Minutes of August 18, 1999 Meeting

K. Au, J. Boyle, R. Gardner, H. Glazer, D. Hoover, R. Jantz (chair), S. McDonald, S. Perkins, P.Piermatti
  1. Updates

    Marketing: Press releases will go to the Targum, the Focus and other campus papers as well as the Home News. The website was posted as a "cool site" in the Rutgers Daily News. Space permitting, there may be announcements in the Friends Newsletter, RUL Report, etc. A new series of bookmarks to be handed out at circulation desks is being designed. One of these will be about the new website.

    Library Webpages: Ron took an inventory of library webpages that have yet to be finished. Chemistry, LSM, Math, Physics and Entomology need work. Music is expected soon, Dana is done and SMLR has its own webpage. Part of the problem is that some of the science pages are tangled with subject research guides. One approach to finishing them is to take it upon ourselves to bring over whatever is appropriate from the old pages. It was agreed that Sam will move the standard library links to the new pages and leave the other subject links as the beginnings of bare bones research guides. Some of the library pages need collection descriptions. We will revisit this issue at the beginning of October, trying to have 70-80% done by that time.

    Immediate Things: The process for putting up new databases is now working smoothly.

    Research Guides: Several new guides are up or about to be posted. Stephanie Bartz will be taking responsibility for the government research guide.

  2. Design: A question was raised as to whether we should include general indexes, such as Current Contents, in specific subject areas. However, there was some concern as to the number of general indexes that would be in all subject areas, as well as in the "see also" lists. We came up with three possible guidelines:
    1. Take off the "see also's" and just have a pointer to the group of general indexes below the lists of subject indexes.

    2. Leave the lists as is; subject selectors have made decisions about where the thresholds are (subject or "see also".)

    3. Limit the number of "see also's" allowed to five, for example.
    It was decided to leave the lists as is-selectors will decide what belongs up in the subject list versus what should be a "see also."

    The question of adding subject research guides to the "see also's" after the subject index lists also came up. We may come back to this at our next WAC meeting.

    The "page contents" at the top of each page currently simply take the user to that spot further down the page. There was a proposal to make the contents links instead. Consideration was referred to the Desgin Group.

    In response to several comments from users, there was discussion about "click depth" and general maneuverability around the page. It was pointed out that since the new page was designed foremost with new users in mind we brought a lot of explanation, etc. up front which leads to more click depth. This can be frustrating for experienced users, however. Sam stated that he is working on a "power user" interface which would eliminate some of the steps needed to get around the page. He would put an icon for this on the left bar. Sam is also working on a site map. Regarding the specific frustration of the number of clicks it takes to get into the indexes, Sam has experimented with hyperlinking some of the indexes from the top Index page. These links work well but there were several concerns. First, if the user were taken directly into a chosen index, s/he would not see any of the explanatory information or links on the second page (including, how to proceed once a citation is found, how to download, email and print, how to get remote access, and subject research guides.) Second, since not all of the categories are lists of actual databases, not all could be linked and this would make the page look unbalanced and/or unfinished. Finally, if we were to hyperlink the indexes, users might expect us to be able to do that our very first page as well. We are not committed to doing that at this point as it would require some reconfiguration of design since not all of the items listed there are linkable.
  3. Preparation for the fall semester:
    The committee felt that we are comfortable with the site and ready for the semester to begin.
  4. Goals, Directions and Work Organization:
    In order to identify goals for 1999-2000, the committee used nominal group technique. We went around the table 4 times and each time each of us named our top goal for the year. These lists are represented below. Round one lists each person's top goal, though not ranked in any order within the list. Round two lists people's 2nd goal, etc:

    Round 1:

    • Finish research guides and links from library pages
    • Finish all individual library pages
    • Support novice users
    • Stop use of rulib directory (finish moving all valuable old content over)
    • Refine and simplify design
    • Improve navigational structure (ie power user, site map, search engine)
    • Increase use

    Round 2:

    • Refine design based on user response
    • Power interface
    • Support power users
    • Implement search engine
    • More research guides
    • Fill in obvious missing holes (ex. how to download, email, print for new indexes)
    • Finish research guides

    Round 3:

    • Website review and keeping info accurate and current
    • Stay committed to how to download…for indexes. Make sure they're current
    • Convert local paper finding aids to web pages
    • Emphasize Rutgers resources and processes (ex. ILL)
    • Structure and delivery of staff pages
    • Expand instructional materials
    • Development of new content (mostly research guides)
    • Generate positive comments

    Round 4: ("other", ie not necessarily top priority)

    • Virtual library tours
    • CKDB decision
    • Implement metadata for search engine
    • Functional design for information pages
    • Outreach to librarians
    • Use more interactive technology as appropriate
    • Assessment (focus groups?)

    In reviewing the lists, some major overall categories emerged.

    The top 3 were:

    • Research guides
    • Navigation structure
    • Decommission rulib

    Followed by:

    • Fill holes
    • New content
    • Staff pages
    • Other

    In addition, we said that we need to decide whether to focus on the novice or the power user and whether to focus on structure versus content.

    These goals and questions will be discussed further in our next meeting. Also for the next meeting: CKDB discussion and consideration of our team structure (design group, I'things, review, research guides.)

Next meeting: Wed., Sept 15 at 9:30 in the SCC.

Submitted by Rebecca Gardner

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/web_advisory/minutes/wacmin_99_08_18.shtml
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