I took Academic Libraries (LIS9630) this term and I wanted to share a project I completed with Victoria Wong. We created a homepage for a fictional academic library.
Since the beginning of term, the students in this class pretended to be librarians at a fictional institution (known by the acronym of FAIHR-L). For this project, we divided our classmates into three committees that addressed the needs of an academic library’s web presence. Each committee produced a report. Wong and I read them to assist us with deciding on what was to be added on the homepage and how things would be formatted. We also observed real academic library websites and applied usability best practices.
We limited our scope to only a homepage to make the project manageable, but we created a supplemental page.
Please see below to view the mockups. The mockups were created by Wong, in Balsamiq.
The final version of the homepage’s mockup
A close up of the catalogue’s dropdown
Prototype of an About page that supplemented our project
To read the rationale behind our decisions, click here.
Please note: We cited the reports our colleagues produced. For privacy reasons, their names were removed.
Today’s post comes to us from our Country Coordinator for Bhutan, Sonam Wangdi.
I work in a Government basedresearch and training institute libraryatBumthang district, Bhutan. The library has only two staff, the librarian and librarian assistant. Both of us perform every bit of library task to meet the needs of patrons’ demand. Generally, I oversee the management of the library and perform some specific task on resource acquisition and cater electronic resources to users. Developing countries like Bhutan cannot afford to procure all the available commercial e-resource databases, which cost a huge amount. However, through the use of the Institute’s Memorandum of Understanding with other universities in developed countries, the library can access e-resources available at the partnered university.
In a day, I download minimum of 4-6 peer reviewed articles from various databases as per the requests received from patrons at anytime within the…
This month, Brock University’s library announced that they would be cancelling some online journal subscriptions distributed by Wiley-Blackwell. This will result in over 1300 journals being inaccessible to students and faculty at Brock University. Articles can still be obtained through interlibrary loans, but patrons will be unable to have immediate access to journals. You can read full details in this article.
The library’s rationale for the cuts can be read here. I want to highlight a quote for further discussion:
…Brock’s enrollment growth over the last decade has placed us in higher publisher pricing tiers for some products. Publisher price increases have far outstripped both inflation and the modest increases to the Library’s acquisitions budget. As well, the Library is significantly affected by currency fluctuations.
While it is a shame to see a valuable resource cancelled, it also highlights the differences between user expectations, librarians and online accessibility.
The average user does not necessarily understand how information can be denied to them. After all, Google can provide the answer to everything; information is supposed to be free, right? But in actuality, access to articles cost money. We pay it through our tuition and a librarian is usually the negotiator between what we have access to and on what condition (i.e. the amount of users that can use a resource simultaneously).
As online research becomes more popular and hard copies lose preference, journal subscriptions will reflect the money they are losing from print. This is all happening in a context where library budgets are being reduced and under pressure to meet the research needs of their users.
I predict that there will be other academic libraries (and other libraries in general) that will be forced to cut valuable subscriptions to meet budget demands.
The M&DC had different kinds of globes, including ones about the solar system. The raised-relief ones appealed to me, which represented the elevation of the world by having its surface shaped to reflect the heights (i.e. it wasn’t flat or smooth). With my images, you can see how high the Himalayas are compared to India. It’s incredible to see how far the mountains go. Next, you can see the deserts and mountains in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
There is a diverse range of atlases. If you search your library catalog with “Atlas of,” you will find that many topics are covered. Just as an example, in the photo below, the titles are about the historical atlases of Britain, a satellite atlas of Croatia and the surface temperatures of various European countries.
This picture is just one row of shelves in the M&DC; the possibilities and wealth of information is endless. Atlases are not just about geography, but about visualizing information.
Fire insurance plans are essentially the historic maps of various cities from as far back as the late 1800s. The M&DC has digitized some of these maps and are free to view.
A daylight map, showing where in the world it is daylight or nighttime in real time.
The M&DC offers so much more than what I’ve described above. Statistical data and consultation are offered. Various GIS software is available to use and visualize data. Every university should have a map library in some capacity, so definitely check out the resources available to you.
I went on a tour of the law library at Western University. Below are some of the pictures I took recently.
The first photo shows the stairs you climb to get into the library. When you enter, you are on the top floor. The first thing you notice is the stained glass window on the other side of the room.
On the second and third floor, I found some surprising features. The stacks have numbers for the rows, making it easier for patrons to locate items other than using a call number. Perhaps other libraries should adopt this. It is also the only library I know that has gaps in its floors (see the fourth image, where you can see the stacks downstairs).
The third floor had compact shelves which were automated. I had only ever seen manual ones before.
John Sadler, the director, led the tour and also gave us insight on the future of the library. The Bitove Law Library was moving much of its print materials offsite and digitizing it. The library posted a job ad all about moving and rearranging materials. They are planning on using the new space for patrons.
Sadler also told us about some amazing law resources: Real Property Reports (RPR) and Dominion Law Reports (DLR), which essentially highlight and summarize cases and decisions made by the courts. These are generally a part of the reference collection.
Scott Library is York University’s largest library. Today, I had the time to explore and take photos.
Scott library is also home to the Sound and Moving Images Library, Map Library, Archives and Special Collections and microfilm. The first two photos are from the Learning Commons.
I have worked here for years, so it is easy for me to navigate. My advice to new users is to know that reference services are on the second floor. From the third floor and above, books are there. Study rooms (for studying and group work) are on the first and second floor, which you can book in advance. Scanners are in the map library and microfilm room.
It is the only library I know that bats will visit.