Library websites again

The more I look at library websites, the more they do indeed seem to wrap a thin layer around a jumble of things which have not been designed for the web. Indeed, the individual pieces have not really been designed as a whole. Consider the not uncommon situation where a user is guided to separate resources for ‘catalog’ and ‘electronic resources’ and is expected to understand what the difference between these is. I have mentioned Krisellen Maloney’s writing on this issue a couple of times as I thought that she expressed the situation very well. The current issue of Information Technology and Libraries has an article by her and a colleague, ‘Beyond information architecture’, which considers this issue again in the context of information architectures.

Library users’ mental models of library processes have fundamentally changed, creating a serious disconnect between how users expect to use a library Website and how the site was designed. In particular, user expectations regarding the number of steps that must be completed have changed. At the same time, library technical infrastructures are composed, in part, of legacy systems that provide great value and facilitate interlibrary resource sharing, but were not designed for the Web environment. It is essential that libraries develop new approaches to the conceptual design of Web sites that support current and future changes to both user behaviors and to library systems architectures. In the long run, these approaches should contribute to the development of a reference model for the description of library services. [Maloney and Bracke. Beyond information architecture. Information Technology and Libraries. December 2004.]

Incidentally, is it not rather sad that I cannot link to an article in a journal published by LITA?

4 thoughts on “Library websites again”

  1. The current thinking in LITA is that ITAL is a member benefit and restricting it to members (and later, journal silos) is important or people won’t belong to LITA. This isn’t a data-driven conclusion, just how current thinking works. I have often wondered why people join and stay in LITA; I wonder what a game theorist would say.
    Re electronic resources, I would like to see the library website that linked to analog resources. Like the preface “e-,” the phrase “electronic resources” immediately suggests the electric cattle fence in too many minds between dead-tree technology and the rest of the information universe.

  2. Lorcan, do you think you could post the citation for the article or email it to me? I tried to find it but can’t and am beyond frustrated with the ITAL site. Why can’t it at least have table of contents that are current!

  3. Karen (kgs), I think it is too simplistic to characterize it as “the” current thinking in LITA. The real challenge is that the membership is divided on this issue.

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