Recommendations: Preparing a Document to Share

I started the LIS Website Recommendations document a few weeks ago, based on my personal views of the project and some of the discussions we have had early on during team meetings. I will commit to working later in this week to flesh this document out more with specific references to materials which support the changes it recommends. However, here are some framing questions we can use to think about these recommendations.

What sections of this document conflict with goals of the team?

What goals of the team are missing from this document?

What changes do we need to make to these recommendations based on the survey results?

What changes do we need to make to these recommendations based on other data sources?

What resources should we reference within this document to support the recommendations it proscribes?

12 thoughts on “Recommendations: Preparing a Document to Share

  1. Elin Waagen

    Ian, thanks for initiating a draft of our proposal for the LIS website recommendations – and for raising questions for consideration. This is a good start!
    This needs to be an agenda item for discussion by the team – after members have had a chance to read and propose edits – and after we have gathered and evaluated the data to support our recommendations.
    Questions for the team – when can we realistically have this ready to present to the AD’s and our team sponsor?
    When do we want it on our agenda?
    Rather than starting a discussion page – do we feel comfortable editing the recommendations directly on the wiki page – so that we can simply finalize it at a meeting? It does not have to be perfect – this is a proposal – and will most likely need to be tweaked after meeting with the AD’s.

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  2. Elin Waagen

    Resources – when thinking about recommendations and the proposal for the AD’s – what are the resources we will need to request?

    What else should be included in the text of the proposal? The charge and vision?

    A quick review of the charge and the vision raises the question – is the self- service component in evidence?

    Charge: To create a brand new LIS web presence that has the following characteristics: is easy to find (things,) is easy to use, is easy to maintain, is user centric, has more self-service functionality.

    Vision: We are creating a web site with intuitive navigation, easy access to services and resources, inviting interfaces, and a workflow that allows simple maintenance.

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  3. Ian McBride

    I’ve updated the document, greatly extending the Landing Page and Blog section and adding citations to our analysis where appropriate. The only real change I’ve made to the recommendations based on the analysis is the addition of several sections to the landing page on the expectation of their removal from the website IA (such as “Hours, Locations, Maps”).

    The blogging section was extended mainly to show how much fasted adoption of the blogging platform has occurred as opposed to the CMS. There are certainly those within LIS opposed to blogging, however, they are fewer than those opposed to the CMS. I really and truly feel that the openness of our blogging community is the key difference between these two groups and the increased openness and trust in allowing our coworkers to contribute will lead to improved feelings of the platform overall.

    As evidence of this, I’ll let you undertake your own experiment. Go and try each of the buttons on the editing interface of WordPress and the CMS in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. If you do this objectively you’ll find that those on the CMS work almost perfectly in IE and Firefox, while there are time in both browsers where various interface options simply don’t work in WordPress. Therefore, I’m forced to conclude that people’s objection to the CMS isn’t a platform issue, it’s a control issue: they’re simply not permitted to do the work they need to do in the CMS.

    I think we need to add a section to the recommendations to outline the training requirements we propose and the staff time to be dedicated to content revision/migration, but otherwise am feeling pretty solid about the outline.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen any significant evidence in the information we’ve gathered from various sources to dissuade me from the opinion that our LIS website should generally be:

    * A landing page with the most important info
    * A quick search interface
    * A CMS site for the library, largely based off SubjectsPlus
    * A blog for communicating LIS plans/updates/accomplishments
    * A wiki for technical and procedural documentation

    It’s way too late and I shouldn’t be working on this, but I won’t really be able to do more while at work for a bit. I’ll shut up now.

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  4. Elin Waagen

    Ian, thank you for your thoughtful and extensive analysis of the data and for your edits/additions. The document now incorporates not only some of the data gathered by the team but also the recommendations of WW.

    I propose that our next step is to finalize the draft of our recommendations so that we can present it to Jeff and the AD’s for feedback.

    Does it represent the recommendations of the team at this point?
    What do we want to add and/or edit?
    Other data analysis to incorporate?

    Reply
  5. Ian McBride

    There is a large, unfinished section in that requirements documents: the Library web site. These questions remain to be answered:

    1. What information is on the landing page of the library site?

    2. What library pages are going to remain in a CMS, which have already moved to SubsPlus, which remain to be moved?

    3. Should the LIS search portal be on the Library home page rather than its own page? Is this, in fact, the search tool for the catalogs and guides?

    Once those questions are answered, the IA of the library site should be evident. I purposely refrained from putting anything in the Library section of the recommendations because it is the part of the site with which I’m the least familiar, while we have in our group and in our organization people who are intimately familiar with that area and have much stronger feelings about it than I do.

    The wiki section could use some fleshing out and incorporation of comments / stats from the analytics as well.

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  6. Carrie Macfarlane

    First, thank you Ian for all your work! I couldn’t have come up with much if I hadn’t been able to read your ideas first.

