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CODE4LIB  September 2014

CODE4LIB September 2014

Subject:

Library community web standards (was: LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav)

From:

Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:17:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (493 lines)

As Brad mentioned, one of the most interesting takeaways from this
conversation on LibGuides is the (lack of) recognized best practices in the
library community. If the folks here are representative at all, this is a
big void in our profession. This is not an acceptable state, IMO, because as
more and more library resources become web-based, more and more librarians
are having to curate web-based content (e.g. LibGuides). Yet, most of us
lack the time and expertise to figure out how to do it well. It seems like
every organization is trying to reinvent the wheel themselves (or just
forgoing wheels altogether). It would also be a great help for web
librarians if there were some sort of official library web standards that
could be used to help get buy-in from other librarians and administrators
who otherwise would not be cooperative. (Yes, I know that there are all
sorts of general accessibility standards, but something with a librarian
stamp of approval would be most helpful.)

I have two questions:

1. Does anyone know if anything like this already exists? I know there are
about 8 trillion library groups, so there's a good chance, but I didn't find
anything in a few minutes of searching.

2. If not, does anyone think it would be a good idea for a group like this
to get the ball rolling on creating some official best practices for web
design and web content for the library community?


Josh Welker


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Brad
Coffield
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 1:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

On a different note, just wanted to say that I have found this entire thread
massively interesting and very useful. *pats self on back for starting it*
lol Thanks to all who've been chiming in. (not trying to shut it down)

I'll probably be starting another thread eventually on something that was
discussed in here: best practices and creating rules for guide creators.
We're a small school and everyone who needs to be on board is on board with
creating a "style guide" and a peer-review process to ensure the style guide
is followed. I've been tapped to be the one to create the style guide which
is both exciting and daunting. I want to cover all the little stuff - some
naming conventions etc. but also want to build something that will help us
all follow best practices for web design and accessibility.I'll likely lean
on the group's expertise for these at some point this semester.
Many of our guides aren't getting the usage they should to justify the time
spent creating and maintaining them. Beyond the time issue to properly
develop them I think that a real part of the reason is that they are just so
user-unfriendly and difficult to navigate. There were some hilarious
comments earlier in this thread about others' school's out-of-control styles
and we have that too but its even just more than that. I think we were
operating under a "let's get all kindsa stuff up here and it's gonna be
awesome!" paradigm and now we need to restructure and look at these as real
websites that happen to be guides. The v2 migration is a great time to do
it. </ramble>

