Internet Librarian – Day 2: Data Dump

Got a chance to see some great speakers today. Wanted to collect some of my thoughts about Steve McCann’s study of academic library web sites.

Analysis of US College and University Library Home Pages
Steve McCann, University of Montana

He’s been analyzing the organization of popular academic library index pages. Steve was mostly interested collecting trends and then running a usability test to determine best practices. He hasn’t conducted usability testing to hammer out the last part of his thesis, but it was still really informative to see library web design trends catalogued with the long view in mind.

Here are my notes from the session:

Making data work harder; talked about his business experience

Study of library college websites by analyzing wayback machine

Users are bypassing on-site navigation – getting to object directly
-search engines, weblogs, rss
-commercial sites have had sucess – flickr, youtube

Library Access: a long tail problem
-social software strategy; it can’t all be on the front page
-how to address the bypassing of content
-does the index page even matter?

Methodology

  1. google search: 1803 library websites found
  2. ranked with Alexa.com – tracking ip
  3. isolated sites ranked in top 100
  4. categorized top page strategy – browse OR search

Two Site Strategies for library web sites

Browse:

  • grid
  • cascade
  • frame
  • radial

Search:

  • no search box
  • library search box
  • site search box
  • university search box

Data results:

  1. grids and cascades are most popular
  2. browse strategy has become most popular on sites
  3. search strategies are pretty evenly distributed – search is becoming a standard

Findings:
-browse = grid, cascade with grid showing most momnetum
-search = some form of search strategy will exist

Next steps – usability testing with your user groups about preferences
hybrid – search and browse – u of oregon libraries (http://libweb.uoregon.edu/)

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