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What’s With This “Quick Search” Thing…?

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

As new students arrive at college campuses everywhere, we all know the first thing they do is … check out their library’s web page (go/library)!

So, once you do that, you might wonder: what’s with this “library quick search” thing?

The library quick search allows you to easily look for various types of materials by selecting the different tabs above the search box.

Specifically, you can think of the different tabs this way:

Summon is the “one-stop shopping” tab.  It searches 90+% of all library resources, including the items we physically own, online journal articles, and digital collections.  Totally lost and about to start weeping?  Start here!

Midcat+ provides a way to search the materials physically held by the library, as well as selected online resources such as eBooks.  This tab also lets you search NExpress, the combined catalog and holdings of 7 New England college libraries, and which you can use to borrow things Middlebury doesn’t own.  If you are looking for a specific book, movie, or CD that you think Middlebury or one of our partner libraries might own, try using this search.

Journals A-Z and Databases A-Z provide a way to look up specific journal or database titles, and see exactly which issues we provide access to.  You can also use a keyword to find all journals or databases containing a specific word in the title or description, e.g. “jazz” or “biology.”

Reserves is a easy way to view course reserves by class or professor name.

Videos searches our DVD and VHS holdings.  Check out the “browse videos by genre” function if you’re looking for, say, film noir or romantic comedies.

And, if you get stuck, there’s always a librarian around to help you figure things out.  Welcome to Middlebury!

Sign up for LIS Website Testing!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Students, Faculty, and Staff: Would you like the opportunity to help LIS improve its website and make it work for you?

If you agree to help, we’ll observe and record you performing some tasks on the website.

Sessions will be scheduled from Monday, February 27 through Thursday, March 8 in the Davis Family Library. If you’re interested, please sign up by Thursday February 23rd (sign-ups are now closed), and we’ll respond with a confirmation. Details are below.

The session will take no longer than 45 minutes (15 minutes for explanation and summary, and 30 minutes for testing activities). We’ll ask you to perform specific tasks and we’ll use your responses in our work to improve the site. Your participation will be strictly used within LIS staff and not shared with any outside organization.

Thank you for taking this opportunity to help LIS improve its web presence!

Usability Surveys on LIS Web Pages

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The LIS web team is at it again! In a effort to improve the user experience on the LIS website we are conducting usability testing. For a few weeks you’ll find obtrusive mint green boxes in the corners of the Library, Helpdesk, and LIS pages. These are very short usability surveys. Simply click on “Give Feedback” and then answer each question by clicking the location you’d go to find various pieces of information on each page. Each survey contains only a handful of questions so please participate when you have a moment.

LIS Website Team Update: UNA

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

This is an update on the LIS Website Team’s progress toward the User Needs Analysis (UNA) piece of our charge. Right now we’re sharing the results and suggested changes that emerged from the UNA with the LIS Content Managers for the 4 primary LIS Homepages (Curricular Technology, Helpdesk, Library, & LIS).

The UNA results were based on a handful of participants in focus groups and a relatively small number of responses to webpage pop-up surveys (particularly for certain web pages). We are now turning our focus to designing Usability testing (likely based on the format used by the original Website Team). We hope to achieve better participation for this phase of our assessment. We’ll wait to share the results of our UNA until Usability testing is complete and summarized, effectively sharing all the new LIS Website assessment data at once.

Does tagging content make it easier to find with search? No.

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, video

I’ve received this question from several people now. Below are two videos from Matt Cutts who works on Google’s Webspam team explaining how tagging content mostly does not affect their search results. This also means that tagging largely will not affect how results appear on Middlebury’s site, since we use Google to provide our search results.

Tags

Tag Clouds

This does not mean that you shouldn’t tag content at all. Tags can still be useful for humans who want to find other posts and pages on a topic. However, if you want your page to be easier to find, your time is better invested in making sure that the content is well written, structured and relevant to a particular topic.

Two New Civil War Collections Won for Special Collections

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Erastus Hibbard Phelps Collection

The winning bid on the Archive of Civil War paymaster Erastus Hibbard Phelps, Middlebury Class of 1861, was made at auction by Andy Wentink, Curator of Special Collections & Archives. The archive was one among nearly 350 lots of American History, including Civil War, materials offered by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, OH, last Friday morning, December 2. The Phelps Archive comprises 334 letters, 4 diaries (3 from Civil War years), 2 bound volumes including a photo album containing portraits of graduates of the Middlebury Class of 1861, many of which are inscribed to Phelps. The archive also includes two photos of Phelps previous to his years at Middlebury, his paymaster sidearm (a Colt 1851 Navy 36 caliber pistol), what is believed to be his sheepskin winter jacket worn on duty, and a leather documents trunk carried during his service.

