Miss Letting-Go-Getting


Assignment: Web Page Review
October 18, 2007, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Library Land | Tags:

Pretty but soulless
Tidy yet boring
The library website leaves me snoring.

I need to clarify my above harsh (and really bad) poetry by stating that this is not the fault of the library!

The main problem with the Rebecca Crown Library web page is that it seems to be stuck conforming to university-wide mandates of layout and style. In appearance, it seems to be merely a marketing tool for the university, rather than its own entity, which would allow for much more freedom and play. The DU athletics department has their own site (sponsored by CBS), different and certainly more exciting than the parent organization’s. Perhaps the library just needs a corporate sponsor (kidding)!

I understand that Dominican uses the website to market to potential students and parents, and that the over-all look is important to establishing a consistent brand. The Crown library, however, exists to provide quality service to current faculty, staff and students. Because the library web page must connect the community with large amounts of information, it is crucial that the site have a very efficient layout with much more interactivity! The library presence on the DU portal does a better job of this, but is still restricted by a set layout and design.

The main page of a library website should contain a map of all of the information held within. North Carolina State University Libraries (with their own site) do a fantastic job of this—by including the feature categories and what is held within them on the main page. The main page also includes a drop down box of most used features on the site, a search box and an FAQ:

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Without scrolling or clicking on multiple links, a user immediately knows where to go from finding info in the catalog and databases, to library news and contact information. North Carolina University also creates a user-rich experience by incorporating extensive subject guides, virtual tours, web-cams and interactive maps of Library locations.

Though the Crown Library now incorporates exciting Web 2.0 tools (yeah!) such as a blog, a wiki and IM they aren’t necessarily easy to find from the main page. Web 2.0 tools should be more prominent—just having them isn’t enough. They must be marketed and promoted like anything else! For example, Reeves Library at Moravian College has a Meebo box with the header “Research Help” on nearly every single page of the website—there is absolutely no missing it:

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In conclusion, the Crown library web page suffers from confinement!

Dear Dominican,

Set the library web page free! Give it flexibility and a room of its own to grow and change!

Sincerely, GSLIS Student

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