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The Online Library Environment Projects and Challenges at The University of Alabama Libraries Jason J. Battles Head, Web Services Department
Online Library Environment What is it? All of a library’s sites, services, and applications available via the web
UA Organizational Background Office of Library Technology • • • Area Computing Services (desktop/network support) Digital Services ILS and E-Resources Sanford Media Center (media production and instruction) Web Services Department • Three-years old • Responsible for the University Libraries’ online presence • Work with departments/units throughout the organization
Projects Similar projects to many of our colleagues • • • Web site content management system (CMS) conversion Discovery interface implementation Digital collections challenges Mobile web app development User assessment More Other online projects • A. S. Williams III Collection - large collection of unique primary material and rare books focused on the South • Information literacy through gaming
Online Library Environment • Good planning and good fortune have enabled us to bring together our major web-based projects into an interoperable online environment. • Work is still needed to build the connections between applications, but the capability exists to create robust web services for users on multiple platforms and devices.
Web Site CMS Content Management Systems • • Provide database backend to traditional static pages Separates the data and presentation layers Migrating content to a CMS is not as hard as you think Allows more flexible control over where and when content is added or updated • Provides base for building mobile web applications • Most are open source • Several have strong user and development communities
Web Site CMS Implementing Drupal at UA • Public web site launched on Drupal 6 in January 2009 • Iterative development with multiple prototypes • Engaged stakeholders throughout the process • Low barrier online feedback mechanism • Usability studies with end users • Added user-centric functionality • Provided training for content providers • Created graphical guides for library personnel and users • http: //www. lib. ua. edu
Public Web Site
Web Site CMS Intranet Drupal conversion • Launched January 2010 • Create a collaborative center for organizational information • • • Media. Wiki sites for internal groups folded into Drupal via “Organic Groups” Room bookings display within site Calendar open to all staff to add events, conferences, workshops, etc. Updates to pages show in “stream” on front page “My Groups” tab provides user-specific information • Special issue of Journal of Web Librarianship in September on library intranets • Workshop at Internet Librarian conference in October
Discovery Interfaces Considerations • • Implementation complexity Vendor vs. open source Self-hosted vs. off site Customization of UI and data mapping Librarian adoption User adoption Integration with other resources Experiences with Aqua. Browser • http: //scout. lib. ua. edu
Digital Collections CONTENTdm • Performance • Cost and Scalability • Interoperability Acumen – http: //acumen. lib. ua. edu • • Home-grown solution Open source XML-based output http: //journal. code 4 lib. org/articles/3107
Preparing for the Mobile Revolution 2009 Ball State University survey of 300 students • 59% preferred text messaging over other communications. • Email was favored by only 7%. • 99. 7% of those students have a mobile communications device. Smartphones • In six months (Feb to Aug 2009), number of students that owned smartphones increased from 27% to 38. 5%. • 1 st Quarter 2009 vs. 1 st Quarter 2010 • 17% increase in mobile phone sales • 48. 7% increase in smartphone sales
Mobile Web Apps Why is this important for libraries? Consider what information to represent before starting. What are we doing to address the needs of mobile users? • Mobile-friendly sites vs. web apps vs. native apps • Multiple mobile platforms: i. Phone, Android, Black. Berry, Windows Mobile, Palm • UA’s mobile efforts • http: //m. ua. edu • Black. Board Mobile and vendor options • http: //www. blackboard. com/Mobile/Overview. aspx • Boopsie – http: //www. boopsie. com • Our first steps in development
Mobile Web Apps Mobile friendly site Web app / Native app
Online Library Environment • Accessible data is the key, but uniformly accessible data via XML helps. • XML enables us to more easily build mobile web apps. • • RSS feeds are easy to import because of their structure Acumen Aqua. Browser Drupal? • Some work remains to improve data sources to ensure that the same data can be easily served to both the traditional web and mobile devices.
Online Library Environment WAIT! What about all the other projects? Where do they fit?
Contact Information Jason J. Battles [email protected]. edu