1. Web Advisory Committee Content Group (WAC-C)
WAC-C recently met and discussed the subcommittee's charge and ideas for the subgroup's work in the coming academic year. The subgroup's charge includes fostering the development of new content, establishing guidelines for suitable content, the promotion and maintenance of existing content, and working to establish responsibility for orphaned content on the site.
Timetables for the review of site content do not currently exist, but routines will be established for certain types of pages. Those who may adopt responsibility for particular orphaned pages have been contacted, and those working on research guides will be contacted and offered further assistance.
Current Alert (SDI) Services page T. Kuchi created a page for SDI services, and S. McDonald created a few rough samples. WAC discussed how the SDI page would be used, linked, labeled and maintained. It was suggested that linking in numerous places might pose maintenance problems. As the heading "SDI" may be difficult for patrons to comprehend, it is important to consider what content describing SDI services would exist off the indexes page. A page on SDI might also provide a useful addition to the advanced users' page.
It was decided that the index description page would indicate whether the alert service is offered for the particular indexes. It was suggested that the e-journal page indicate that some publications offer the SDI service, and then link to the description of SDI's off the indexes page.
A serious concern remains how patrons will know what type of vendor index/database they are linking from (i.e., if they come from Biosis Previews, will the patron recognize that it is an Ovid database when they are reading the SDI description off the indexes page?)
It was decided that WAC would not write instructions on how to set up the SDI, but rather will link to the vendor instructions. The RUL page will thus advertise the service to patrons, and provide minimal help.
The issue will be returned to WAC-C for further discussion and the setting up of one prototype from each package to see how reading about and attempting to establish SDIs will work, i.e., how many clicks will be involved, etc.
2. Web Advisory Committee Design Group (WAC-D)
WAC-D met to discuss the new purpose and function of the subgroup. Much work for WAC-D will likely be generated by assessment of the library site. WAC-D will also work on horizon scanning for current issues, optimization, editing, tweaking, and advising S. McDonald on other minor changes.
It was also mentioned that there might be an opportunity now to examine the merits of Internet Explorer versus Netscape Communicator. After a short discussion, it was decided that S. Bartz would raise the issue in the PC Working Group.
A brief discussion on assessment was held. It was stated that the site cannot be assessed as a whole, rather, discreet sections would undergo assessment. A body of literature on library web site assessment does exist. The University of Arizona, for example, published the results of their assessment project. WAC members might wish to scan the literature to see if other institutions that have completed such a process have codified and published their results in useful formats. In short, we are trying to arrive at the commonalties that compose a useful and efficient web site. One difficulty is the process by which we will choose the methodology employed during the assessment process. What shall we base our decision on? J. Boyle will approach S. Soong and the Libraries' Assessment Committee for further information.
The Instruction report was postponed until the September meeting.
Htdig software has made a new version available that will do phrase searching if the phrase is placed within "double quotes." However, zero results are returned if punctuation is included in the search string. The question was raised as to whether this software should be implemented in the RUL search engine. After a brief exchange, it was decided that the htdig software is not yet suitable for implementation on the RUL site.
D. Hoover has produced a log of 37,000 searches entered into the search screen on the RUL site. Most searches are for obvious information, i.e., library hours. However, over half of the searches return zero results. The high number of zero hits can be accounted for in a number of ways: numerous typos in searches ("libarian"), inappropriate searches (the name of individual book authors, recent popular movie titles). It was decided to compile a synonym list that includes exceedingly frequent misspellings.
D. Hoover also noted that when patrons search in the RUL site, they may be led to a particular page, but crucially, not to the link within that page the contains the information they searched for. D. Hoover ventured that metadata leading to particular links within a page might therefore prove useful. Certain members of TAS, including Rhonda Marker, are working on an RUL Core that may be useful in this context. Au will contact R. Marker for more information.
A long discussion on improving the search page took place. In particular, it was suggested that placing the how do I's…, either whole or in part, on either the search page or a zero results page might redirect patrons to the part of the site they actually need to use. Do we want to provide more information on how to (re)construct a search if zero results are returned, or, do we want to link directly to how do I's…, to Ask-A-Librarian, or propose that the patron visit or call a reference desk? A number of content and design variations were proposed and considered, however, no consensus was reached. It was decided to refer the issue to WAC-D for further consideration and a unified proposal.
It was decided that the 'The How Do I's' be placed in the side bar near the top. The exact placement and ordering has been referred to WAC-D.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:59 p.m.