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The new library website has been in place for over two months now, and the team has been busy receiving feedback, fixing bugs, adding new features, and planning ahead.  We have established a support contract with Chapter Three, the same firm that engineered the site initially, to provide us with a fixed number of support hours each month.  Within that allocation of support hours we first tackle critical bug fixes and then attempt to add new features to enable better service and to support content creators in their work.

October was an exciting and productive month as we added many new features that will make the site more dynamic and interactive. Major patron-facing enhancements to the site include:

  • Extensive integration of online chat throughout the site.  Online chat reference has always been available on the Ask Us page. Now individual librarians have the ability to make themselves available via chat on their People pages and Subject pages, and branches can offer branch-specific online chat to their patrons. For information on how to configure your personal or branch-specific chat service, email sul-libraryh3lp@lists.stanford.edu .
  • Events pages published and integrated with Stanford Events.  The new Events page displays any Library event published at events.stanford.edu. If you are interested in submitting events that will appear in the library events feed, please send us a note via the website feedback form.  
  • Staff Directory. By popular demand, a full staff directory is now available. You can search and filter by name, title or department.  The data in the directory comes directly from publicly visible contact information StanfordWho, and reflects staff privacy settings in StanfordYou

Enhancements supporting content creation include: 

  • Spell-check has been added to WYSIWYG for all content types. 
  • Guide authors can now add simple formatting (bold, italics, and hyperlinking) to the annotations field of SearchWorks items. 

In addition to these technical improvements, the Library Website Steering Group was assembled and held its first meeting.  This group will play a critical role in prioritizing future improvements to the site, and establishing policies and best practices. 

November and December hold promise for other new and exciting advances, including Department, Research Service and Special Project mini-sites. Stay tuned, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Fall foliage with Hoover Tower in background

We have an ambitious set of goals for continuing to improve and enrich the library website in October.  These priorities are based on our original project goals and on feedback and suggestions gathered from patrons and staff. Please continue to send us your feedback and encourage others to do so as well.

 Our goals for October 2012 are to:

  • Participate in the Library Open House, showing students, faculty, and staff how the new site can support their teaching, learning, and research needs.  We will also use the Open House as an opportunity to gather feedback on how scholars use the library website.
  • Convene a Library Website Steering Group, responsible for evaluating and prioritizing future website work (e.g. new feature and functionality requests, major content additions, etc.).  This group will play a crucial role in recommending priorities for development and content work on the new website, and for recommending policies and best practices for the library website.
  • Develop a way to allow People associated with Guides to see unpublished Guides in their Workbench. Currently only Authors can see unpublished Guides in Workbench, but we are working on a solution to allow all People who are added to a Guide to be able to see the unpublished Guides in their Workbench to enable easy co-editing and authoring.
  • Add spellcheck functionality to the WYSIWYG editor for content creators.
  • Enable Follow Us links on library About pages, so we will have consistent, easy way to add Facebook and Twitter links for those libraries who use social media.
  • Enable simple formatting (bold, italics, and hyperlinking) in the annotations field of SearchWorks items in Guides
  • Update the view of Blog posts by topic to sort in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and to add archives links.
  • Work on discovery and design of Collections pages.
  • Complete work on Events pages.
  • Continue to provide training and guidance to content creators.
  • Continue to respond to feedback received from patrons and staff.

 

 

Last week Stanford open sourced the code responsible for the Nearby on Shelf feature in SearchWorks as the Blacklight Browse Nearby gem.  This feature has been highly sought after by various Blacklight institutions to be contributed back to the community.  In keeping with the spirit of the vibrant open source community around Blacklight, Stanford has contributed the development effort to get this codebase available for use and contribution by other Blacklight implementers.

The release of this software was the culmination of a re-write of the SearchWorks code making it an installable package, more generalizable, and suitable in an open source context.  Due to that fact, the end product is much more generic that SearchWorks'  version (as you can see in the side-by-side screenshots below with SearchWorks being on the right) however it is infinitely more customizable.

The Stanford University Libraries recently launched a redesign of its main library website at http://library.stanford.edu.  This is a Drupal 7-based site hosted on Pantheon.

In the future we hope to document more thoroughly the technical approaches we took on several bits of the site, but for now I'll summarize a few of the features this community might be interested with a brief summary of the technical approach taken for each. In no particular order:

As we roll out the new library website, we invite all Stanford University Libraries' staff members who will be creating content on the new site to join the Library Website Training CourseWork site.

The CourseWork site provides documentation, training and forums to support library staff with editing and using the new library website.  Announcements and sign-ups for training workshops, notifications about new features and bug fixes, and other key information about the new site will all be available via the CourseWork site.

Signing up for the CourseWork site is the most effective way for you to get all the information and assistance you need to start contributing to the success of the new library website.

See you in CourseWork.

All Stanford Libraries' staff should read these guidelines and follow them when creating and editing their People Pages.

What are People pages? 

People pages are library staff profile pages on the new library website. These pages provide contact information, photos (optional), and additional information about library staff.

Where will People pages show up?

All People pages will be searchable from the library home page, and can also be linked to other types of pages (e.g., Project or Department pages, or as authors of blog posts or news articles). Subject Librarians' People pages and People pages of the directors who report directly to the University Librarian will appear under "About  >  People" on the Library home page. 

Who will have People pages?

Our thanks to everyone who has been submitting feedback about the new library website.  Your feedback is really helpful, especially as we try to wrap up content for the official site launch. We've taken a moment to post some answers to the most frequently asked questions we've received.

Where is the staff directory? 

There is not a comprehensive staff directory page on the new website. Because the new website has been designed first and foremost to streamline patron's access to information they most need, we did not include a listing of all staff in all departments. Patrons can search for staff by name in the website as well as in StanfordWho. 

We know that many library staff find the comprehensive staff directory quite useful, and are exploring ways to provide that in the future.

The International Image Interoperability Framework (http://lib.stanford.edu/iiif) is an initiative driven by several major research and national libraries to enable the rich and robust delivery of digital images through common interfaces, and to spur the development of open source and commercial software solutions in this space.

The IIIF Working Group invites comment and feedback on a proposed API for the the delivery of images via a standard http request. The full specification can be found at:

http://library.stanford.edu/iiif/image-api

The IIIF Image API specifies a web service that returns an image in response to a standard http or https request. The URL can specify the region, size, rotation, quality characteristics and format of the requested image. A URL can also be constructed to request basic technical information about the image to support client applications.

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