Usable Library of the Week – Multnomah County Library

This week’s usable library is: Multnomah County Library What I like: Prominent single search box labeled “Find everything at the library”  searches both catalog and site.  Example: A search for “storytime” returns both book results and library events in a “bento-box” display: “My MCL” links gets users quickly to their holds, checkouts, as well as reading lists…

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The Googleable library – helping users where they are

The other day a faculty member asked me why he couldn’t access his favorite medical journal directly from the publisher’s site – and I didn’t have a good answer.  This leads me to ask: with scholars increasingly starting their research on the open web1, shouldn’t libraries be focusing more on ubiquitous access, and less on…

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Testing web-scale discovery services: how well do they work?

My library is currently evaluating web-scale discovery services. We are considering Exlibris’ Primo, Proquest’s Summon, Ebsco’s EDS, and OCLC’s WorldCat Local. (If you want to learn more about web scale discovery, I recommend Athena Hoeppner’s good overview.) As part of this process I’ve been looking at how libraries have implemented these four services. For this…

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Good resources for library website design

I recently spoke to a local library co-op about designing user-centered library websites.  In this post I thought I’d share the list of resources I compiled as part of that presentation.  Below are some sites, blogs, books, articles, and tools that I have found useful in my own web design projects.  They are organized into…

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Too many search boxes: a library website usability study, part 2

In our recent usability study we asked 5 undergraduate students to find resources and services on the library website.  In a previous post I shared my findings on how obscure language and jargon was preventing students from finding library services.   In this post, I’m going to focus on how students searched for library resources. Students…

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Getting rid of jargon: a library website usability study

My library just completed our first library website usability study.  We asked five undergraduates to perform 10 tasks.  We kept it simple, using a video camera to capture mouse movement and think-alouds,  observing the participants, and taking notes.  The entire study cost under $100. We are still digesting the findings, but one thing we immediately…

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Problem of linking to library resources

Today’s college students and faculty expect to be able to easily share articles and searches from library databases, as well as set up customized feeds that bring relevant information to them.  But because so many library resources live behind EZProxy servers, meeting this expectation has proved difficult. This is because while most subscription databases provide…

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Encore Synergy 4.1: A review

My library just launched our first discovery tool.  As an Innovative library, we opted for III’s Encore Synergy discovery product, and were among the first to implement version 4.1.   This review is based on my experience of implementing and working with this product for the past several weeks. Is it a “true” discovery tool? Innovative…

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Top 10 Public Library Websites

This post is a follow-up to my previous post “Top 10 Academic Library websites.”  Though I work in an academic library, I believe there is much to be learned from looking at public library sites, especially because of their focus on user services. Here are my top 10 favorite public library websites: 1)  Johnson County…

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