INF506 / OLJ Task

INF506 – Mod 3.2 Library 2.0 and designing effective websites

OLJ ACTIVITY

Identify a website of a library or information agency you are familiar with (as either an employee or user) that is utilising one or more Web 2.0 technologies to provide information services and/or learning support.

Based on your reading of Mathews (2009), Lazaris (2009), McBurnie (2007) and Governor et al (2009):

  1. develop your own set of criteria (up to 10 criterion) with regard to effective library website design; and
  2. evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of this website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

1. Mrs. M’s Criterion for an effective library website:

i.         Graphics used over text where possible (e.g. promoting books using the book cover) – “Visual cues” and “Inspiring photos” (Mathews, 2009)

ii.         Separate pages for kids, teens, and adults with appropriate graphics and language in each – “Segmentation” (Mathews, 2009)

iii.         Social media pages (e.g. Library twitter feed, Facebook page Flickr account etc.) (McBurnie, 2007) and connections to these pages on the library’s website through icons

iv.         Allows interaction through comments, tagging, sharing, likes etc. (Governor et al., 2009)

v.         Device friendly (mobile, iPad, android tablet etc.) (Mathews, 2009)

vi.         Static headers/tabs for ease of navigation

vii.         Search function available on each page

viii.          Update news/content regularly! (as well as social media pages)

ix.         Online capabilities (e.g. online renewal, book requests, ILL, “ask a librarian” etc.)

2. How does Prince George Public Library shape up to my criterion?

i.         Graphics: Yes yes yes! Each event is presented through mostly graphics with minimal text. New and book of note are presented with cover shots. Help and functions are highlighted with matching images.

ii.         Separate pages for kids, teens, and adults: Yes there are separate pages, however, the kids page could take a lot of tips from Lazaris (2009) as it is not bright an fun, nor interactive. It seems to be made for parents’ sake to find out about features for kids in the library. The teen does a better job at capturing its audience with relevant graphics, content and YouTube videos that would interest the age group. It also shows many events that are teen only.

iii.         Social media pages: The library does have Facebook page, twitter account, YouTube account (although this one seems rarely used). Links to these pages are clearly identifiable through icons

iv.         Interaction: Yes and No. In terms of inter-patron interaction the only feature is Facebook Likes – commenting and tagging books is not yet an available function but would benefit from its addition. The only library interaction is through the website feedback page where users can leave comments – these comments aren’t posted publicly though except if ones posts the comment on one of their social media pages.

v.         Device friendly: The PG library has gone further than making their site mobile and device friendly – they’ve created an app! The app includes OPAC searching, user accounts, events calendar, library locator, what’s new in the library and a link to their Facebook page.

vi.         Static headers/tabs: Yes, the site is very easy to navigate even if you get lost through the use of static headers and tabs.

vii.         Search function: Yes and no. The library’s OPAC is available at the top of every page, however there is no search function for the library site itself. If I want to find out how much library fines are I have to click on tabs and links myself until I find it.

viii.       Updated regularly: The site itself, Facebook page, and twitter account all seems to be very well updated. Great job here.

ix.         Online capabilities: Yes, most functions can be done through a user’s online account.

Overall the Prince George Public Library’s website is well updated, presented, and informative – I’m going to give it a 7.5/9. It is a one stop shop for almost everything the library has to offer and gives the impression of a place that is well-oiled, helpful in many ways, and knows what it’s doing. I would think first-time patrons would get a positive sense of the library and what it can offer users from visiting its website.

Reference List

Governor, J., Hinchcliffe, D, & Nickull, D. (2009). Web 2.0 architectures (1st ed.). Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media. [ebook] Available http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/9780596514433

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (available in electronic full text from CSU library – http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library)
McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510

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