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM, Brad Coffield <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I also think all of these ideas are awesome. The idea of a third-party
> space, or even someplace sponsored by springshare, to share
> customizations etc. could help so many of us. Even short of developing
> a plug-in system, having someplace to share template customizations, CSS,
> etc. would be HUGE.
>
> Github seems like a very reasonable option though it's true the tech
> bar for admission is pretty high. It would be great if we had a place
> where those admins Cindi mentioned who aren't super tech-expert but do
> some customizations and would like to do more (and I would put myself
> in that
> group) could go to download custom templates, CSS mods to tweak etc..
> Even if it was just screenshots and text files for download.
>
> Springshare's Best Of guide is really handy and has been useful to me
> in the past but I think what we're all talking about transcends the
> capabilities of that site.... Or maybe not? Could all of this be
> housed on a regular old libguide?? Different sections for different
> types of customizations and boxes with individual submissions? Someone
> would have to manage it and the submissions.... which might make it
> untenable.
>
> On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> If we are talking about a set of _curated_ community plugins, Github
>> (or any of umpteen git platforms) would be fine. A Springshare person
>> and/or designated community persons could control the repos,
>> approving pull requests and managing releases and all that. A new
>> release would be sent to an approval process that would check for
>> bugs, performance problems, security, etc., and this part would have
>> to be done by a Springshare person most likely. If it is approved,
>> regular LG users could enable the plugin by checking a box on an
>> admin page that lists all the approved plugins.
>> Regular
>> non-techy users (who you indicated are the vast majority of LG sites)
>> would never have to touch git or even know repos exist.
>>
>> As far as communication platforms, the only thing that might be
>> helpful is an IRC channel. Otherwise, Github bug trackers, SS lounge
>> (maybe with a new developers group), and listservs like this one
>> would be sufficient.
>>
>> These social issues are one thing. The more difficult part IMO is
>> determining how the plugin system would work. Wordpress and Drupal
>> offer a good model with their systems of hooks. For instance, there
>> could be an on_page_load hook. A plugin could register with that
>> hook, which would tell LG under-the-hood to run the plugin whenever
>> the page loads. The hook would pass an object into some kind of init
>> function, where it could be manipulated in PHP and then returned. We
>> could come up with a small handful of these hooks that would handle
>> just about any use case the community might have. (Off the top of my
>> head: on page load, at a scheduled interval, on loading the "add box"
>> menu, on loading the "add box content" menu, on loading the admin
>> guide index page.)
>>
>> Here's a trivial example of sorting all the boxes on a page by title:
>> https://gist.github.com/jswelker/7c672c56be62b9d5fe58
>>
>>
>> Josh Welker
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>> Of Cindi Blyberg
>> Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 8:16 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>>
>> On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 7:29 AM, Alex Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > @Cindi: In my defense, I was being rhetorical as to why there's no
>> > plugin system. I wasn't trying to second-guess how you develop your
>> > products.
>> > Though I'm glad you're considering allowing more sophisticated
>> > customization for LibGuides. Navigation in particular is a thorny
>> > issue.
>> >
>>
>> No worries! I hope my response didn't come off as reactionary. We are
>> happy to answer questions, even rhetorical ones. ;) (I hear you, but
>> we were like, yeah, why *doesn't* that exist? Let's *do* it!)
>>
>> As for Gist/Git, there are repos out there, 20-some of them. We
>> would very much like to replace the Lounge with something else in the
>> future, and while I think GitHub is too high a bar for most of our
>> users, it could play a role in us sharing with you and vice-versa.
>>
>>
>> > There's some simple stuff thatare worth documenting. For example,
>> > Josh mentioned that:
>> >
>> > "The admin controls in LGseem to all be loaded dynamically via
>> > javascript, which makes them both very hard to customize and very
>> > easy to break. I have also noticed that changingthe ID of certain
>> > HTML elements in your template can have the unintended(and
>> > undocumented) effect of erasing particular admin features from your
>> > template."
>> >
>> > I've listed these IDs here: https://gist.github.com/alehandrof/
>> > 9f083aa03c287931d9f0#file-required-for-admin-html
>>
>>
>> We actually had this on our list of things to add to the LibGuides
>> documentation. So, thanks for that, Alex! :) I'll see that it gets
>> added--you're not the first one to alert us to this issue (nor was
>> @gollydamn).
>>
>>
>> > Any ideas on where/how we can share things like this? I tried
>> > tweeting it to my 6 followers. To my surprise, it was not widely
>> > reported on :p
>> >
>>
>> We are happy to RT - just tag us @springshare. We also have a blog
>> <http://blog.springshare.com>, and a web newsletter that goes out to
>> every person with an account. I realize that this is us sharing
>> rather than you sharing--if something else works, go for it, and if
>> we can help, just ask.
>> Keep being awesome, and know that we welcome your feedback. :)
>>
>> Thanks!
>> -Cindi :)
>>
>>
>> On 2014-09-25 23:48, Cindi Blyberg wrote:
>>
>> > OK, one more tidbit on this. I was chatting with Slaven, our CEO,
>> > and told him of the chatter on the list and the idea of a
>> > community-developed, curated set of plug-ins, along with templates,
>> > themes, etc., and he's totally excited about this idea. He (and
>> > I!) would love it if you all would chime in on this and other ideas
>> > on the Lounge so that we can figure out how to make them happen.
