Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flash objects are searchable

While updating the library map again, I thought I would a add a description for the Office of Academics and Compliance (ultimately I decided not to).

So I searched for it in with Google, and check out what the second result is:

It's the libray map itself. I didn't know that text in flash objects was searchable, but it makes sense that they are. It's funny that the title includes the preloader text, though.

I suppose its no big deal, but it's neat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Digital Preservation

I've recently finished a tutorial on Digital Preservation meant for the average student (or just anyone).
Let me know if I've made any glaring mistakes.

I took an entire class on this in library school, so it's a big subject to compress into 10 min. I had to over-simplify a lot to make it easier to get, and even so, I'm sure it will still be difficult for some people.

I'm more than a little embarrassed with the sound quality and my diction. I should get a new microphone.

I'd like to have a slider bar that lets you drag it to move through the frames (like on youtube), but I haven't figured out how to get that to work yet.

Perhaps I might make a page to accompany it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Webfeat search box

Mike has put a new search box on the library home page that searches web feat! It's really great to have some interactive stuff on the page.

Is it going to confuse patrons? Perhaps, but only the ones who were confused before they saw it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some more things...

I'm making these comments separate from the minutes so that my dictation won't be a part of it.

Looking at it now, the "services" list is a little bit long. That's not a columnar problem-- it can can fit in, I'm sure, but for eye-scanning it's maybe a bit too much to handle. This could be solved once we start making other categories. They may fit into those (so these currently finished categories are mutable). Or we could try some other ideas like these:

-- remove "for student," because at ULM, the motto is "students first!" and it should be assumed that everything on the page is for them unless otherwise noted. ULM is for teaching, right?

-- separate the actions that occur in the library itself (and nowhere else), as in, things one must do on-site?

-- stick "purchase requests" at the bottom on the home page, but mention it agagin on the little faculty page we make (and probably again on the reference page, which I plan to redo as soon as we decide where all this stuff is going to)?

-- I've just remembered that the first demo front-page I made last semester had 5 category groups on it rather than 4:
I like less better, but if we need more, I guess we'll have to add more.

Also, Who represents The Friends of the Library? Would it be worth asking them how they feel about their link being called "Be Our Friend"? I know it sounds really (really) corny, but it asks the audience to do something and includes them while "Friends of the Library" seems like something they don't have to feel a part of. Maybe it could increase membership?

BTW, calling it "visitor" info rather than "driving" is also great because not everyone drives to get here (now how could I forget that?). The #1 and #5 go to ULM. I just know these things.

April 17 Meeting

The ULMLWPC had a meeting today which began at about 11:40 and ended at about 12:40. In attendance were:


The hour was spent talking about what links will go on the home page and what we'll call them. 2 categories were completed, and others will be next time. Conversation was very active today, so it would be most productive to show what was decided as the minutes:

About the library
visitor Information
floor plan
Staff and Departments
Friends of the Library

for the community
Interlibrary loan
computer lab
for faculty
distance learning
tours & instruction
for faculty/staff
for students
purchase requests

HOMELESS (links that can go at the bottom or anywhere)
annual report
job opportunities

This is not written in stone, of course, and the order of the lists can be changed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More suggestions and another page idea

( note: Please don't view any of these demonstration pages in IE yet. IE eats baby rabbits. actually I was just too lazy to fix the tags )

1. Slimming down news space

The scrolling box I mentioned in my previous post would be a great way to fix more new into less real estate. But what user will ever care to scroll it to look? The news needs to show itself by itself. There are several ways to do that.

Whenever I ask IE to do anything beyond html (or even just html...), it bellyaches about it first, even simple things, so it's hard to add dynamic elements sometimes because of that. But everyone uses it so we have to choose things that it can digest.

I'm really happy with this kind of news box.
This doesn't seem to bother IE (at least on my computer it doesn't!). I can put links in it and everything, and the XML file that comes with it is really easy to understand. In fact, the text you see inside is from the XML file. You don't even have to touch the html file to change it.
I can probably change the color and size of the box.

Scrolling text would be a lot classier, but it's hard to find one that won't make IE nervous. Here's an example of a scrolling ticker:

2. Another link layout idea

To begin, do not think of this as anything like a final product or even the idea we'll use. I realize everything looks wrong, but we're not even at that part yet anyway.

Here's an image with "commentary" (click to enlarge):
I also feel as if "tutorials" should be called "learning" or "how to." Although those don't really describe it either. The hours link should maybe be closer together, but that's no big deal right now.

Here's an image of what it looks like at 800x600 resolution also:

There is still some space left. So there's room for a little bit more spacing and other things on the page. No matter what we do, a good rule of thumb ought to be this: if it won't fit into 800x600, there's too much stuff.

3 things...

There are 3 things I should mention before I forget about them.

1. breadcrumbs

A nagging voice in my head is saying "why haven't you talked about this before? Navigation is crucially important!"

I'm not bringing it up because it's hard, but because it is easy. Here's an example of what that could be like (look at the top):
It's just one table with 2 images in it-- very simple. And of course all of those would be links in real life. The banner would also serve as a way to tie all our pages together. The gradient color could be changed to gold for pages with maroon backgrounds.

I think that users would really appreciate that, because I know I do. However, there's no need to worry about it until we decide some other things first.

2. Link box: Sic et non

I've figured out how to make a scrolling box with links in it. Here is the example:
I suppose there are other ways to do this, but this is one way. Part-way through working on it, I remmebered that I didn't want one...

(I cannot believe I fotgot about this; I remmeber it so well) PSU used something like that to access their (many, many) databases while I was going there. It was very cumbersome. While discussing library web pages in a class in library school, I mentioned it and we all looked at it, and most of the class agreed that they didn't like it either.

I can't show you that list because they changed the page and the box is gone. That probably means something.

I actually wrote "great idea" next to the box on my paper, but it took me days to remmeber something that I always had known. Not very sharp-- so it's good that my word isn't law. Yet we still can put such a thing on the page, if we want to, now that I know it's very possible to do that.

Lila Jefferson has been added to this committee, and will be at the next meeting if I remember to email her about it...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Apr. 3rd meeting

On Apr. 3rd at 11:30am there was a ULMLWPC meeting, and it ended at 12:35pm.

In attendance were:

Today's meeting was productive yet hard to actually outline. But I knew it would be a complicated matter. I apologize if I seemed brusque or otherwise unfriendly.

-- We looked at demo pages by Karen C., Megan, and Karen N.
-- Mike printed his out (not a bad idea)
-- Mike said, once we finally (finally) makes a decision on this, we should be firm and not back down on what we've decided to go with [best idea I've heard all day?]
-- we don't want too many links, but not too few
-- mouse-over text is a good idea (but of course we still must decide what it would say)
-- much discussion was had over what patrons understand and what they don't
-- icons and alternate text can aid term understanding

Did I forget anything?

Maybe we should start using the chalkboard? That way we can quickly draw/erase until it looks as it should?

Also, here's a link I've posted before but is worth posting again:
There's lots of library site advice here.
The "hall of fame" contains both bad and good pages, but all are educational.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Categories | Links Idea (MWL)

Click here for the full image on the web.

And here's the image:

It's rather self-explanatory. I based it on McNeese's library website. As a matter of fact, a lot of screen capturing, cannibalizing, and MS Painting that went into this mock-up. My two cents!