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Library News

KLOW in Print Again

The April 2011 Library Technology Report from ALA TechSource is all about “Using WordPress as a Library Content Management System.”  While Chapters 1-3 were written by Kyle M. L. Jones and Polly-Alida Farrington, Chapter 4 includes eight guest pieces.  Liz wrote the one on “Kansas Libraries on the Web.”  Woot! Congratulations Liz!

I’m going to start with Chapter 3, “WordPress Cookbooks: Tips, Tricks and Plugins,” especially the bits about Mobile Plugins.  Related, did you know there’s a section at wordpress.org dedicated to Mobile apps, in case you feel the urge to update your KLOW site from your iPad or smartphone?

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Library News

Designing Better Websites: a guest post

Nicole Engard, author of Library Mashups, is diligently blogging from Computers in Libraries for Bywater Solutions and I need to share this great information about useful, usable and desirable Web design:

This week I’m at Computers in Libraries in Washington, DC, so a few posts about what I’m learning here. First up this morning (for me) was Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson.

  • Disclaimer 1: That pesky catalog problem – we really don’t have any control over this in most of our systems
  • Disclaimer 2: Like the catalog we don’t really have a lot of control over what all the other systems we subscribe to look like

0% of searchers start their research at library websites (according to perceptions survey). Aaron and Amanda think that there are are certainly things we can do to improve our websites to get a better percentage here.

Introducing a new concept: Useful, Usable, Desirable – library websites need a balance of these three things.

Usefulness:

What is the #1 thing people want to do on our library sites? This is where we need to address our content strategy (plan for the creation delivery and governance of useful content). One way to find out what people want on your site is to ask them! This is a good place for me to put in a plug for LimeSurvey (an open source survey application that lets you create and manage web based surveys – a great way to ask your patrons what they want/expect/hope to see).

Content on library websites is pretty much like our spice cabinets at home. You don’t know how things got there, where things are, if they’re good anymore, etc. One way to handle this is a content audit (a great task for a cataloger). The first part of a content audit is the quantitative listing of all the pages (create an id for each page and include other info about the page itself). The second part of the audit is the qualitative portion. This is the most useful bit of the audit. Here you ask is this info accurate, useful, used, on message and updated recently? Using that data you then rank those pages (don’t use a scale of 1-10 – that’s too granular, do something like a scale of 0-2).

Usability:

Amanda and Aaron believe that less is more when it comes to library websites. Library websites are kind of like the junk drawer! A lot of library sites take the ‘just in case’ approach to design and put things on there ‘just in case’ someone might need it one day. Instead you should be focusing all of your development goals on the majority of your users and what they want. There is way more value in delighting 50% of your users than having 100% of your users feel kind of blah about your website.

They have come up with a template they can use to create a simple library website at http://influx.us/onepager. A great way for libraries to create a completely useable site that helps patrons find what they really want at your library. If you do decide to try this out Aaron and Amanda would like you to let them know about it.

To make your site useable you want to make sure you are writing for the web. When on the web, people don’t really ‘read’ they ‘skim.’ Conversational tone is very important for writing on the web. Instead of saying “A library card is required to check out items” say “You can check out all sorts of stuff once you have a library card.” What we were taught in school is not appropriate for the web .. a page that has a lot of paragraphs (an intro, a body, a thesis) is not going to work on the web. Instead use conversational language and break things out in to bullet points for easy skimming and making the important points findable. Another way to make your page useable is to add headings so people can find the area they are most interested in – also putting extra white space in there to make the content more scannable. Along those lines, par down your URLs! Don’t have super long addresses that aren’t easy to remember or type.

Use friendly words. Instead of ‘the library’ say ‘we,’ instead of ‘the patron’ say ‘you.’ Instead of ‘how you reset your pin’ say ‘how do i reset my pin’ – make it more personal and friendly. Also (and this has been said forever and ever now) do no use ‘click here.’ Instead of ‘click here to access your account’ say ‘access my account.’

Finally make sure you do usability testing!!

Desirable:

First tip – you can’t just choose random colors! Find a professional or use one of the many color pallet websites out there to find colors that work together. Next (and I whole-heartedly agree with this one) skip the clipart!!

Another way to make our sites desirable is to make them convenient and that means making them work on mobile devices. If you design for mobile first you’ll probably create a better website simply because you’re designing for a device with a smaller screen it will force you to follow a lot of the instructions already mentioned above (less is more).