>> > We're going to set up a group on the Lounge for techie admins, but
>> > our Lounge admin is in the midst of moving so it might take a day or
>> > two.
>> >
>> > Thanks for all this great feedback, everyone! We are listening,
>> > and want to make these things happen.
>> >
>> > -cb
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 3:22 PM, Cindi Blyberg <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Hi Alex,
>> >>
>> >> That's a great question! I would surmise that a plug-in system and
>> >> other advanced tech features don't exist yet for a couple of reasons.
>> >> First, we're a small company. We have eight products and a small
>> >> development team; right now the priority is getting out v2 apps.
>> >> Second, we have more than 4500 LibGuides customers, and some have
>> >> more than one site. The vast, vast majority of those folks use
>> >> LibGuides out of the box, with a few color customizations that
>> >> they accomplish with the UI (or a lot, as you've seen...). Some
>> >> folks are advanced enough to figure out and alter the default CSS
>> >> and put their customizations in the Custom JS/CSS field. Then there
>> >> is this group.
>> >> :) There are a few LibGuides admins who do customization at this
>> >> group's level who aren't on this list (or are you?
>> >> :)
>> >> ).
>> >>
>> >> I'd also second the Lounge (springsharelounge.com) as a good group.
>> >> There's an academic libraries group there, which is quite active.
>> >>
>> >> Cheers.
>> >>
>> >> On Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM, Alex Armstrong
>> >> <[log in to unmask]>
>> >> wrote:
>> >>
>> >> The web content workflow and governance issues that were brought
>> >> up are
>> >>> really important. I would love to discuss them at excruciating
>> >>> length.
>> >>> But
>> >>> content ownership conundrums and the frustrations of WYSIWYG
>> >>> editors are broader issues that can be usefully taken up in other
>> >>> threads.
>> >>>
>> >>> I de-lurked here because I saw an opening to discuss LibGuides
>> >>> with other people who have a stake in it, especially as a
>> >>> lightweight CMS. I think Josh's description of its limitations was
>> >>> very good.
>> >>> His feature propositions, including that of a curated plugin
>> >>> system, were even better.
>> >>> I have a question though: Why doesn't it exist already?
>> >>>
>> >>> LibGuides is limited, though the v2 API looks promising for
>> >>> client-side stuff. We should be talking with Springshare about
>> >>> improving workflows for admins -- such as (an example I came
>> >>> across
>> >>> today) being able to upload more than one image at a time. And,
>> >>> in the meantime, there's other stuff we can do now: community
>> >>> docs, templates, themes, best practices, etc. I've been surprised
>> >>> by the lack of this material, considering how widely LibGuides is
>> >>> implemented.
>> >>>
>> >>> Does anyone else find this stuff interesting?
>> >>>
>> >>> Alex
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> On 09/25/2014 05:48 PM, Cindi Blyberg wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>> One more great guide to share - a literary journal from a k12 in
>> >>>> Australia:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> http://home2.scotch.wa.edu.au/theraven_winter2014
>> >>>>
>> >>>> For you LG admins out there - it's a series of RT content types
>> >>>> that's governed by an external stylesheet. They have LibGuides
>> >>>> CMS, and this private guide is in its own group.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> *back to lurking*
>> >>>>
>> >>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM, Cindi Blyberg
>> >>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> >>>> wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Jesse reminds me that I meant to point out that there is a
>> >>>> "Paste from
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> Word" button in the RTE that will strip out all that microsoft
>> >>>>> nonsense.
>> >>>>> Not quite what you were asking for (suppressing tags from the
>> >>>>> RTE--I passed that suggestion on to the devs) but it's what we
>> >>>>> refer people to who break their formatting accidentally with a
>> >>>>> massive paste. There's also a "Paste as Plain Text" button
>> >>>>> that has a similar effect.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM, Jesse Martinez
>> >>>>> <[log in to unmask]
>> >>>>> >
>> >>>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> I can commiserate!
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>> The tactic we've used at our university was to use the data
>> >>>>>> migration from
>> >>>>>> LGv1 to LGv2 as a means to convene guide authors and rethink
>> >>>>>> * the future overall layout of our guides (new side menu has
>> >>>>>> been our design choice but complicates preexisting three- and
>> >>>>>> four-column layouts);
>> >>>>>> * their intended use (pastiche of related but independent
>> >>>>>> boxes on the guide or something with a simple flow/concise
>> >>>>>> content -- it's a philosophical discussion, for sure);
>> >>>>>> * breakdown of content (when it is appropriate to have long
>> >>>>>> detailed pages or break down into sub-pages, which have their
>> >>>>>> own issues...);
>> >>>>>> * the strict use of accessibility policies (must set up
>> >>>>>> strict policies about funky colors & fonts, minimize use HTML
>> >>>>>> tables, content column layout w.r.t. responsive design, etc.).
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> I feel our internal conversations and meetings about
>> >>>>>> rethinking LibGuides
>> >>>>>> v2 with our staff have gone over well, and reiterating
>> >>>>>> appropriate "best practices" or suggestions whenever I field a
>> >>>>>> LibGuides question have birthed some improvements in guide
>> >>>>>> construction. It's an ongoing battle, of course!
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> There are some heavy-handed tactics in place here too. For
>> >>>>>> instance we've hidden the Fonts button in the guide editor
>> >>>>>> using CSS.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> span#cke_12 {display:none;}
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> This doesn't stop custom html or copy/pasting Word content
>> >>>>>> (ugh) from getting through, but it does allows us to say,
