Library Gazette

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About the New Website

Monday, August 25, 2014 10:17 am

Why the change?

  • The way people access the web has changed. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have proliferated. The new site is designed to accommodate screens of all sizes.
  • The way people search has changed. Users now expect a simpler search experience, and the new homepage aims to deliver that.
  • The way the web looks has changed, too. The redesign reflects design and usability improvements that enhance the user experience.

What’s next?

Changes to the site will be rolling out over the coming months. Here’s what you’ll notice:

  • The top banner will bring simple navigation to the entire site, including an easy way to access your account.
  • The new look will find its way to sub-pages and other parts of the site, providing a more consistent experience.
  • What do you think should be next? Let us know at zsrweb@wfu.edu.

How do I report problems?

If you encounter any trouble with the new site, let us know at zsrweb@wfu.edu.

Can I still access the old homepage?

You betcha. For a short time, the old homepage will be available at zsr.wfu.edu/old.

Recent Improvements to the Library Catalog

Friday, February 22, 2013 10:53 am

Based on recent suggestions from our reference librarians, we have pushed a few key improvements to the library catalog into production:

  • Due date: Due date now displays on record pages for items that are checked out. Yes, that’s right, you won’t have to check classic view to see when something is due.
  • Call number browsing: Call numbers (in the holdings tab on record pages) are now direct links to call number browsing. It’ll be just like browsing the shelf – except this shelf contains ebooks and other electronic materials.
  • Facet order: We reordered the facets in the sidebar, pushing publication date and location to the top. We’re hoping that we can condense these long lists into something more manageable – we’ll keep you posted.
  • Zotero: We added support for secondary authors and place of publication and removed the trailing slash from the title for Zotero imports. So, the next time you add an item in the catalog to your Zotero library, rest assured – that slash won’t be there.

If you have any improvements for library catalog that you would like to see, please let us know.

A New (Mobile) Home Page

Monday, November 5, 2012 3:16 pm

In a first attempt at creating a more mobile-friendly website*, I have just released a significant update to the home page.

With the help of the web committee (Anna, Chris, Kaeley, Lauren, and Rebecca) to test and discuss changes throughout the process, I have worked to establish a similar user experience across a range of devices. While the home page will look (and function) as it has on laptops, the changes take effect on devices (and screens) with smaller resolutions, e.g. smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. I should mention that no content disappears for any device; it gets shifted or takes another shape depending on the resolution context.

Take a look at the changes in this selection of screenshots (click the image to view larger):

To see these mobile-friendly changes for yourself, visit zsr.wfu.edu on your smartphone.

While the changes apply only to the home page at this point, I hope to push out updates to additional pages over the next few weeks. Larger goals – creating a more mobile-friendly interface to the catalog or the study rooms app – will require more time and testing.

As always, let me know of any problems, concerns, or suggestions.

* Actually, technically, it’s a second attempt. The first attempt was years ago when PDAs and early cell phones were popular and we used a “handheld” designation to target those very limited devices.

Improving the Format Facet in the Catalog

Saturday, July 28, 2012 11:33 am

by Kevin Gilbertson and Carolyn McCallum

Earlier this year, Carolyn and I embarked on an ambitious project to revise VuFind’s format facet. This facet – Book, eBook, DVD, etc. – powers the main search box on the library’s homepage and provides enhanced browsing in the catalog itself. While the immediate reason for the project was a request to identify streaming videos in the catalog, the need for a significant revision and the awareness of its importance had been growing for some time. That is, with the increasing number of electronic materials we were adding to the catalog, it was clear that the then-current format mappings were limited, often inconsistent, and wholly ignorant of the nuances in new format designations.

To resolve VuFind’s format mapping issues, we delved into learning about MARC’s fixed-field elements and the 007 field (physical characteristics of non-print items). The coding of fixed-field elements and of the variable 007 field in a MARC record are critical to how VuFind determines an item’s format. Based on our view of these MARC codings, we adjusted VuFind’s mapping algorithm, re-indexed the catalog several times, and reviewed our changes in a test version of VuFind.

As we worked, we came across many unexpected format assignments. For example, during one of these reviews, we noticed the inclusion of a university press book in the ‘GovDoc’ facet. After inspecting the coding, we discovered that state university press publications are coded as government publications in MARC records (the fixed-field GPub element) and therefore map to the govdoc facet in VuFind. According to OCLC’s Bibliographic Formats and Standards, libraries are to “treat an item published by an academic institution as a government publication if the government created or controls the institution. For example, publications of state university presses in the United States are government publications at the state level.” While our mapping was technically correct, we thought most users would expect to find a book published by a university press under ‘Book’ and not under ‘Government Document’. As we encountered these unexpected results, we reviewed the MARC codings and made adjustments to VuFind’s mapping algorithm.

