Top 10 Academic Library Websites 2014

Here are my favorite academic libraries of 2014. I expected this year’s sites to be: Unified – I wanted a seamless, integrated research experience.  I looked for cross-platform search tools, integration with courses,  and built-in, non-siloed research guides. Instructive – I wanted the site to teach me how to be a better researcher.  I looked for embedded…

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Usable Library of the Week – Addison Public

This week’s usable library is: Addison Public Library, IL What I like: Attractive, easy-to-read design Responsive and mobile-friendly Jargon-free “Book a Librarian” on the research page “Confused? Book a Tech” on the e-books page, right where you most need it Big “Order items” button is much more understandable than ILL  

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Usable Library of the Week – Champlain College

This week’s usable library is: Champlain College, Vermont What I like: A small college (2,000 enrollment) with a great website! Lots of help – this site is clearly focused on helping students through the entire research experience, with easy-to-find help for everything from writing an annotated bibliography to evaluating sources. Research How Tos As with…

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Usable Library of the Week – Universiteit Gent

This week’s usable library is: Universiteit Gent, Belgium What I like: Their Blacklight search interface: lots of white space and large fonts for clean, readable look and feel Search detail includes “For Librarians” and “For Developer” tabs with access to MARC/XML/JSON records as well as links to open datasets Both Permalink and Citing are prominent…

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How college students *really* do research – findings from recent studies

We hear a lot about how college students “only search in Google these days” or “never look past the first page of results.”   How true are such commonly held assumptions?  Are they supported by recent examinations of student research behaviors?  For answers, I looked at seven studies published within the last three years.  Here is what…

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Usable Library of the Week – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This week’s usable library is: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign What I like: Site recently redesigned – big improvement over their previous site! Library Technology shows available items at a glance – from flash drives to dry erase board accessories Libraries and Hours display what libraries are currently open Search tool returns “bento-box” like results…

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Usable Library of the Week – Westerville Public Library

This week’s usable library is: Westerville Public Library, Ohio What I like: Integrated “Global Search” across site and collections – try searching “Storytime” to see both events and books Suggest-as-you-type feature in search – can easily get to items without viewing full search results Overview  page under “Books, Movies, and More” allows users to easily browse…

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Usable Library of the Week – University of Minnesota

This week’s usable library is: University of Minnesota Library What I like: Minimal space on home page devoted to marketing, leaving more room for user services Right sidebar on home page with direct links to courses and popular  databases, as well as A-Z lists Point-of-need help embedded throughout the site, and presented in user-friendly, easily…

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Usable Library of the Week – Hennepin County Public Library

This week’s usable library is: Hennepin County Public Library What I like: Recently redesigned:  The previous design had a left menu with somewhat jargon-heavy links like “databases” and “subject guides.”  The new site has a modern, fullscreen, fully responsive layout with large, clean fonts, lots of white space, a prominent search box, and less clutter.  The…

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Why library websites should not be designed by committee – Reblog of “The Ugly Truth About Library Websites”

I just read this post by M. Ryan Hess from 2013 and found it well worth a reblog: The Ugly Truth About Library Websites Hess points out that the poor usability of  library websites is often due to how they are created: by committees of  librarians, with little or no usability training, who are under…

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