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So you want a new website. Eric Lease Morgan University Libraries of Notre Dame. Overview. Assessment and research Strategic plan Implementation. Some background.

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So you want a new website

So you want a new website

Eric Lease Morgan

University Libraries of Notre Dame



  • Assessment and research

  • Strategic plan

  • Implementation

Some background

Some background

The library’s website had been existence for four or five years. It “grew” rather organically and generally reflected the organizational structure of the institution.

Investigations focus groups

Investigations - Focus groups

  • Information is hard to find

  • Information is hard to get

  • Communication can be improved

Some recommendations

Some recommendations

  • Strengthen library’s understanding of user-centered design and put it into practice

  • Reconstitute the Web Team

  • Implement a database-driven website

  • Implement a current-awareness service

Survey said we need

Survey said we need…

  • Better organization of materials

  • Flatter hierarchy

  • To provide more recommendations

  • To provide more self-service services

  • To improve search interface

  • To make as much content available in full-text as possible

We created a time table

We created a time table

|----- research -------|

|----- strategy -------|

|------ design -------|

|--- implementation --|



Months of 2003 - 2004

Research tough questions

Research = Tough questions

Strategy answers

Strategy = Answers

  • ‘Site mirrors purpose of Library: to facilitate learning, teaching, and scholarship

  • Primary audiences are the students, faculty, and staff of the University

  • The content is intended to highlight the most significant resources, a pathfinder

Design had three parts

Design had three parts

  • Graphic design

  • Vocabulary (facet/term) creation

  • Database design

Graphic design

Graphic design

The library hired a University-based graphic designer. The designer helped the library move forward because of his expertise. “Everybody’s a critic.”

Vocabulary facets and terms

Vocabulary - Facets and terms

The creation of an unlimited number of facet/term combinations has allowed us to create very broad but shallow controlled vocabularies. Resources can then be assigned any number of facet/term combinations for classification purposes.

Example facet term combinations

Example facet/term combinations

  • Subjects/Chemistry

  • Subject/Life Science

  • Formats/Books

  • Formats/Journals

  • Research Tools/Catalogs

  • Research Tools/Indexes

  • Research Tools/Dictionaries

Implementation five parts

Implementation - Five parts

  • Converting narrative texts

  • Writing Perl modules

  • Enhancing MARC records

  • Importing data from catalog

  • Writing reports against the database

Converting narrative texts

Converting narrative texts

This was rather easy. We simply used the templates given to use by the graphic designer and used an HTML editor (Macromedia Contribute) to create new sets of documents.

Writing perl modules

Writing Perl modules

Sets of object oriented Perl modules provide the means of automating the input and output against the underlying relational database. These modules are distributed under the moniker of MyLibrary 3.0.

Enhancing marc records

Enhancing MARC records

  • Using field 695 $f for facets

  • Using field 695 $t for terms

  • Using field 596 $d to denote that this record is destined for website

Importing data from catalog

Importing data from catalog

Every night, records containing “Y” in field 596 $d are dumped to a file. The Perl modules are then used to read the MARC records, and update the database accordingly.

Writing reports

Writing reports

More assessment

More assessment

While we facilitated usability tests throughout the process, the one at the proved to be the most informative. In short, the website was navigable but people had trouble with articles, journals, and basic finding in the catalog.

The system is still not as easy as Google.

Next steps

Next steps

  • Integrate customization and personalization features into the website

  • Re-work how the organization of databases is presented

  • Actively market the website

  • Continue focus group interviews and usability studies

In short information architecture

In short, information architecture

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