Our library's website is visually and navigationally part of the larger university website, but housed on its own server. We are under the "Academics" tab in the "Centers of learning" block along with the writing center, community service office, etc. Being part of the larger university framework makes it easy to navigate folks to our website. Being visually part of the university website has its advantages and disadvantages. It ties us in visually and makes us clearly part of the university website, but it also dictates a lot of our design features. We have a push-pull relationship with the "sales-oriented" approach of the university website -- a while back we were told that the library website was too oriented toward doing work and not enough toward advertising the awesomeness of the university. We have tried to include a bit more selling-the-awesomeness without sacrificing the utility (heavens forfend!) of the website.
Having our own server is usually a great advantage to us. It does mean that we have to do some extra legwork to keep ourselves integrated with the rest of the website, but it also gives us a lot of latitude to develop new services and create a pretty broad infrastructure. It is in part a legacy of the late 90s when the library had one of the first web developers on campus. We've sometimes had to fight to keep our independence, the complexity of a library website really requires some dedicated attention in a way that could not be expected of an external department with different mission priorities.
We do have a minimal presence in the student portal -- basically a link to the "ask a question" form and a login link for the OPAC/Circulation Record/"what do I have checked out now" page. If I had another person to work on it, I would love to develop more integration with the portal -- but not at the expense of the larger website.
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Matthew Sherman
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 9:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Academic Library Website Question
Slightly odd question for you academic library folks. Why does your library have its website where it is on the university site? For context, the library I currently work at has our library site hidden within the campus intranet/portal, so that students have to log into a web portal to even see the search page. This was a decision by the previous director who was here before my time and an assortment of us librarians think this is a terrible setup. So I wanted to kick out to the greater community to give us good reasons for free to the website to more general access, or help us to understand why you would bury it behind a login like they did. All thoughts, insights, and opinions are welcome, they all help us develop our thinking on this and our arguments for any changes we want to make. Thanks everyone and have a good week.