The Shifted Librarian -

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* Monday, October 24, 2005

20051024-02: Web Trends & Innovations for Public Library Web Sites

John Blyberg, AADL
Sarah Houghton, Marin County
David King, KCPL
Glenn Peterson, Hennepin County

Phoenix focuses on welcoming you, subject guides
Seattle focuses on books, the catalog, “interacting and introducing;” lots of action words
New York focuses on programming, finding things

focus on content, customers (specific user groups), and communication (with customers)
all three sites are redesigning with web standards

how are they doing these redesigns?
70% of their reserves are coming from online
use those statistics to try and build a site that serves those needs
it’s all about “leveraging” - staff, resources, etc.
– web application software (PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, perl, etc.)
– rapid development environment (Dreamweaver, Homesite, etc.)
– reference staff for conent (web-based tools for staff)
– learn more about XML (RSS)

David and Glenn are her inspiration, but she can’t compete with them; wishes she had 3.5 staff to devote to the web site, but it’s just her and only for 5 hours per week
what can you do that you’re not already doing when you have no resources?
– use a blog (you don’t even have to call it a blog)
– use RSS feeds
– uses a team approach to the blog, each person posts on a particular day (5 people)
– put up your link lists, HTML or PDF (e.g., Da Vince Code readalikes list that they put online)
– quick searches = links that lead to prefab catalog searches (DVDs, new books, large type) - you can do that with Innovative catalogs?!?! - helloooooooo, SWAN! (examples: SFPL, San Rafael)
– simple online forms, either printable PDFs or simple HTML forms (an obituary request); need to have a way for patrons to give you feedback online
– lightweight virtual reference; IM, Jybe, SMS
  – one heavyweight reference contender has said 30% of online sessions with patrons are dropped for various reasons

AADL uses LAMP platform with Drupal
talked about various pieces of the platform

thinks we will see:
– more web site redesigns
– continued interaction, RSS feeds
– more ways for patrons to connect with librarians (IM, SMS)
– video
used “The Book Hive” web site as an example of how this might come together on a library web site

audience question: is there a place for personalizing the library site the way Yahoo, etc. do?
David: yes, but not many libraries have the resources to do that
Sarah: thinks we need to concentrate on getting our content out there so patrons can add it to Yahoo or wherever they already are (YES!)

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