General information

PALNI Investigates the Usability of WorldCAT Discovery

OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery is widely used in academic libraries as a discovery layer, a search tool that attempts to offer the user a comprehensive picture of the library resources available for any given keyword(s).  As more and more of the library seems to exist online, a sometimes loosely connected congeries of third-party databases and tools, many with very different interfaces, librarians are growing more concerned with the quality of the user experience when their patrons encounter these tools.  Thus it is noteworthy when a sizeable consortium such as the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) decides to carefully investigate and report on the usability of WorldCat Discovery.  PALNI has been doing user research on WorldCat Discovery since 2015 and their most recent report appeared in April.  Here we’ll take a look at a few of the more significant findings from their research and give some general tips about how…

General information

Author Interview: Library Technology Planning for Today and Tomorrow

Library Technology Planning graphic

An interview with the author, Diana Silveira. You’re a consultant with your own company, Novare Library Services. How did you get there? I started out working for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, a large public library system in North Carolina then, after a few years, I moved to Florida where I worked for a multi-type library cooperative, Tampa Bay Library Consortium, which runs several statewide and regional programs. I still do training through the Florida multi-type library cooperatives and bring in speakers from other library systems throughout the country to present webinars for Florida Library Webinars. While working for Tampa Bay Library Consortium, I recognized that there was a real need within local public libraries for someone to come alongside and help with technology planning. Now, through my own company, I support libraries with technology training, planning, and web design. There are many rural libraries without technology resources in Florida, and…

Website management and User Experience

Heatmaps with Hotjar

heatmap of Langsdale Library's website homepage

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” so goes the old saying. When it comes to web design, heatmaps provide a powerful illustration of this principle. Heatmaps show an aggregation of users’ clicks and mouse movement on your webpage. User activity is represented through a color gradient, blue or green coloration indicate areas of the page with lower levels of activity and yellow, orange, and red signify areas of high user activity. The visual nature of heatmaps make them a key concept that should be in the toolbox of any library web designer or administrator. Often web librarians need to work hard to advocate for (or against!) changes to the library website. Whether these conversations happen within the library or with an outside web development company, heatmaps can help bolster your argument that specific elements on your site are worth significant attention and improvement given their high levels of user…