Article on Drupal

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Hubble, Ann, Deborah A  Murphy, and Susan Chesley  Perry. "From Static and Stale to Dynamic and Collaborative: The Drupal Difference"  Information Technology and Libraries  30(4)(December 2011): 190-197. 

( - Interesting snapshot of an important yet typical transition that many institutions are making at the moment from static web pages to content management systems. Part of the attraction of this account is its honesty. The authors stress both the good and bad parts of their experience: Resources were limited. Everyone had other responsibilities. A couple of times they preface their sentences with, "if we could start over..." Drupal, their CMS of choice, had a 'steep learning curve' but their requirement, namely, to serve as the front end for databases and subject guides in addition to the usual things an automated website offers, was hardly trivial. In the end, they proved equal to the task though it is clear they still have a few kinks to iron out. - 

Article: "Lightning fast interlibrary loan: Using e-readers for on-demand delivery" 
from University of Nebraska-Omaha
College and Research Libraries News

  • Traditionally, ILL book (loan) requests can be filled in only two of the following three ways--fast, cheap, or easy. It could be fast and cheap, but not easy; could be fast and easy, but not cheap; could be cheap and easy, but not fast. With the arrival of e-readers and e-books, it is possible to have it all--fast, cheap, and easy. The ability to deliver patron requests in a few minutes compared to days is profound.
  • ILL patrons will have a choice between Kindle book or traditional book staff purchases the title and have the e-reader waiting at the circulation desk for pickup.
  • If the patron responds affirmatively, ILL 
  • "I actually tried making a photocopy of a page on the Kindle, and it worked."

REad more at:
Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox from September 26, 2011, Mobile Usability Updatejacob_nielsen.jpg

  • This leads to the first, and maybe most important, guideline for improving the mobile user experience: design a separate mobile site.
  • A second key guideline is to have clear, explicit links from the full site to the mobile site and from the mobile site to the full site.
  • Avoid swipe ambiguity
  • To have a successful mobile site or app, the obvious guideline is to design for the small screen. Sadly, some don't, and we still see users struggle to hit tiny areas that are much smaller than their fingers. The fat-finger syndrome will be with us for years to come.
  • The second point is more conceptual -- and harder for some people to accept: When you have a smaller screen, you must limit the number of features to those that matter the most for the mobile use case.
 The Sept. 12 might also be of interest too: How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?
  • It's clear from the chart that the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users' decision to stay or leave. 
  • As users rush through Web pages, they have time to read only a quarter of the text on the pages they actually visit (let alone all those they don't). So, unless your writing is extraordinarily clear and focused, little of what you say on your website will get through to customers.
Friday, Aug. 5
10am - 11am  
Walter Library 310

Wednesday, Aug. 17
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm 
Wilson Library S30C

Thursday, Aug. 18 
10:30 am - 11:30 am 
Magrath Library 2

Before the start of fall semester, come and update your staff profile ( This hands-on workshop, will introduce Drupal, provide an opportunity to get an updated staff picture taken (optional), and give you time to work on your staff profile page. 

If you choose to get your photo taken remember these tips from the Communications Office: "A good rule of thumb for colors and patterns is low contrast. Avoid tops with big logos or a lot of writing on them. Keep in mind how the photo will be cropped, often just below the collar."

I like...

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Here are a few things to share:

1.) Summon-Mobile--University of Texas San Antonio--Video

Using Your Mobile Phone to Search the Library

2.) I like two features of the McGill University site: the "you are off-campus" in red but subtle and the images of the "Branch Libraries."


Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, April 11, 2011  

Here are a few quotes:

  • the rough estimate from our available data is obvious: users change search strategy only 1% of the time; 99% of the time they plod along a single unwavering path. Whether the true number is 2% or 0.5%, the big-picture conclusion is the same: users have extraordinarily inadequate research skills when it comes to solving problems on the Web.It also highlights a big problem with search today: it doesn't facilitate any conceptual knowledge because it relies on quick in-out dips into websites.
  • In general, we almost never see people use advanced search. And when they do, they typically use it incorrectly -- partly because they use it so rarely that they never really learn how it works.
  • For today's Web design projects, we must design for the way the world is, not the way we wish it were. This means accepting search dominance, and trying to help users with poor research skills.
What does this mean for Web Presence?
A recent issue focus specifically on Mobile. Here are two articles that jumped out a me:
1.) "Student Information Literacy in the Mobile Environment." EDUCAUSE Quarterly 34.1 (2011) : Yarmey, Kristen
Key Takeaways:
Notably, users of iPhone and Android devices are beginning to use new search input tools, such as spoken keywords, geographic location, camera images, and barcode or quick-response code scans.
Most of the student respondents who conducted information searches on these devices understood the need to evaluate the reliability of what they found.
Even though students claim they can read on their smartphones without being distracted, the evidence shows that disruptions did occur in homework sessions and during class time.

2.) Mixable: A Mobile and Connected Learning Environment By Kyle Bowen
Students increasingly turn to social networks to enable coursework discussions outside of class, a factor that promotes their academic engagement and success.
A new web and mobile application at Purdue called Mixable lets students build and share their personalized learning environments using already familiar social tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Dropbox.

3.) Digital Texts and the Future of Education: Why Books? By Michael Mayrath, Priya Nihalani, and Scott Perkins
Students have expectations for interactivity and connectedness when they use digital devices, yet these expectations are frequently unmet when using most digital textbooks, resulting in a lack of mass adoption.
Visions of media-rich, cost-efficient educational texts available on a variety of digital devices seem frustratingly slow to solidify due to a wide range of factors, including failure to effectively exploit the pedagogical potential of mobile devices.
A series of pilot studies found a positive correlation between use of the app and perceptions of increased engagement and consequently higher grades in the course.


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