Another example of what we addressed was the ‘Electronic’ facet. When we began our project, the catalog showed 615,320 items as ‘Electronic’. While this facet may have been accurate given an item’s coding, in use it was problematic because it lacked adequate differentiation and served to hide items, not handled elsewhere in the assignment process, in its indiscriminate muddle. So, while some ebooks were ‘ebooks’, others were simply (and only) ‘electronic’. In our last test version, we had reduced the electronic facet to just 569 items. Where did the other 614,751 items go? The bulk of these items went to the ‘eBook‘ facet – 23,267 ebooks became 487,633 ebooks – and over 2,000 items were added to the ‘Streaming Video‘ facet. The remaining items were distributed in other new electronic format facets, including Streaming Audio, eGovDocs, and eJournals.

We pushed our changes into production in March and have been watching to see how they have performed during the past few months. It was not easy work and you may continue to see items with questionable formats. There are limits to what we can achieve with the format mapping algorithm based on the MARC codings we have.

With the recent OCLC reclamation project and the authority control work, there is a healthy confluence of effort to improve our data and its representation in the catalog and we wanted to share a before-and-after view of our improvements. If you see areas that need further improvement, please let us know.

National Book Critics Circle Award Winners Announced

Friday, March 9, 2012 3:02 pm

The National Book Critics Circle Award Winners for Publishing Year 2011 have been announced and ZSR has them. Check out these award winners:

Voyager System Migration

Monday, December 19, 2011 9:01 am

Our Voyager system (AKA the ‘Classic View’ catalog and supporting services) will be migrating to a new home starting December 19 at 9AM. While we are not expecting significant downtime, there may be interruptions in the service or sluggishness in its performance. The system migration should be completed sometime tomorrow – a more precise schedule is unavailable at this time. The migration promises to resolve our recent downtime issues and we expect to see speed improvements with ‘Classic View’ and related web services. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Web Committee February Feedback Results

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 2:00 pm

The Web Committee would like to share some highlights from its Valentine’s Day feedback table. That’s right – we gave away heart-shaped sweets on Valentine’s Day in exchange for website feedback. (And guess what – they had only lovely things to say. What’s that? Something wrong with our research methodology?)

Adjacent to Starbucks in the library entrance, the table was staffed by student assistants who distributed lollipops to students who answered a brief survey concerning the library website. The survey, available online and in paper at the table, included four required questions and one optional free text question: we asked how often they visit the website, whether they use the site on their smartphone, if they had any suggestions for improvements or other general comments, etc.

Starting at 10AM, the table operated until our supply of lollipops was exhausted – about 4PM – and by the end, we had over 150 respondents! Overall, the results have only enhanced the committee’s enthusiasm for continued feedback.

Some of the comments included:

  • “I like how easy it is to do interlibrary loans.”
  • “More twitter updates”
  • “Have a more visible link on the Wake homepage!”
  • “I wish there was still the ability to do a multisearch with the databases.”

And what website survey would be complete without a couple non-website comments:

  • “have a haunted house in the library”
  • “make the 8th floor less freezing”

Many thanks to Mary R., Kaeley, Audra, Chris, Gretchen, Lauren, Tim, and everyone who helped!

Web Committee Update, Fall 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 11:16 am

The Web Committee (Kevin, Lauren, Gretchen, Audra, Kaeley, Chris, and Mary R.) had a busy fall and we thought we would share a summary of what we accomplished last semester. Two big projects included the implementation of our social media plan and the transformation of the homepage carousel.

Our social media plan featured an increased presence for the library on a range of social networking sites. For a while, the library has had accounts with Flickr and Facebook. In addition to these, we now have accounts with Twitter, Gowalla, Delicious, SlideShare, and Vimeo, among others. Members of the committee have worked to populate these services – creating videos, compiling presentations, culling links, etc. – and we continue to manage the content and conversation on these sites. Also, as a first step towards better integration among these services and our website, we embedded the Twitter and Facebook feeds into the library homepage.

The fall semester also witnessed a transformation of the carousel on the homepage. While it was originally intended to feature topics relating to the future of information and libraries, to engage our users in conversations about these issues, and to highlight our expertise and our professional role on campus, the committee decided, based on a range of feedback, to shift the focus. During the fall, we welcomed the Writing Center, we celebrated Lindy Early’s Employee of the Year Award, we promoted our liaison services, we highlighted the 2010 Emmy winners in our media collection – the list goes on. Members of the committee have been the eyes and ears for the carousel, for establishing and maintaining the increased currency of the homepage.

As for the new semester, our ongoing and upcoming projects include a comprehensive content audit (where we will evaluate every page in the site), developing and implementing an updated user research strategy, a move to a content management system, and a redesign.

Professional Achievement on the website

Monday, February 2, 2009 8:52 am

We have recently added a new page to the library website: Professional Achievement, a running list of staff publications and presentations. While many of the items can also be found in the most recent annual report, we hope the list continues to grow, to highlight our contributions to librarianship. So send us your latest and watch the list grow.


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