Warwick announced that Symphony 3.4 will be installed into the test system by next week pending an Apache update. Notice will be sent out once the update has been installed at which point LCC can commence testing. Bartz distributed testing assignments via email. Each LCC member is responsible for testing at least two sections of the catalog. The system is scheduled to go live over the winter break pending the successful testing of all the modules.
The group reviewed the tabbed search prototypes developed by the Web Board's Search Team for the website redesign. Overall, the group seemed to favor version A over the others because it includes the most search targets and options. However, a number of concerns were expressed about labels, functionality, and omissions.
Otto suggested that increasing demand for streaming media ought to warrant representation of this content within the search tabs. She further suggested that media be given its own tab rather than grouping it with books. Deodato noted that the groupings are partly a reflection of the types of systems available at RUL and the decision to group books and media was influenced by the fact that both content types are predominantly served by the library catalog. This grouping will likely change as systems evolve and as the library acquires more media content.
Warwick noted that the label "Books and Media" was misleading since the search targets (i.e. RUL Catalog, EZBorrow, WorldCat, etc.) return results in many additional formats such as periodicals, manuscripts, maps, music scores, etc. The language is misleading and does not completely match the types of results users might expect. For example, a search of "Books and Media" will also return periodical titles. A search of "Articles" may also return eBooks. Warwick suggested that the incongruity between language and search results creates a disconnect that makes it more difficult to educate users. Deodato agreed but noted that in order to present the variety and complexity of search options available to the user in a clear and concise manner, some degree of oversimplification seems regrettably unavoidable. The search team considered a variety of labels for certain tabs ("Books, Movies, and Music", "Books and More", etc.) but ultimately settled on those they deemed to be the most clear, concise, and reflective of common user needs. The inclusion of scope notes for each target is intended to provide a fuller explanation of the resource and clarify the ambiguity of the labels. Warwick noted that users were unlikely to read the scope notes.
Deodato noted that the "quick" search tabs are intended to supplement rather than replace existing library systems. They are specifically targeted at the novice user. Others will still be able to access and engage with library resources via their native interfaces. In order to allow the committee to consider the search tabs within the larger context of the web redesign, Warwick demonstrated the homepage wireframe and site navigation menus created by the Information Architecture Team.
Bartz expressed concern that there was no clearly labeled "library catalog" link anywhere on the homepage. There needs to be something for users who don't know what they want. This purpose is usually served by a general link to the library catalog.
Deodato noted that this was in fact a conscious decision on the part of the Web Board insofar as users tend to express information needs in terms of subject (history, literature, physics, etc.) or format (books, articles, journals, etc.). They rarely care or are even familiar with the particular library systems that afford them access to these materials (catalogs, databases, repositories, etc.). The "Find" menu was designed with precisely this idea in mind. It tries to get users to the appropriate library resources using the language that users themselves use to express their needs. Although the precise layout of the "Find" subpages is yet to be decided, these will likely include direct links to resources like the library catalog.
Bartz noted that the links under the "by Subject" submenu don't actually lead users to all resources for finding materials in that subject area, they merely link to LibGuides. For example, a LibGuide will not necessarily lead a user to the catalog to search for books on that subject. Deodato suggested that all research guides should in theory connect users to the appropriate resources for finding information in their discipline. If this is not currently the practice, there may be a need to establish baseline content standards for LibGuides or the site architecture will need to be reconsidered.
Warwick commented that the current search prototype is good at highlighting certain resources but it buries others. Haynes suggested that it suffers from another paradox. On the one hand, it assumes that few users are sophisticated enough to execute a search. On the other, users may be confused by its variety of options. Bartz expressed preference for a modified version A that would retain most basic search options but with re-worked groupings and labels.
Warwick inquired as to whether there has been any usability testing of the search prototype yet. Deodato said that the Search Team is meeting next week to plan testing.
The committee decided to revisit the discussion again as the work progresses. In the meantime, Deodato encouraged everyone to submit their comments online via the website redesign site: www4.libraries.rutgers.edu/redesign.
Warwick inquired as to why the website comments were not publicly visible. He suggested that by virtue of remaining private, the commenting function may actually inhibit community dialogue. By making the comments public the Web Board might be able to stimulate wider conversation and receive more feedback.
Warwick demonstrated the latest version of the mobile catalog. Many of the features of the full catalog have been pared down to the essential for the mobile version. Search options have been limited and features such as permalinking, marked items, and requests have been removed. In addition, the mobile style sheet was fine-tuned to improve display.
Overall impressions were very positive. Only a few suggestions were made. Otto asked if certain fields of the record could be suppressed in the mobile version. In particular, she suggested that the holdings field for RU-Online records contained no useful information for the user and could be eliminated to reduce clutter. Bartz asked if the red font for location and call number could be changed or some other form of emphasis used.
Due to time constraints, this item was tabled until the next meeting but will likely be replaced with a discussion of the default display for media collections (VM-FULL). Monograph records will then be considered at a later date.
Warwick reviewed the most recent changes implemented from the Project Chart.
Two changes were implemented in production:
The following changes were implemented in test:
Due to time constraints, this item was tabled until the next meeting.
Bartz noted that USC never reviewed the revised charge for LCC so the committee is technically still working under the old charge. The charge has been resent to the chairs of USC and is scheduled to appear on the agenda for the November meeting.
November 17th, University Librarian Conference Room, 1:30pm.
Meeting was adjourned at 4:30pm
Submitted by Joseph Deodato