Andy also made the winning bid on another Civil War archive, 54 Letters of 2nd Lieut. Ephraim L. Hackett, Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery. Born in Maine in 1837, Ephraim L. Hackett was living in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in August 1861, when he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. Small in number and mobile, the Battery recruited barely over 100 men before being sent into the field in Kentucky that Fall, then went on to fight up and down the Mississippi Valley until the end of the war.

These two important Civil War collections significantly enhance Middlebury’s already impressive Civil War era archival holdings including the Aldace Walker (Middlebury Class of 1862) Letters, the Calvin Parker Letters, the Civil War Archive of Professor Kit Wilson, and nearly 100 Civil War era letters from individual writers.

The purchase of the Phelps and Hackett archives was made possible through the generous partial funding from the Friends of the Davis Family Library, the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Julian W. Abernethy Fund, and the Davis Family Library.

LIS web presence – marketing project

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The LIS Web team – Dan Frostman, Jess Isler, Richard Jenkins, Matt La France, & Barbara Merz – has been conducting a publicity blitz for chosen features of the LIS web presence. The selection was done in consultation with other LIS staff, with the aim of drawing attention to underutilized good stuff available to the Middlebury community. The features we advertised were:

  • Searching: the Midd Google search & special Helpdesk Google search
  • Training: Lynda
  • Drupal: documentation and new editing interface
  • Self-service PIN and password updating
  • Media services Event Recording & Film Screening forms
  • Middmedia

The tools we used were chosen with the target audience in mind:

  • an LIS eNewsletter to reach faculty, staff, & students who actually read e-mail
  • advertisements in “The Campus” to reach students as well as faculty & staff
  • posters to reach students
  • creation of more “go” links for easy access
  • use of QR codes to attract the attention of mobile device enthusiasts

We’ve also been trying to assess the effectiveness of our marketing efforts – here’s a summary of our metrics:

eNewsletter – special edition. Sent 10/5/11.
Caused a small peak in blog hits – normal background approx 30 per day, peak 196. Some of the eNews links weren’t to blog posts & as you can see below, there were spikes in the stats for featured wiki & web page URLs too.
Top posts on 10/5 – all featured in enews:
Home page 71
All About MiddMedia 16
Lynda in the Limelight 12
What is GO? 12
Searching is new and improved! 11

Unique pageviews /wiki/LIS/Main_Page (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 21, Wed Sept 28th: 15, Wed Oct 5th: 26, Wed Oct 12th: 15

Unique pageviews /offices/technology/help/ (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 84, Wed Sept 28th: 50, Wed Oct 5th: 140, Wed Oct 12th: 75

Unique pageviews /offices/technology/help/mediaserv/Recordingrequest (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 1, Wed Sept 28th: 1, Wed Oct 5th: 10, Wed Oct 12th: 2

QR codes

Perhaps it was the content, or perhaps people in general aren’t following QR codes around here, but the codes we included in our posters & “Campus” advertisements weren’t used much! 3 hits on MiddMedia posters and 1 hit on a “Search” poster.

Changes in use of advertised features

  • Self-service PIN and password updating.
    Frequency of Helpdesk HEAT tickets for PIN reset. The decrease in HEAT tickets after the marketing effort indicates a possible, though transitory, effect!

Nov 7 – 13 	23, Oct 31 – Nov 6 	15, Oct 24 – 30 (inc. break) 	10, Oct 17 – 23 	6, Oct 10 – 16 	9, Oct 3 – 9 (eNews sent Oct 5) 	14, Sep 26 – Oct  2 	11, Sep 19 – 25 	14, Sep 12 – 18 	15, Sep 5 – 11 	14, Aug 29 – Sep 4 	16

  • Training: Lynda.com
    lynda logoWith the help of Pij Slater, we were able to gather statistics about lynda.com use, but it was difficult to assess for sure whether our advertising caused any spikes in new-user accounts (posters around campus, bookmarks, LISblog posts, and an ad in The Campus on Nov. 3.) However, we can chart the number of new users from the time the service was officially rolled out in July,and we see that at least word is getting out:
    • July: 30
    • August: 103
    • September: 107
    • October: 80
    • Nov. (as of the15th): 46

Overall, it seems as though the strongest tool in our marketing kit is still the LIS eNewsletter, in addition to the MiddPoints News & Announcements blog (also shared as an email digest).