>> >>>>>> "nope, we're not supporting Comic Sans!"
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM, Joshua Welker
>> >>>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> >>>>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> I lol'ed several times reading your message. I feel the pain.
>> >>>>>> Well, it is
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> nice to know I am not alone. You are right that this in
>> >>>>>> particular is
>> >>>>>>> an
>> >>>>>>> organizational problem and not a LibGuides problem. But
>> >>>>>>> unfortunately it has been an organizational problem at both
>> >>>>>>> of the universities where
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I've
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> worked that use LibGuides, and it sounds like it is a problem
>> >>>>>> at many
>> >>>>>>> other libraries. I'm not sure what it is about LibGuides that
>> >>>>>>> brings out the most territorial and user-marginalizing
>> >>>>>>> aspects of the librarian psyche.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Does anyone have any positive experience in dealing with
>> >>>>>>> this? I am on
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> the
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> verge of just manually enforcing good standards even though
>> >>>>>> it will
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> create
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> a lot of enmity. LibGuides CMS has a publishing workflow
>> >>>>>> feature that
>> >>>>>>> would force all guide edits to be approved by me so that I
>> >>>>>>> could stamp this stuff out each time it happens.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> To enforce, or not to enforce, that is the question-- Whether
>> >>>>>>> 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
>> >>>>>>> outrageously poor usability, Or to take arms against a sea of
>> >>>>>>> ugly guides, And by forcing compliance with standards and
>> >>>>>>> best practices, end them?
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Josh Welker
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>> >>>>>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>> >>>>>>> Behalf Of Will Martin
>> >>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:34 AM
>> >>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> >>>>>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> 4. Admin controls are not very granular. With most aspects
>> >>>>>>> of editing
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> a guide, you either have the option of locking down styles
>> >>>>>>>> and templates completely (and oh your colleagues will howl)
>> >>>>>>>> or allowing everything (and oh your eyeballs will scream).
>> >>>>>>>> Some of these things could very well be improved in the
>> >>>>>>>> future, and some probably will not.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> This! My librarians have successfully resisted every
>> >>>>>>>> attempt to
>> >>>>>>> impose
>> >>>>>>> any kind of standardization. Visual guidelines? Nope.
>> >>>>>>> Content guidelines? Nope. Standard system settings? Nope.
>> >>>>>>> Anything less than 100% free reign appears to be anathema to
>> >>>>>>> them.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> The result, predictably, is chaos. Our guides run the gamut.
>> >>>>>>> We have
>> >>>>>>> everything:
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - Giant walls of text that no one ever reads.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - Lovingly crafted lists of obscure library sources that
>> >>>>>>> rarely (if
>> >>>>>>> ever) bear any relation to what the patron is actually trying
>> >>>>>>> to
>> do.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - A thriving ecosystem of competing labels. Is it "Article
>> >>>>>>> Indexes", "Article Databases", just plain "Databases", or
>> >>>>>>> something more exotic?
>> >>>>>>> Depends which apex predator rules this particular neck of the
>> >>>>>>> jungle.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - Green text on pink backgrounds with maroon borders. Other
>> >>>>>>> pages in
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> the
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> same guide might go with different, equally eye-twisting
>> >>>>>> color
>> >>>>>>> schemes.
>> >>>>>>> I'm not even sure how he's doing that without access to the
>> >>>>>>> style sheet, but he's probably taught himself just enough
>> >>>>>>> HTML to mangle things in an effort to use "friendly" colors.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - Some guides have three or even FOUR rows of tabs. With
>> >>>>>>> drop-down submenus on most of them, naturally.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> - A few are nicely curated and easy to use, but they're in a
>> >>>>>>> distinct minority.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I've tried. I've pushed peer-reviewed usability studies at them.
>> >>>>>>> I've
>> >>>>>>> reported on conference sessions explaining exactly why all
>> >>>>>>> these things are bad. I've brought them studies of our own
>> >>>>>>> analytics.
>> >>>>>>> I've had students sit down and get confused in front of them.
>> >>>>>>> Nothing has gotten through, and being the only web type at
>> >>>>>>> the library, I'm outnumbered.
>> >>>>>>> Just the thought of it makes me supremely tired.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I'm sorry if this has digressed. LibGuides is not at fault,
>> really.
>> >>>>>>> It's an organizational problem. LibGuides just seems to be
>> >>>>>>> the flash point for it.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Will
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> --
>> >>>>>> Jesse Martinez
>> >>>>>> Web Services Librarian
>> >>>>>> O'Neill Library, Boston College [log in to unmask]
>> >>>>>> 617-552-2509
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Brad Coffield, MLIS
> Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian
> Saint Francis University
> 814-472-3315
> [log in to unmask]
>



--
Brad Coffield, MLIS
Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian
Saint Francis University
814-472-3315
[log in to unmask]

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