Minutes of June 16, 2003 Meeting

K.N. Au (chair), S. Bartz, J. Boyle, V. Cvetkovic, R. Gardner, S. Harrington (recorder), T. Haynes, D. Hoover, L. Murtha, B. Nahory
S. McDonald

1. Content Group Report (T. Haynes)

T. Haynes has continued to receive revised index descriptions from members of WAC, WAC-C has reassigned some index descriptions as well. Several research guides are currently underway, including:

WAC-C has agreed on how to mount the proceedings of workshops and conferences based on L. Murtha's 50-Minute Instructor prototype. L. Murtha recently completed a spreadsheet on finding aids in order to record what categories of finding aids we currently have and which finding aids should be updated. WAC-C plans to check with the 'owners' of the finding aids to see if they have plans to maintain them. Those finding aids that are actively used for courses will be linked from the Library Instruction and Tutorials page. B. Sewell has reviewed the collection descriptions gathered by J. Boyle. The descriptions will be mounted on the web; it is important to note that some non-traditional centers, such as CETH, may not have collection descriptions.

2. Design Group Report (R. Gardner for S. McDonald)

WAC-D continues to consider the user services page. J. Boyle and J. Gardner are working on bridging the disconnect between the user services page and the information presented therein. They are considering how to pull services, policies, and brochures together. The current concept is to make the pages "use-based," that is, to provide first the tools used to DO something, followed by other links, and finally, by policies. The paper brochures will be abridged; the website will become the authoritative source.

3. Liaison Reports

WAC members are encouraged to examine the new prototype for the University pages and bring thoughts, comments, and ideas to the July WAC meeting.

IPAC continues to consider the changes they wish to make to the catalogue. A possible change of the default to "browse by title" may have to be postponed until December.

4. E-Journals Page

WAC-D was asked to consider the Electronic Journals link. Members of the Public Services Council, among others, have noted that the prominence of this link causes some confusion about the full serial holdings of RUL and about how best to find articles. This is particularly true given that the label for finding citations to journal articles, namely, "Indexes and Databases," may not be intuitive to some users. Two options exist: removing the "Electronic Journals" link completely, or moving the link to the Advanced Users area. Numerous issues cloud the situation, notably what affect Serials Solutions might have, as well as how the PALCI service and how placing an IRIS search box on the top page may factor in. It may also be worth considering if clearer labels for both the "Electronic Journals" and the "Indexes and Databases" link might help to rectify the situation.

This issue prompted a long and nuanced discussion by WAC members. Specifically, it was questioned as to why electronic journals are singled out on the top page at all. Additionally, members questioned as to where the Serials Solutions list would be accessible on the page, and if the list would indeed be useful to the public. Other committee members noted that viable solutions for directing patrons do exist, such as adding an intermediate "Find Articles" page before "Indexes and Databases," but significant concern exists about adding click depth to the site. It was commented that the scroll over box that informs patrons about the content of each link on the top page may not be sufficiently informative, indeed, patrons might not intuitively connect mousing over the links with the content changes in the scroll box.

WAC seeks to create a balance between fostering information literacy while at the same time giving users what they want in an expeditious manner. It was posited that perhaps WAC needs to attempt to serve largest section of population. It was commented that creating a "Find Articles" link would cause something of a ripple effect; such a change in terminology might necessitate changes across the site. However, this change might be in line with what J. Boyle and J. Gardner are currently working on. It was then stated that simply removing the E-Journals link might not necessarily help patrons, they still might not know where to go to find the resources that they need.

Finally, it was suggested to leave the "Electronic Journals" link in place, and to craft a message to be placed prominently on the Electronic Journals page in order to redirect users to "Indexes and Databases" if they are looking for an article. WAC asked WAC-D to draft the text for this statement, and ask S. McDonald to mock up page with the statement.

It should be underlined that the discussion indirectly raised the larger issue of the overall terminology used on the front page. A site redesign may respond to some of the concerns raised. However, a redesign will also have to consider the new University design, and other issues such as giving greater weight to publicity materials. It was decided that that the agenda for the July WAC meeting would include an item for further discussion of the front page.

5. MSIE/Netscape

WAC engaged in a discussion of the merits of Microsoft Internet Explorer versus Netscape. It was noted that some journals work better in IE, while some don't work at all in Netscape. Chairperson Au encouraged the Committee members to raise questions about the issue, which are as follows:

6. Other

The WAC meetings for the next semester were set as follows. Generally, the Committee meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. The dates are:

July 14, 2003
August 11, 2003
September 8, 2003
October 13, 2003
November 10, 2003
December 8, 2003

7. The meeting was adjourned at 3:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Sara Harrington

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