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Library Website Redesign

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Each month we tackle some small changes to the library website. Following are some updates of note from March.

Sharing links to posts on social media now pulls the image from the post

When you link to a library blog post on social media, the image from the blog post will now display in your share. For example, you can see below how this blog post about Kurt Cobain shows up on Facebook when shared.

Facebook post showing a recent blog entry from the library website

"Green plant in its pot in three different phases of growth" by palomaironique

The library website continues to grow, and with growth comes change. We are happy to announce that early next week some high priority changes to the site's architecture will go live.

Early in our user research process for the new library website, faculty and students asked us to present easy to find and consistent information about Stanford's 25 branch, auxiliary, and coordinate libraries. With such a large and complex system of locations, it was important to users, they told us, that hours, location information and basic policies were presented to them in a consistent and highly accessible format.  

Weight lifting pictogram by Shokunin

Our new web presence is thriving! 

Guides: The Online Experience Group is thrilled to observe the number of topic and course guides created by SUL staff, over 70 course guides and over 130 topic guides to date! The enthusiasm expressed over the ease of creating guides and adding content has been gratifying. Now that many staff have gotten their feet wet with content creation, we'd like to take this opportunity to once again emphasize adherence to the guidelines articulated in the Content Creation Guide (accessible on the Library Website Training Coursework site and under the website's "My Workbench"). Topic and course guide creators are encouraged to bring their guides into compliance with sections 4 (Style and usage); 5 (Formatting); and 6B (Guidelines specific to topic and course guides). Common errors observed include choice of title; lack of a short description to appear in aggregated search results; and use of title rather than sentence case in headings. If you have questions or need help, please submit a request through the website feedback form (http://library.stanford.edu/ask/email/feedback ). 

Training: Please note that the Drupal 7 training offered by IT Services will NOT provide you with skills directly applicable to SUL's website. Staff who need content creation training should contact Ray Heigemeir and/or Sarah Lester to schedule training sessions. 

Branches: Preparatory work on branch pages is underway for most branches. This important work includes identifying primary users and their web needs; writing new content and scrutinizing current content in light of "writing for the web" guidelines; and envisioning and charting top-level navigational structures that reflect best practices for web design. 

Bug fixes and other improvements: Academic technology is a new choice in the top ribbon, making these pages easier to find; and we continue to work with Chapter 3 on fixes and upgrades.

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.

 

 

Example of Top Hit for search on "wireless"

September was a busy month for the library website team. We officially launched the new site on August 28, and have been steadily adding content, features, and functionality since them.  Below is a summary of the Library website work accomplished in September. 

Patron-facing changes and enhancements:

  • Updated the footer at the bottom of every page to make the Stanford University logo link to the Stanford homepage
  • Updated the design of the “Page not Found” page to make it more user-friendly
  • Added LOCKSS to the About page
  • Added links to eJournals under Research Support drop-down and under main search box on homepage
  • Set up Google site map feed to ensure new content is indexed and findable via Google search quickly
  • Added images to Department pages
  • Added keywords and “top hit” status as appropriate to various pages to ensure accurate search results

 Content creation changes and enhancements:

  • Fixed misaligned WYSIWYG toolbar for News content type
  • Implemented de-duplication feature for generating list of Guides by subject for branch microsites, so that guides with multiple subjects are listed only once
  • Added “Publish” option for blog posts (in addition to Save option)
  • Made selected changes/additions to the Subjects list and updated display of subjects to alphabetical

 In addition to the specific work noted above, members of the Library Website Redesign project team and the Online Experience Group have:

  • Created, modified, and edited significant amounts of content in response to user feedback
  • Provided training and trouble-shooting support to content creators throughout SUL
  • Fielded approximately 200 feedback emails

 

A big thanks to all those who have worked on the site this month, especially those of you who have taken the time to send in your feedback.

 

 

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.

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