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A.C. Clark Library Website Redesigned

Sara Wielenberg | Staff Writer | 01/19/2011

BSU Web Services and the A.C. Clark library personnel launched the library’s redesigned website on January 4.

The revamping of the library website was in progress for nearly a year before finally coming to fruition just two weeks ago. Systems and Distance Learning Librarian Peter McDonnell and Web Developer Sam Parsons collaborated on the project. The old website, according to Parsons, predated 2003.

Their goal, in the words of McDonnell, was to create a “more user-friendly version of the site that was more integrated with the overall campus site.”

The new website includes a library news section that has a video overview of the new site. The video illustrates some of the new features, as well as how to access and use the old research tools.

Other new elements of the website include a notification at the top of the page showing library hours for the current day. There is also a box on the opening page that indicates some of the new books in the library.

One of the goals of the redesign, according to McDonnell, was to “keep the tools that students were using, but make them easier to get to.”

The research services are now more prevalent and appear on the main page. Search areas for research are found right on the opening page and allow students to begin research immediately, instead of navigating through other pages within the site.

A sidebar on the left gives students access to many different parts of the website that were previously found through more complex routes. For instance, a link to interlibrary loan information can be located on the sidebar.

McDonnell’s role in the project was mostly content-based. He represented the library’s interests and explained to Parsons what the library wanted in the new site. Parsons’s work was design-oriented. He created a new design that matched the BSU campus website in terms of appearance and also developed templates.

“There was programming in multiple (computer) languages to make it functional and look right,” said Parsons.

Parsons and McDonnell were both pleased with the initial outcome of the project.

“I think it’s a nice refresh and the redesign brings the library into the BSU site,” said Parsons.

“The overall feeling from the librarians is that they are happy with it,” added McDonnell. “It reflects what we wanted to see.”

With the spring semester just starting, not many students have needed to make use of the library’s research resources, and so the site has not yet been seen by many students. One such student was junior Jeff Knodel.

When asked what he thought of the new site, Knodel replied, “I honestly didn’t know it had been changed. I haven’t seen it yet.”

But a few students have browsed the site, like sophomore Heather Dorow, who said, “I explored it, and I thought it was good. It seems like it has more information than the old one.”

The project is not entirely complete, however. A link to a suggestions form will very soon be added to the main page so that students and others using the new site can give feedback. The suggestions will be used to further enhance the website.

“We’ve finished the site,” said Parsons, “but we’ve really just begun. It will always be growing and developing.”