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LIS site improvements since usability testing

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Soon after the launch of the new Middlebury web site, the LIS website team conducted usability testing on the LIS parts of the site (see report 1, report 2). Many improvements have been made based on the feedback received during testing. Since part of the Team’s charge for this year included following-up on these recommendations, we thought it best to share some of the highlights. These changes were made with the help of many content managers and website editors; we thank you for your contributions!:

  • improved Google search has recently been implemented on the whole Middlebury site, which has already made searching for LIS content much easier
  • improved directory search results, so search “by department” displays the job titles for all members of the department. For example, the listing for all LIS staff
  • site banners that currently say “Library and Information Services” will soon display additional text for clearer branding of the different LIS website sections
  • quick links navigation items are now standardized across all parts of the LIS web presence
  • better color use in the “leaf” color theme for improved legibility
  • templates for the LIS blog that align with the Drupal site, with new design options for the LIS wiki in progress
  • on-page search boxes for pages that include sub-page lists is now labeled “Find on this page:” to distinguish from site-wide search boxes
  • added links to check ILL requests in My MIDCAT

Remember, there’s also an option for anyone to report issues with a page using the Problems with this Page? button, and you can get in touch with LIS Content Managers by finding them at go/liscm.

What’s next? We’re moving on from following-up on the old recommendations to working on marketing strategies for the site, and soon afterward, another round of testing, likely in the form of a user needs analysis and more usability testing. Feel free to send us feedback any time. Thanks!

WordPress Update

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Yesterday, we updated WordPress to v3.1. Most noticeable change in this update is the introduction of a new “admin” bar that appears after you log in. This admin bar includes quick links to all sites in which you are a registered user.  Site authors will also see links to add new posts and editors will have quick links to comments.  The other notable new feature is a “link browser” that allows you to search and quickly link to other posts/pages on your site.

Most importantly, this release includes over 800 bug fixes by over 180 developers from around the world. It has been downloaded over 1 million times in the last week.

Let us know if you have any questions about this update or experience any problems.

Campus Network Infrastructure Upgrade

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

As mentioned in a previous blog post, LIS is improving and expanding the campus network.   Step one was to increase the size of our connection to the Internet, which we have done.

The next step is to upgrade the network infrastructure on campus.  This step can roughly be divided into three phases: 1) replace the core network gear in Voter, Davis Family Library and Carr Hall; 2) replace the edge network switches in academic and residential buildings across campus; and 3) replace existing wireless access points in dorms and add new ones.  Obviously, this is a vast oversimplification of what is in fact an extremely complicated project!  (To give just one example, there are 136 different wire closets to be worked on in phase 2, many containing two or more old switches.)

But we are making progress.  Much of the physical installation of the new core equipment is done.  Now, as each academic and residential building gets upgraded, we turn off the routing function for those subnets in the old core router and turn that function on in the new core router.  Finally, we physically move the fiber cables to connect the new edge switch to the new core router.  Most buildings will see a ten-fold increase in network speed when this is done.

On the evening of November 18th, the Donald E. Axinn ’51, Litt. D. ’89 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library became the first major academic building to be upgraded to the new network environment.  16 new switches were installed in the 6 different wire closets in Axinn, the new fiber cables were connected back to the new core router in Voter, and all of the Ethernet cables were moved from the old switches to the correct ports in the new switches.  The entire process took about 5-6 hours.

Next up is McCardell Bicentennial Hall, which is scheduled to be upgraded over two nights, December 15th and 16th.  MBH has 7 wire closets and we’ll be installing 32 new switches and replacing more than 1000 ethernet cables.

A future post will describe our plans for improving wireless in the dorms.