Redesigning Library Systems and Services
Who’d have thought that a redesigned library website could attract quite so much attention.
Yet, the recent announcement by Stanford’s University Library that it has redesigned its website seems to have triggered a significant amount of interest.
At JISC colleagues have been discussing it for a number of reasons, from the development and UX approach to the fact it has been blogged throughout the redesign process on the library website.
The changes in the website also provoked an interesting blog post from Lorcan Dempsey that reflects on two interesting consequences of the website, which Lorcan terms:
- Space as a service, and;
- Full library discovery.
What the Stanford website clearly highlights is that the traditional (siloed) library systems can no longer be conceived of as separate from the range of physical and virtual spaces.
The library web presence offers an opportunity to go beyond the binary opposition of online and physical, to one in which the library (website) itself becomes a navigation tool between a range of spaces, systems and services.
The distinction between online and physical becomes increasingly blurred – instead the focus is on appropriate services and resources wherever they may reside.
In some ways Lorcan’s second point: ‘full library discovery’ is an extension of these issues – the discovery experience itself flows beyond the traditional confines of the catalogue. It pours over into searching the website itself, guides, staff pages and so on.
The design of the site, with its central navigation banner, is also very mobile friendly – it is surely not long until the library web presence provides a siri like experience… is it?
These considerations are particularly interesting in terms of the current work JISC is undertaking looking at the future of library systems. In particular the ‘pathfinder’ projects that make up the programme and the range of system challenges they’re exploring, from shared LMS systems to patron-driven acquisition and shared collection management tools.
This work follows up some of the themes and motivations that emerged from the Library management Systems programme a few years ago. The programme was an explicit attempt to address some of the issues library systems faced in terms of usability, user experience (UX), and integarting with the wider web and other institutional systems.
Indeed, a number of the projects in that programme explicitly explored the potential for library systems to crossover into more social online spaces, like Facebook, and collaborative academic spaces, such as VLEs.
The current Library Systems programme is trying to make sure it captures interesting developments as they occur on the LMS Change blog to inform the programme as a whole.
Stanford’s website redevelopment certainly poses a number of important questions for other libraries in how they design and deploy their services and systems.
For more background to the development there is an interesting series of posts on the redevelopment from Chris Bourg, a Librarian at Stanford University.