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CODE4LIB  August 2013

CODE4LIB August 2013

Subject:

Re: LibGuides: I don't get it

From:

Wilhelmina Randtke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 11 Aug 2013 10:48:08 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

For Wordpress versus LibGuides, both are kind of miserable and unsatisfying
unless you are with a large library with in-house systems staff.

LibGuides was clunky and extremely limited when I used it a few years ago.
I also found Springshare tech support was not at all responsive to
questions or requests, but perhaps that has changed.  Nevertheless,
LibGuides removes a technology bottleneck just by virtue of being hosted.
A library using LibGuides does not need anyone with server administration
background, etc.  Small libraries don't.  The pricing is also relatively
flat, and a library will get the same pricing quoted to it, even if no one
there knows tech.

Wordpress is not a good option for a small library, where there are no or
only one staff with technology background.  A simple Wordpress install is
easy for a novice to configure by picking colors for a theme, and then to
make accounts to update content.  But also, even a one click install is
difficult for many people.  And once there is an install, getting to the
added functionality is not necessarily possible.  The same libraries that
LibGuides is made for (small libraries without in-house IT) may have
limited technical support to the point where they aren't going to be able
to go shopping for a plugin and extend functionality.  Me, I wouldn't move
to Wordpress.  I know tech but no one else in my library has background in
SQL.  So, no one could be trained to do a backup, reinstall, and reload of
a Wordpress without putting a huge amount of time into training.

LibGuides is also going to by default handle things like electronic
resource links.  Wordpress will not, and if there is ever a problem with
cut-and-pasting something into Wordpress and it getting reformatted,
suddenly you have moved from easy to hard in terms of fixing that problem.

It is not possible for someone with no IT background to hire a Wordpress
developer.  Wordpress get a lot of quacks.  If you look at small businesses
using Wordpress, and find how they got their developer, what they paid, and
what charges are for specific services, you will seen some terrible rip
offs.  Just really terrible.  And the quacks seem to out number the
legitimate Wordpress developers.  Not just on Craigslist, but businesses
that do Wordpress and have Yellow Pages listings and offices and have been
around for years.  Sometimes the Wordpress developers will even buy the URL
for you, and then hold the URL hostage.  Sales for Wordpress skills can be
very unethical, to the point of shocking, and the clients often feel
uncomfortable but do not realize how badly they have been taken until years
later.  LibGuides at least has a vendor who is used to dealing with
libraries and will provide fair pricing for basic services, including no
charge for things that should not require a charge.

And, if you are in a large library, you probably have high enough traffic
to your site, that Wordpress becomes more complicated in order to avoid
performance issues from high traffic and too many database calls.  You as
an individual cannot experiment with a site that get 5,000 visits per day.
Do you really have experience configuring Wordpress or any other CMS in
that environment?
-Wilhelmina Randtke


On Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 8:23 PM, davesgonechina <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> I've not had an opportunity to use LibGuides, but I've seen a few and read
> the features list on the SpringShare. All I see is a less flexible
> WordPress at a higher price point. What advantages am I not seeing? If
> there aren't any, is it the case that once signed up, migration to an open
> source platform is just not worth it for most institutions?
>

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