    I added some content to the document on the wiki. I also have some questions. Here they are:

    Questions for the group:

    o To flesh out the recommendations, should our group discuss where we would put Segue, eres, email, banner, schedule a screening, voicemail instructions…just as examples of hard-to-place content?
    o Could we somehow integrate our news with College news feeds? Would we want to integrate all, or would we just want to make it possible to integrate some?
    o At some point, should we also consider making recommendations to other sections of the college site regarding where they should link to us? For example, course catalog listings should link to segue (or, its replacement).
    o SubsPlus – Should we try to make it possible to use it for course guides, too? Then we could plug our content blocks into ephemeral course-specific guides. (or…how to integrate a course-specific guide into a page on the new “segue”?) I’d like to ask Bryan about this before we make a recommendation about it.

    Questions for Ian:

    o About putting all blogs into one – would that make it more difficult to find postings? For example, if I was reading the “LIS web team” category and I clicked on the tag “meeting notes,” would I get all LIS postings tagged “meeting notes” (including LIS web team, circ blog, lisadvisors, etc)?
    o About putting all blogs into one — Could we create a blog feed for the new, consolidate LIS blog with content from all categories? (Would we want to?) News would include announcements of workshops, exhibits, trial resources, hours changes, service outages…
    o About using Mediawiki for documentation — would we use it for internal documentation (eg, circ) as well as external? Obviously, some internal documentation would have to be password-protected (eg, computer passwords, locations of keys). Does Mediawiki allow that?
    o Regarding blogs/lis – don’t blog names have to be at least 4 characters long?

    Reply
  7. Ian McBride

    Good questions, Carrie. I’ll answer the ones addressed specifically to me.

    1. It depends on the theme. WordPress is pretty customizable. By default, you’re right about what would happen: you’d see a list of all the posts about meeting notes, not just the ones for the category you selected. However, our theme could have an area for “tags within this category” that refined the search even more. There are implementation examples that show this to be fairly trivial http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1014269/wordpress-producing-a-list-of-posts-filtered-by-tag-and-then-category

    2. All blogs have a blog-wide feed, plus a feed for each category, plus a feed for each tag. Again, it is up to the template to display links to these feeds and decide where they are displayed. This would be an excellent opportunity for the team to help make some of these interface decisions for the theme used by the LIS blog. And the advantage of having a single blog shows here as well: we can guarantee that its theme will be a single theme (since its a single blog), making the user experience uniform for all users. Remember too that categories can have sub-categories. There could be a category for Teams and a sub-category for LIS Website Team. That would give me the choice of whether I wanted to subscribe to the All LIS feed, or just the Teams feed (which could include posts from the Curricular Technology Team and Digitization Team as well), or just the LIS Website Team feed.

    3. In my opinion, wikis are not a great tool for storing sensitive data since much of their development has been focused on broad distribution of data. I would personally feel more comfortable if this information were on documents in middfiles rather than *any* web service. However, the Helpdesk and Web Services groups both maintain separate, private wikis that require authentication. These can be linked to from the LIS Wiki using the cross-wiki linking syntax.

    4. Some users can create blogs with any name they like B)

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  8. Barbara Merz

    Somehow I missed this section of comments all together. A small point that jumped out at me “* A CMS site for the library, largely based off SubjectsPlus”. I don’t feel that subs plus is a particularly major component of the library site. Certailnly something to link to from the library front page but not more than that.
    I’ll duplicate my comment from the recommendations discussion page on the wiki in case that’s a backwater!

    “I’m not sure what we’re recommending in the section “The LIS Search Portal”

    Part of it seems to refer to the elusive library federated searching – a tool where users can search journal articles from many sources as well as conventional library catalogs. We are pretty far from having any such tool. We have also been attempting a more modest project – LibraryFind to act as a search interface to our various local digital resources. That too is currently at a stand still. I would not count on any of this being ready for web launch. But a “LIS Search Portal” sounds like a much more generalised search – not part of the library site but something for LIS. How is it different from the search efforts already underway for the whole college site? Do we need this section of the recommendations? “

    Reply
  9. Ian McBride

    Barbara, I agree and in light of your feedback propose two changes to the recommendations:

    1. Change “A CMS site for the library, largely based off SubjectsPlus” to “A CMS site for the library, with content from the current library site as well as RSS feeds from SubjectsPlus”.

    2. Move the “LIS Search Portal” as a sub-section of the library site recommendations and rename it to the “Library Search Portal”. For the site launch, this resource would probably be like the “Library Quick Search” widget you see here https://www.amherst.edu/library/ and on many other higher-ed library sites. As the LibraryFind project progresses post-launch, we may eventually replace the “Library Search Portal” with the One True Library Federated Search, but that’s beyond the scope of our team at this point in time.

    Do these changes accurately reflect our thinking?

    Reply
  10. Carrie Macfarlane

    p.s on my comment about using SubsPlus for course research guides. I asked Bryan and he confirmed that it will be possible …. in the future. The course guides module is only in beta right now. So, I’ll put something to that effect in the recommendations document on the wiki.

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  11. Ian McBride

    Yeah, that’s exactly what I’d envision for the “Library Search Portal”, which is why I recommended moving that section of the document to be part of the section on the library.

    Reply

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