Steve Perkins announced that Ron Jantz was elected as chairperson of the committee.
Ron led the group in creating an agenda for the meeting. Items to touch on included: development of a policy for front page changes, reviewing web pages of other academic libraries, organizing our work, identifying immediate things to be done.
The meeting was held in the SCC Information Handling Laboratory so that web pages of other libraries could be reviewed. Sam McDonald had provided the group with URL's for pages to review prior to the meeting, and there were many comments.
During the discussion, the following points were made:
The University of Pennsylvania and Duke University library pages have a clean look but may not provide essential navigational guidance.
Mark Witteman said that the Rutgers top page has much to offer. He reminded us of the toolkit available to Rutgers web page developers.
Electronic resources is a major area.
A new campus indexing engine is being designed to use meta tags, so we will need to identify them for our web pages.
Features of the Rutgers toolkit were reviewed.
The University requests that departmental pages use the Rutgers look and feel, and we can work within that framework.
Various groupings are possible on our top page.
We need to identify our audience and use their vocabulary rather than our jargon.
Perhaps public library pages are good models since that is from where our students are coming. Pages for NYPL, Burlington County, and Chicago PL were reviewed.
The group next looked at a prototype developed by Sam McDonald. The prototype follows the Rutgers look and feel with the use of a side bar for navigation. There was discussion of the tradeoffs between having headers with no text and little scrolling vs. headers with text and required scrolling. The order of elements should be by what we use most. Ideas were to have descriptive text at the bottom of the page or below the header in a smaller font. We will need to define the technology level to which our pages will be created. Can we provide support for all browsers and equipment levels? An idea was to write for the level of the public workstations in the libraries. This level might be a problem for distance education, dorm rooms, home users.
The group adjourned to the Heyer Conference Room to determine how work will be organized. Three areas were selected for initial work: front page design, subject web guides, and immediate things.
The front page design subgroup will work on design and standards. They will keep the prototype discussion going, making changes and reviewing results. Issues for this subgroup include: lowest common denominator technology platform (browsers and equipment), colors, numbers of buttons, scrolling, click depth, navigation structure, categories (terminology and arrangement). The group generally liked how the University of Pennsylvania uses the red dots from its top page to tell users on subsequent pages where they are. We would probably want to develop something similar but without relying on an image. It may be possible to use statistics from our web server to identify categories to feature on our top page.
Jeanne Boyle listed the following tasks for the immediate things subgroup to review: the catalogs page to add links for web versions, the indexes pages for descriptions and search guides that match the version (web or telnet) being accessed, the electronic journals page for overall style and content, how trials can be enabled, how announcements about trials, service reminders, and library news should be displayed. In addition, the group should be responsible for and entrusted with placement of new services and resources as they become available and the content for any explanatory materials needed. She noted that a mechanism is needed to announce changes on the pages to all front-line information workers. Boyle, Glazer, and McDonald were assigned the task of drafting a policy for news announcements on the top page.
Issues for the Web Guides Subgroup are: organization of the web guides page, structure of individual pages, recommendation on content, relationship between web guides and subject guides and how best to present or combine them, specific subject coverage, relationship to Rutgers departmental pages, and unmaintained pages.
Sam McDonald noted that long term WAC will probably want to evolve into working on such fronts as:
The Committee broke into subgroups and selected leaders for each. Sam McDonald will be a member of each group. Group memberships and leaders are:
Dave Hoover agreed to update the WAC e-distribution list to include the present membership. If possible, the list will be renamed RUL_WAC. The Immediate Things Subgroup was directed to announce any immediate web page changes to RUL_FACULTY and RUL_STAFF.
Future WAC meetings were scheduled for 9:30-12 noon on the following dates:
Thursday, December 3
Friday, January 8
Friday, February 5
Subgroups will set their own meeting schedules.