5 More Factors for Effective Library Web Sites
Watch Open Source applications closely
I didn't bring this out as much as I should have in my post at ALA TechSource, but other folks did which I appreciate! I am fascinated by what's happening with Open Source and, ILS Vendors forgive me, I would be tickled to see a project like Georgia's Evergreen take off and be implemented in libraries everywhere, supported by a thriving community of OS Librarians. Think about it...pretty hot in my book. See ya Innovative...Hello Evergreen! Want customized RSS or other new features? Hold a hackfest and make it so.
For something like this to happen, we need to get serious with our skills, our communication channels between library systems and a shift to a global collaboration/sharing mindset. This could lead to such initiatives as IM networks between libraries and huge knowledge bases built on wikis. The tools are there. It's up to us.
Give Reference staff some Web-based tools and let them provide content
Yes, please. Over the last 7 years, I've been witness in my library to the flow of web content moving from one department, to systemwide and back again. I like the idea of teams of librarians building pages together, and soliciting feedback from users. These tools are FREE people. Just staff time, and what better way for staff to spend some time than developing user-centered Web pages with any number of OSS tools?
Utilize web stats for leverage to create new user-centered services on the Web
David King never ceases to inspire me with his web savvy. The Librarian in Black rocks my world with each web-centric post as well as all of her content. There was similar point in the previous list. But this is important! What I learned from reading and listening to them is that there is gold in those Web stats: user patterns, top hits, entry, exit and the like. Someone on your staff must be the "master of the Web stats domain," or you are simply building pages that may never be seen or used.
Embed your Library 2.0 services everywhere
Put your blog feeds and IM status wherever it makes sense. Give users a way to comment back from the pages they hit the most. Think about ways to make the catalog so useful, inviting, and ubiquitous, that your users have search success everytime.
Get IT and Librarians meeting and planning from the get-go
I was discussing this with my colleagues at lunch. The recent posts across the Biblioblogosphere have been intriguing. It prompted skagirlie to post this:
No individual dept is perfect. IT is often harder for librarians to relate to because by nature we’re user focused, and they’re shiny focused. Those of us like me have to be ever concious of our language when speaking with patrons vs. other librarians vs. the IT guys. It’s not easy, but it is well worth the effort. I have made it a point of establishing a working relationship with my reference department and my IT dept. This often leaves me as the go between to communicate how we want to serve our patrons and what IT needs to do to make that happen. Being able to speak geek and librarianese has made things happen faster and in more exciting ways. at http://blog.skagirlie.net/?p=3