Here are my favorite library websites for 2013. I expected this year’s sites to be:
- Googleable – I wanted to be able to access library resources and services from anywhere.
- Searchable – I wanted to be able to search for anything in a single search box. I did not want to have to navigate lots of menus to find “how to renew a book” or “library hours” or “ENG 101” or “dostoyevsky.”
- Helpful – I wanted research help where and when I needed it: I didn’t want to have to slog through lists of “tutorials” or “FAQs.” In addition, I wanted troubleshooting help for technical and access problems.
Here are the 2013 winners:
- Stanford has successfully achieved what has been dubbed “full library discovery:” users can search for services as well as resources from a single search box. Note the search suggestion “renew books:”
- Stanford has also opened their library catalog to search engine harvesters – making their resources truly “Googleable.” Example – a web search for “luryier diamond opera collection” returns the catalog result on the first page:
- Ithaca wins for the third year in a row! I love the look and feel, the usability, and most of all, how they have managed to take the confusion and frustration out of article searching:
- Another site with great help features, including finding articles.
- Some features I especially like: access points for different student populations, a good “I need to find” left menu, and their computer availability widget.
- Excellent off-campus access troubleshooting page. For more examples of off-campus access help pages, see this post.
- “Research starting points” includes good short video tutorials.
- VCU is launching a new website in January – and unfortunately, I like the old one better – especially the “start my research” and “articles” links.
- I do like the excellent Journal Linker on the new site – an understandable, usable tool for finding articles and books from citations.
- There is nothing fancy about this small library website – but it works. I especially like their very comprehensive “how to find” pages:
- Another good small library site. I like their clean, uncluttered design, and their prominent help – including off-campus access and technical help pages.
- An excellent “browse by subject” feature – searches not just research guides, but databases and journal titles as well.
- Vertical, rather than horizontal search box tabs are easier to see.
- Limiter for e-resources directly on the main search box.
- Multiple links to help – including “expert help.”