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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
UTL’s central Information Technology Services (ITS) is responsible
for most of the library’s web spaces and services. Before the
arrangement described in our case study began, the ITS web team
included one programmer, one graphic designer/information
architect, and two librarians: one focused on library systems while
the other, Lisa Gayhart, focused on the field of user experience
(UX). Public services library staff could report issues or suggest
improvements to the web team, often through the Web Advisory
Committee, but they were not actively involved in the development
or maintenance of the website. Web content was a grey area.
Individual units provided and maintained the content for their
functional areas, but major sections of the site were not owned and
no one supervised content creation and maintenance as a whole.
The Opportunity
In winter 2014, the web team was preparing for a complete
overhaul of the main library website, one of our web space’s biggest
properties. As plans for the redesign developed, the web team
realized that they did not have the time nor the public service
expertise to fully revise the website’s content. This piece was
crucial, however, to the website’s overall usefulness and usability.
A large percentage of our LibQUAL+ respondents stated that they
only use the library website and never use a physical library for
their work,11 making the redesign project tantamount to a physical
renovation. It wouldn’t make sense to put new paint on a building
without making sure the foundation is sound. Similarly, we didn’t
want to redesign the website without overhauling the content.
Our Solution
We were concerned about this situation and decided to do something
about it. Judith Logan, a public services librarian, had web writing
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