The future:

There are four types of library website development that we need to focus on.

We need to start with the Basic – and many libraries don’t have even basically good sites. This site should have necessary info: how to pay fines, get a card, etc. If all of us got to just this state the library world would be much much better.

Next a Destination website. A site where librarians create the content and have conversations with their patrons.

The Participatory website is a lot less common, but this is the site where the patrons are very involved in content creation. Providing patrons tools in house to create that content and the librarians aggregating this content and making it available to all. An example would be Hennepin County Library’s BookSpace.

Moving beyond those sites would be a Community Portal. This is a place where the patrons go to help solve community problems. Kete might actually work to meet these needs.

Categories
Library News

Highlights of WordPress 3.0

Feel free to update your Web site to 3.0.1

Three dot oh dot one
Bug fixes to make you smile
Update your WordPress

For a great tour (with more information than you’ll need), watch this short video.  If you like jazz, you may want to watch just to hear Thelonius Monk.

Other interesting features:

  • Look for the Blue Buttons – they direct you to Save and Publish and Update
  • The Media Library and new Edit Image functions built into WordPress allow you to bring in stock photos, crop, and resize from within your site.
  • Use the Categories and Link Categories to your advantage when deciding on navigation within your site.
  • Searching for and installing a new theme is a snap – video forthcoming on the project site.
  • Understanding that when you first select a theme, certain widgets appear by default, even though the Sidebar 1 or Sidebar 2 tabs on the Widgets page look empty. Once you add a widget to any of the sidebars, all of the defaults will disappear.
  • WordPress treats Links with high regard – they’re special and good and can be categorized and those categorized links can be put into a sidebar (all alone or with all other link categories).
  • Messing with CSS is fun, if you know how to do it…but frustrating if you don’t. I’m of the camp – find a theme you like as-is or one that has cool Theme Options.
  • Last – the WordPress CODEX is great, so use it.
Categories
Library News

