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CODE4LIB  December 2013

CODE4LIB December 2013

Subject:

Re: Academic Library Website Question

From:

"Wiegand, Laura K." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 09:58:46 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (170 lines)

I wouldn't discount the main institution's website as the beginning place for many students to reach the library's website! Both my analytics and my classroom/reference desk usability testing/observations confirm that our students, by a large majority, start at the University's homepage and then click on the link for the library. Next in line is googling for "UNCW library" (our institution + library).

It may be that students prefer to get to us from the university homepage because of the easy, prominent link, but I also observe them starting there for email, campus portal, Blackboard etc. So it seems logical that that's where they would start to find the library.

We are lucky that a direct link to our website is located both at the top and bottom of the university's website. This was accomplished by a) providing the campus with analytics proof of the high volume of our web traffic (our homepage is one of the top 10 visited links on our institution's website), b) developing a quality website that both conforms to university branding BUT is different enough to fulfill our very different needs, c) volunteering to participate in campus website redesign committees.

____________________________________________________________________
Laura K. Wiegand
Coordinator of Discovery Services
William M. Randall Library
University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5616

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (910) 962-3680



------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:07:42 -0500
From:    Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Academic Library Website Question

On 12/17/13 1:46 PM, Lisa Rabey wrote:
> I'm with Lisa in that when checking out other institutions, I check to
> see how many clicks it takes to get to the library, and if it is not
> immediately on the landing page of the college OR at least a drop down
> link from a parent portal, I start becoming Judgey McJudgepants on
> that institution. Because If I'm a librarian, and I can't find it, I
> cannot even begin to imagine how their students can get to their own
> library.
>

Hmm, this sounds weird to say, but it never occured to me that most 
students would start from the institutional home page, or really ever 
visit the institutional home page at all. Largely because most 
institutional home pages are nearly useless for current affiliates of 
the institution, but are instead perhaps marketting brochures for 
prospectives.

I wonder how many students or other current affiliates actually start at 
institutional home pages how often.

------------------------------

------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:18:08 -0500
From:    Lisa Rabey <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Academic Library Website Question

On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Hmm, this sounds weird to say, but it never occured to me that most students
> would start from the institutional home page, or really ever visit the
> institutional home page at all. Largely because most institutional home
> pages are nearly useless for current affiliates of the institution, but are
> instead perhaps marketting brochures for prospectives.
>
> I wonder how many students or other current affiliates actually start at
> institutional home pages how often.

At both institutions I've worked as a librarian, one a major
university system and the second, a community college, the emphasis
has always been to start from the college's landing page and go
forward to find information and then, department landing pages are
introduced as alternate option. So I've always assumed this is how
_all_ institutions work. However, my experience may be limited as
these are the only two institutions I've worked at as a librarian.

-Lisa

------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:53:01 -0800
From:    Cary Gordon <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Academic Library Website Question

While institutions often take that approach, I am not sure that people do, at least if there is an alternative. Sure, folks might go to the home page once or twice to get to the library home page, just as they might use a campus map to find a library building, but folks who use the library's online resources often are not likely to be going that route.

Your library stats should tell the tale of how folks are getting there. 

Cary

On Dec 17, 2013, at 11:18 AM, Lisa Rabey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Hmm, this sounds weird to say, but it never occured to me that most students
>> would start from the institutional home page, or really ever visit the
>> institutional home page at all. Largely because most institutional home
>> pages are nearly useless for current affiliates of the institution, but are
>> instead perhaps marketting brochures for prospectives.
>> 
>> I wonder how many students or other current affiliates actually start at
>> institutional home pages how often.
> 
> At both institutions I've worked as a librarian, one a major
> university system and the second, a community college, the emphasis
> has always been to start from the college's landing page and go
> forward to find information and then, department landing pages are
> introduced as alternate option. So I've always assumed this is how
> _all_ institutions work. However, my experience may be limited as
> these are the only two institutions I've worked at as a librarian.
> 
> -Lisa

------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:11:04 -0800
From:    Lauren Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Academic Library Website Question

While it's a really good idea to make sure your library's website is
prominent on your institution's page (because I think that does send a
strong signal, even to students, that your library is important to your
campus), the really big question is how easily your students will be able
to find your web page by googleing "University X Library", or "University X
JSTOR" or "University X Ebsco."

When a student has an assignment and their professor tells them they have
to use "the library", they'll probably Google you - they won't try to
navigate links from the university web page.  I agree with Cary that your
*current* students/users will probably not be going that route. So ensuring
your page and its content is easily Google-able and search-engine optimized
(and not hidden behind a portal!) is key.

-Lauren

-- 
Systems & Emerging Technologies Librarian, CSUN
Systems Coordinator, PALNI
@lpmagnuson <http://twitter.com/lpmagnuson>

------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:14:27 -0500
From:    Lisa Rabey <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Academic Library Website Question

On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:53 PM, Cary Gordon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> While institutions often take that approach, I am not sure that people do, at least if there is an alternative. Sure, folks might go to the home page once or twice to get to the library home page, just as they might use a campus map to find a library building, but folks who use the library's online resources often are not likely to be going that route.
>
> Your library stats should tell the tale of how folks are getting there.
>
> Cary


I think the key here is, "folks who use the library's online resources
often are not likely to be going that route." Which I think, bothers
me because it makes a lot of general assumptions on how people search
for information which can and does vary wildly from a community
college to a PHD granting institution.

In my working experience, many, many of our instructors do not give
direct links to the college's library site, rather, they tell students
to start from the college's landing page or Blackboard and go forward.
When I get them in my info lit classes, many if not most, had no idea
you could go directly to the library's site by direct URL. Off the
cuff one on one instruction in our open lab shows much of the same
behaviour.

-Lisa

Lisa M. Rabey | @pnkrcklibrarian
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An Unreliable Narrator: http://exitpursuedbyabear.net
Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian: http://lisa.rabey.net

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