Thursday, September 14, 2006

new UO Libraries website

Launched this week (September 10, 2006). Major features:
  • A new metasearch function called OneSearch (our name for the ExLibris Metalib product), which searches several databases (including library catalogs and electronic resources) at once and return the results in a single, merged list. Standard and customizable search modes are available.
  • A persistent tab system that puts major resource discovery tools -- catalogs, articles and databases (via OneSearch/Metalib), journal titles via FindText/SFX), Course Reserves, and site search -- on every page of the site.
  • Labeled links on each web page for Find Resources, Research Assistance, Library Services, About the Libraries, Ask a Librarian, and My Account.
Here's some background on the project's goals & the process:

1. The site will be navigable and usable by external (e.g. non-library) audiences, including our newest students right out of high school.

2. The site will reflect the full range of library services and collections in a balanced and appropriate way.

3. The site will display clarity, consistency, and style in editorial content, graphic design, information architecture and navigation, and technical functionality.

4. To the extent possible, the site will be graphically and stylistically congruent with the UO website.

5. Technical and editorial administration of the site needs to be efficient and sustainable. This was addressed by naming a permanent web team and by implementing the Sitellite web-based content management system (by Simian Systems).

Before undertaking the design work per se, the WebDev group conducted extensive user research, including an online campus survey that drew 564 campus respondents; focus group sessions for faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates; and multiple rounds of usability tests. This front-end research was invaluable and revealed many serious misconceptions and misinterpretations, largely about terminology.

We are still shaking the site down so please don't hesitate to send along any feedback.


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