Web Services Subcommittee

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[edit] Description

[edit] Purpose

The committee is advisory to the Assistant Director for Digitization and Web Services for choosing among alternatives and determining settled courses of action for presenting web material on the library web server.

[edit] Nature

The Web Services Subcommittee of the Technology Committee is a standing committee of the library.

[edit] Structure

Chaired by the head of the Office for Digitization and Web Services (ODWEBS), the committee has the responsibility for the organization, access, implementation, and display of all library web server, closely allied digital repository, and related OPAC material. With regard to Voyager the committee is advisory and serves at request.

[edit] Background

Several efforts over the years 2007-2009 at defining organization and structure of information on the web site have produced a useful initial classification of major categories needed for an initial page.

The effort has slacked as digression into discussions of visual elements was started long before the organizational tasks were done.

The failure to identify terminal content needs in detail has also stopped useful forward movement.

The majority of content on the site has thus remained unspecified.

To organize and structure the site using normal project work-flows with sequential and completed tasks requires a small group of active web users who jointly understand the goals and purposes of the web site.

The Web Services Subcommittee belongs to the Technology Committee, a standing committee of the library. The Assistant Director for Digital Initiatives chairs the subcommittee. The development and actualization of the web site is directed from the Office for Digitization and Web Services according to the decisions of the Web Services Committee.

The chair calls, enforces ordered deliberation, contributes, and participates in the processes and actions of the subcommittee. The chair is ultimately responsible for the adoption, adaptation, and creation of the materials suggested by the members in a transparent manner using publicly posted minutes and notes. The Chair reserves judgment in adoption or actualization of material.

[edit] Initial Challenges

As of February 15, 2010, the subcommittee has inherited a partially defined new web site home page and goal.

The site will be maintained using the Dreamweaver/Contribute content management system so that library faculty and staff can create and maintain web pages in a controlled manner while decentralizing content creation.

The committee must settle the two early phases of site definition which remain uncompleted: organization of information, structure and navigation.

[edit] Organization

To develop an admirable web site several sequential processes must be completed.

Organization requires

  1. definition of all content pages with respect to label (title) and statement of content
  2. classification of all content pages thus defined with regard to relationship by
    1. division into titled logical units
    2. expression of the hierarchy (or hierarchy containing a sequence, grid, or web) with regard to the difference and belonging of parts one to the other
    3. text expression of the above as an outline
    4. recognition of side-wise and dead-end relationships resulting from the organization
  3. user testing with large enough or multiple groups to discover weaknesses, overlooked items, and misleading structure
  4. creation of a titled Table of Contents for the site consistent with the above

[edit] Structure

Next, using a stepwise procedure, define the site's structure.

  1. Recognize global components for which universal links will be provided on all or nearly all pages. On March 4, 2010 Public Services settled on the three main home page categories as tab labels on interior pages:
    1. Find, linking to a relevant menu page.
    2. Services, linking to a relevant menu page.
    3. About Us, linking to a relevant menu page.
  2. Recognize important topic areas to be universally accessed. These must be hierarchies that are distinct and about a useful coherent subject.
  3. Recognize all types of information structures within or needed within the site. Classify each as to
    1. Sequences, with or without loops, for instructing and training
    2. Grids for the correlation of highly consistent comparisons
    3. Hierarchies (branches, clades) which require highly organized material
    4. Webs for the encouragement of idea finding and browsing
  4. User testing with students and other non-librarians, recognizing sore spots

[edit] Jargon

Our early student focus group was clear on the confusing nature of library terms. A comparison of many studies is available at http://www.jkup.net/terms.html Click on 51 Usability Studies

[edit] Example Sites

The developing web site is located at http://libnext.csu.edu/ This first page is nearly settled.

The following three sites, chosen by the Chair, have a gamut of characteristics that can usefully serve as components and models for the newly developing site.

Brigham Young University Library
Admirable and clear functional areas; skillful use of topic-based widgets employable from multiple locations and providing consistent choices in an interface
An interior page that tries to accomplish too much is Background Resources but the multiple tabs (near the top) with good labels are a good choice when complexity is presented. Although in this case the visual complexity resulting from the widgets seems distracting, the categories are well labeled and jargon-free.
California State Long Beach
The interior page shown here is easy to scan with much whitespace, elastic with max width, centered, and visually attractive; trompe l'oeil makes for interest and guides eye horizontally; columns are coherent; the pages have long vertical scrolls. This results from lists that are too long or placing too much on a page.
Wake Forest
Use of color (too pale, perhaps) to show topic areas; good use of white space

[edit] Meetings

The subcommittee meets on the last Thursday of each month.

Date Time Location
March 25, 2010 2:00pm LIB 224
April 29, 2010 2:00pm LIB 224
  1. March 25, 2010
  2. April meeting cancelled.
    1. WSC members to monitor and provide feedback on the Developing Web Site for Next Release
    2. WSC Chair to monitor feedback, incorporate changes, and move content from old site

[edit] Documents

  1. LibGuides Style Criteria
  2. Editorial Style
  3. Notes on Changes
  4. Web Services Committee Comments and Suggestions
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