Journal of Web Librarianship

 

                                    Volume 1

                                    Number 4

                                    2007

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

The Journal of Web Librarianship, Volume 1

            Jody Condit Fagan

 

SOCIAL EYES

 

Forging a Second Life: My Reality in a Virtual World

            Brian S. Mathews

 

 

GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

 

South African Ensemble

            Sarah Beasley and Candice Kail

 

 

ARTICLES

 

What a User Wants: Redesigning a Library’s Web Site Based on a Card-Sort Analysis

            Laura Pope Robbins, Lisa Esposito, Chris Kretz, Michael Aloi

 

Website usability concerns anyone with a website to maintain. Libraries, however, are often the biggest offenders in terms of usability. In our efforts to provide users with everything they need for research, we often overwhelm them with sites that are confusing in structure, difficult to navigate, and weighed down with jargon. Dowling College Library recently completed a redesign of its website based upon the concept of usability. For smaller libraries in particular, such a project can be a challenge. The website is often maintained by one or two people, and finding the time and resources to conduct a usability study is difficult in that situation. Additional demands of a site redesign, from restructuring page layouts to adding visual appeal, only add to the burden. However, our team of four librarians was able to do it. We focused on vocabulary and organizational structure using a card-sort analysis. This analysis taught us how our users approach the information on our site. Task-based testing confirmed what the card-sort analysis had taught us and smoothed out design problems. Incorporating user feedback at nearly every stage of the process allowed us to create a site that more closely mirrors how our users look for information on our site. This study details how using testing and analyzing results throughout the redesign process created a better, more user-friendly website.

 

KEYWORDS: usability studies, card sorting, task-based testing, website redesign, library users, user feedback

 

 

Promoting the Development of Online Learning Communities for Library Professional Organizations

            Barbara A. Blummer

 

This paper discusses the use of online learning communities for library professional organizations to promote collaboration and learning. The addition of an online learning community component to a library organization expands collaborative and educational opportunities for members through a virtual environment. Although technologies used to support learning communities vary, standard features include a discussion forum, file-sharing capability, and chat functionality. More sophisticated sites provide webcasts, podcasts, online courses, and databases. Moreover, the availability of file sharing and chat supports virtual meetings. Studies of library-oriented learning communities illustrate their effectiveness in using discussion forums and resources to foster collaboration and learning opportunities among members. This research also notes the role of discussion forums in decreasing feelings of isolation among users. Moreover, these articles highlight the member’s participation in library learning communities through postings to discussion forums, selecting learning events, and contributing materials. The first step in creating a learning community centers on the administration of a needs assessment to the members. These evaluations identify the goals of the learning community and aid in the selection of appropriate technologies. In addition, learning community organizers need to develop an action plan that outlines a timeline for the project’s implementation. Moreover, organizers should consider providing incentives and training to members to enhance their participation in the project. Finally, promotional and evaluation efforts are needed to sustain the growth of a learning community.

 

KEYWORDS: online learning communities, continuing education, library professional organizations, collaboration

 

 

Adventures in Online Mentoring: The New Members’ Roundtable Career Mentoring Program

            Samantha Schmehl Hines

 

Many programs for mentoring of librarians exist within organizations, for specific areas of librarianship, or for particular groups of librarians. These programs generally depend on face-to-face contact and some organizational commonalities or similarity in positions. With the advent of online communication, could a more general program matching up new librarians and ALA members with experienced librarians for online mentoring be feasible? We coordinated a new project via ALA’s New Members’ Roundtable to find out. This article outlines the planning process and the mechanics of the program through two iterations. Feedback received from participants was mixed but provided valuable insight into what could make a wholly online mentoring program work.

 

KEYWORDS: mentoring, professional organizations, electronic communication, American Library Association, mentors, protégés, program assessment

 

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

Connecting Social Technologies with Information Literacy

            Kara Jones

 

Social technologies such as weblogs, wikis, and social bookmarking are emerging both as information resources and as tools for research. This paper reflects on these technologies and suggests they may be well placed to build fluency in the higher-order thinking skills outlined in various information literacy frameworks, particularly in an educational context. A high proportion of today’s learners are very comfortable with technology and Web 2.0 resources. The characteristics of the information they are accessing are also changing, bringing a stronger need for sophisticated evaluation and analysis skills. Where do social technologies fit within information literacy frameworks, and where can they be used in the day-to-day instruction of information skills? This paper suggests social technologies perform a dual role: they are not only useful sources of information but also resources to be used to develop ideas and research, using collaboration and community platforms that learners today are familiar with. Librarians who provide information literacy instruction would benefit from an awareness of these tools and where they sit within today’s information environment.

 

KEYWORDS: information literacy, social technology, blog, wiki, bookmarking, millennials, web 2.0, instruction

 

Twenty Steps to Marketing Your Library Online

            Sarah Houghton-Jan

 

Libraries are quite practiced at outreach activities in the physical world, but now, just as our services and resources have moved online, so must our outreach efforts.  This article provides a list of twenty practical things libraries can do to begin to delve into the world of online outreach.  Topics covered include listing your library in Wikipedia, listing library events in local community calendars, listing librarians in expert-finding directories, pushing newsletters out via RSS, being present in online game and other environments, and much more.  The requirements for online outreach at libraries will always be evolving, but this starter list will provide a place for all libraries to begin their foray into online outreach and marketing.

 

KEYWORDS: marketing, promotion, outreach, search engines, directories, Wikipedia, Wikimapia, blogs, social networking, Google Local

REVIEWS

 

Professional Readings on Librarianship and the Web

            Phillip M. Edwards, Review Editor