantly scaled down its size, I found this article particularly interesting. In this post by Kent Anderson on the Scholarly Kitchen blog, the author presents the case that large web sites may be a thing of the past. The argument is that with the introduction of  social tools and products like Facebook, Twitter, RSS, blogs and mobile devices, many of the earlier reasons for creating massive web sites may no longer be valid. He points on that “scholarly publishers have site-centric approaches for defensible and rational reasons — institutions buy access to domain sites” however the long-term viability of this model is already questionable. One of the major goals of many library websites is to obfuscate where the content comes from in order to make the content itself more central to the discovery experience. But library web sites are facing the exact same thing as users migrate to tools like Google Scholar and pubget. While Kent does not provide any definitive answers, he does raise a lot of interesting questions.

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