A web-sighting: NCSU Libraries redux

Lorcan 1 min read

Susan Rector from NCSU Libraries left a nice note on my entry about library websites. She pointed at some discussion of the redesign on their libraries blog. I was particularly interested to read about their objectives with the new site:

  • Streamline access to search functions and core user tasks
  • Provide ways to contact librarians throughout the user experience
  • Highlight core tools and provide paths to top tasks
  • Promote the library through news & events messaging
  • Promote new innovations in library technology and learning spaces
  • [Give us your feedback]

A nice list. I was interested that I had picked up on various of these things in my few remarks. This is more a sign that they have achieved quite a bit of what they wanted to than it is that I was being very perceptive 😉 I was particularly interested in the equal focus across all the elements of the library: the collections, the space, the services and the staff. Sometimes there is a tendency to be collections focused.
Somebody asked me why I used the expression ‘demand-influenced’ rather than something perhaps more immediately digestible like ‘user centered’. Several reasons. The first is that since talking about ‘Sorting out demand‘ at the Lita Top Tech Trends event the balance between ‘sorting out supply’ and ‘sorting out demand’ has been on my mind, and seems like an important distinction. The second is that we tend to use ‘user’ rather lightly and assume that everything is done in service of the user. And the third is that ‘demand’ suggests something a little more dynamic, and measurable, than ‘user’. To me, anyway.

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As we move from a collections-based to a relational library, storytelling becomes very important. One trend is the emergence of a stronger narrative or storytelling emphasis on websites, which helps position the library, promote its services, and address specific interests.
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