Kansas KLOW Sites

abilene abilene.mykansaslibrary.org
altamont altamont.mykansaslibrary.org
arma arma.mykansaslibrary.org
ashland ashland.mykansaslibrary.org
atchison www.atchisonlibrary.org
augusta augusta.mykansaslibrary.org
basehor www.basehorlibrary.org
beattie beattie.mykansaslibrary.org
bern bern.mykansaslibrary.org
bluemound bluemound.mykansaslibrary.org
bluerapids bluerapids.mykansaslibrary.org
bonnersprings www.bonnerlibrary.org
bronson bronson.mykansaslibrary.org
bucklin www.bucklinpubliclibrary.org
burlingame burlingame.mykansaslibrary.org
burnley burnley.mykansaslibrary.org
caldwell caldwell.mykansaslibrary.org
caney caney.mykansaslibrary.org
carbondale www.carbondalecitylibrary.org
cedarvale cedarvale.mykansaslibrary.org
centralia centralia.mykansaslibrary.org
council grove cgpl.mykansaslibrary.org
cimarron cimarron.mykansaslibrary.org
claycenter claycenter.mykansaslibrary.org
coffeycounty www.cclibraryks.org
coldwater-wilmore coldwater-wilmore.mykansaslibrary.org
colonycity colonycity.mykansaslibrary.org
columbus columbus.mykansaslibrary.org
conwaysprings conwaysprings.mykansaslibrary.org
corning corning.mykansaslibrary.org
edna edna.mykansaslibrary.org
effingham www.effinghamlibrary.net
enterprise enterprise.mykansaslibrary.org
eriecity eriecity.mykansaslibrary.org
eudora www.eudorapubliclibrary.org
eureka eureka.mykansaslibrary.org
fallriver fallriver.mykansaslibrary.org
fortscott fortscott.mykansaslibrary.org
fowler fowler.mykansaslibrary.org
frankfort frankfort.mykansaslibrary.org
fredonia fredonia.mykansaslibrary.org
gardencity gardencity.mykansaslibrary.org
garnett garnett.mykansaslibrary.org
gcpl www.grantcolib.info
goodland goodland.mykansaslibrary.org
grainfield grainfield.mykansaslibrary.org
greeley www.greeleycolibrary.info
grenola grenola.mykansaslibrary.org
hamiltoncity hamiltoncity.mykansaslibrary.org
hanover hanover.mykansaslibrary.org
hartford hartford.mykansaslibrary.org
hepler hepler.mykansaslibrary.org
herington herington.mykansaslibrary.org
hiawatha www.hiawathalibrary.org
hillsboro hillsboro.mykansaslibrary.org
holton holton.mykansaslibrary.org
hope hope.mykansaslibrary.org
horton www.hortonlibrary.org
humboldt humboldt.mykansaslibrary.org
inman inman.mykansaslibrary.org
iola iola.mykansaslibrary.org
johnston johnston.mykansaslibrary.org
kearny kearny.mykansaslibrary.org
lanecounty www.lanecolibrary.info
linwood www.linwoodlibrary.org
longton longton.mykansaslibrary.org
lyndon www.lyndonlibrary.org
marion marion.mykansaslibrary.org
marysville marysville.mykansaslibrary.org
mclouth mclouth.mykansaslibrary.org
meade meade.mykansaslibrary.org
meriden meriden.mykansaslibrary.org
montezuma montezuma.mykansaslibrary.org
moran moran.mykansaslibrary.org
moundridge moundridge.mykansaslibrary.org
nckls nckls.mykansaslibrary.org
nesscity www.nesscitylibrary.org
norton www.nortonpubliclibrary.org
nortonville www.nortonvillelibrary.org
nwkls nwkls.mykansaslibrary.org
osagecity www.osagecitylibrary.org
osawatomie www.osawatomie.org
oskaloosa www.oskielibrary.org
oswego oswego.mykansaslibrary.org
overbrook overbrook.mykansaslibrary.org
parsons parsons.mykansaslibrary.org
peabody peabody.mykansaslibrary.org
plains www.plainslibrary.info
pleasanton pleasanton.mykansaslibrary.org
pomona pomona.mykansaslibrary.org
prescott prescott.mykansaslibrary.org
protection www.protectionlibrary.com
rankin rankin.mykansaslibrary.org
ransom ransom.mykansaslibrary.org
richmond richmond.mykansaslibrary.org
rolla www.rollalibrary.org
sabetha www.sabethalibrary.org
savonburg savonburg.mykansaslibrary.org
sckls sckls.mykansaslibrary.org
scottcounty scottcounty.mykansaslibrary.org
sedan sedan.mykansaslibrary.org
seneca www.senecafreelibrary.org
spearville spearville.mykansaslibrary.org
stantoncounty stantoncounty.mykansaslibrary.org
stevenscounty stevenscounty.mykansaslibrary.org
stpaul stpaul.mykansaslibrary.org
swiftnet swiftnet.mykansaslibrary.org
swkls swkls.mykansaslibrary.org
swklskansasreads swklskansasreads.mykansaslibrary.org
sylvia sylvia.mykansaslibrary.org
thayer friday thayerfriday.mykansaslibrary.org
tonganoxie www.tonganoxielibrary.org
utica utica.mykansaslibrary.org
valleyfalls valleyfalls.mykansaslibrary.org
vermillion vermillion.mykansaslibrary.org
wamego www.wamegopubliclibrary.com
washington washington.mykansaslibrary.org
waterville waterville.mykansaslibrary.org
weir weir.mykansaslibrary.org
wellsville www.wellsvillelibrary.org
wetmore www.wetmorepubliclibrary.org
williamsburg www.williamsburgcommunitylibrary.org
winchester www.winchesterlibrary.org
Categories
Content Ideas Library News Tutorial

Add a Slideshow

Corning City Library has a really great photo slideshow in their sidebar that they created using an online service called Slide (they used another online product a few years ago, but like this one better.)

To create this, you can sign up for a free account or just start arranging a slideshow.  You can pull photos from your computer, a Flickr account, photobucket, FaceBook or elsewhere.  There are easy-to-follow instructions on the screen for customizing and re-sizing your slideshow, and then ‘saving’ the show.

Along with ‘saving’ your work, you are given options for where and how to share your slideshow.  If you want the slideshow to appear in a sidebar of your site, I recommend skipping down to the ‘Can’t find what you’re looking for’ link to get the HTML embed code you will need to put into a text widget.  Pretty easy and neat looking.

Here’s an updated example featuring my attempt at a garden.  I sized this at 150 pixels wide to fit in a sidebar, you can chose a larger size if you want this to appear in a Post or on a Page of your site: