On Nov 27, 2013, at 11:01 AM, Jonathan Rochkind wrote:
> Many of our academic libraries have very byzantine 'hours' policies.
> Developing UI that can express these sensibly is time-consuming and difficult; by doing a great job at it (like Sean has), you can make the byzantine hours logic a lot easier for users to understand... but you can still only do so much to make convoluted complicated library hours easy to deal with and understand for users.
> If libraries can instead simplify their hours, it would make things a heck of a lot easier on our users. Synchronize the hours of the different parts of the library as much as possible. If some service points aren't open the full hours of the library, if you can make all those service points open the _same_ reduced hours, not each be different. Etc.
> To some extent, working on hours displays to convey byzantine hours structures can turn into the familiar case of people looking for technological magic bullet solutions to what are in fact business and social problems.
I agree up to a point.
When I was at GWU, we were running what was the most customized
version of Banner (a software system for class registration, HR,
etc.) Some of the changes were to deal with rules that no one
could come up with a good reason for, and they should have been
simplified. Other ones were there for a legitimate reason.*
You should take these sorts of opportunities to ask *why* the
hours are so complicated, and either document the reason for it,
or look to simplify it.
Did a previous librarian have some regularly scheduled thing
every Tuesday afternoon, and that's why one section closes
down early on Tuesdays? If they're not there anymore, you can
Does one station requiring some sort of a shutdown / closing
procedure that takes a significant amount of time, and they
close early so they're done by closing time? Or do they open
late because they have similar issue setting up in the morning,
and it's unrealistic to have them come in earlier than everyone
else? Maybe there's something else that could be done to
improve and/or speed up the procedures.**
Has there been historically less demand for certain types of
books at different times of the day? Well, that's going to be
hard to verify, as people have now adjusted to the library's
hours, rather than visa-versa ... but it's a legitimate reason
to not keep service points open if no one's using them.
... but I would suggest that you don't use criteria like the
US Postal Service's recommendation to remove postboxes -- they
based it on number of pieces of mail, and ended up removing
them all in some areas.
Anyway, the point I'm making -- libraries are about service.
Simplification might make it easier to keep track of things,
but it doesn't necessarily make for better service.
* Well, legitimate to someone, at least. For instance, the
development office had a definition of "alumni" that included
donors who might not've actually attended the university.
** When I worked for the group that ran GW's computer labs,
some days I staffed a desk that we had over in the library ...
but I had to clock in at the main office, then walk over to
other building, and once the shift was over, walk back to the
main office to clock out. I got them to designate one of the
phones in the library computer lab as being allowed to call
into the time clock system, so I could stop wasting so much
time ... then they decided to just stop having staff over
> On 11/27/13 9:25 AM, Sean Hannan wrote:
>> Iıd argue that library hours are nothing but edge cases.
>> Staying open past midnight is actually a common one. But how do you deal
>> with multiple library locations? Multiple service points at multiple
>> library locations? Service points that are by appointment onlyı during
>> certain days/weeks/months of the year? Physical service points that are
>> under renovation (and therefore closed) but their service is being carried
>> out from another location?
>> When you have these edge cases sorted out, how do you display it to users
>> in a way that makes any kind of sense? How do you get beyond shoehorning
>> this massive amount of data into outmoded visual paradigms into something
>> that is easily scanned and processed by users? How do you make this data
>> visualization work on tablets and phones?
>> The data side of calendaring is one thing (and for as standard and
>> developed as the are, iCal and Google Calendarıs data formats donıt get it
>> 100% correct as far as Iım concerned). Designing the interaction is wholly
>> It took me a good two or three weeks to design the interaction for our new
>> hours page (http://www.library.jhu.edu/hours.html) over the summer. There
>> were lots of iterations, lots of feedback, lots of user testing. ³User
>> testing? Just for an hours page?² Yes. Itıs one of our most highly sought
>> pieces of information on our website (and yours too, probably). Getting it
>> right pays off dividends.
>> I donıt know if youıd find it useful (our use cases are not necessarily
>> your use cases), but I ended up writing up the whole process as a blog
>> Sean Hannan
>> Senior Web Developer
>> Sheridan Libraries
>> Johns Hopkins University
>> On 11/26/13, 6:41 PM, "Barnes, Hugh" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Great edge case, thanks for sharing that one!
>>> I think currently that could only be _encoded_ as a separate opening in
>>> the CSV file for loading into the database, which won't work because of
>>> my assumption. There simply isn't a way to express it. The relevant
>>> fields for the load file are startdate, enddate, opentime, and closetime,
>>> the last two being formatted as only "hh:mm", so it's assumed they relate
>>> to each single day in the range.
>>> However, I edited a "closes" field value directly in the test database,
>>> and to my surprise it rendered sensibly. I would have thought it would be
>>> rejected by a validity test I have which checks that the day portion of
>>> the start and closing datestamps are the same .
>>> I can't justify spending time on this in the near future, since it's a
>>> use case we are unlikely to need here. However, I'll log an issue, or you
>>> may. Thanks again.
>>>  https://github.com/LincolnUniLTL/calibr/blob/master/lib/app.php#L113
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>>> Bohyun Kim
>>> Sent: Wednesday, 27 November 2013 11:28 a.m.
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] calibr: a simple opening hours calendar
>>> Thanks for sharing. A quick question. If a library opens past midnight,
>>> does that count more than one opening a day or no?
>>> On Nov 26, 2013, at 5:04 PM, "Barnes, Hugh" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Hi folks
>>>> I took a calendar script posted to this list by Andrew Darby some time
>>>> ago and made some changes. I don't think there is any of Andrew's code
>>>> left, so I've rebranded it with an acknowledgement. (If I had my time
>>>> again, I might have coded it from scratch rather than built it over
>>>> Andrew's script, but that's somewhat academic.)
>>>> The whole scoop is in the readme on Github:
>>>> TLDR: With PHP, MySQL, some fiddling and data entry, you can publish a
>>>> library opening hours calendar on your website in more than one language
>>>> if you wish. It's a little quicker to enter common period patterns than
>>>> it used to be in Google Calendar. The output is more accessible,
>>>> customisable, multilingual, semantic, and hopefully more extensible
>>>> (iCal etc) than previously.
>>>> Here's a branded reference implementation:
>>>> http://library2.lincoln.ac.nz/hours - it won't necessarily reflect the
>>>> latest version.
>>>> Use it, improve it, feed back, or log issues right there on Github if
>>>> that works for you.
>>>> Many thanks to Andrew for providing the foundation!
>>>> Hugh Barnes
>>>> Digital Access Coordinator
>>>> Library, Teaching and Learning
>>>> Lincoln University
>>>> New Zealand
>>>> p +64 3 423 0357
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