Small Link Dump

7 Essential Guidelines for Functional Design – Another great one from Smashing Magazine. These ideas need to be at the core of a library website designs/redesigns. Clearly define your purpose and build around that.

Also, The Social Web and Libraries: Listening to Your Community, David Lee King. I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Really, I mean that.)

PLOW – Putting Libraries on the Web. Via State Library of Iowa.

Your Library Site – I dunno about this one, there’s a heck of a lot of coming soon content.

BookSprouts – Online book club communities.

Way on back in Jan 07 I used a few examples of library websites that didn’t exactly work all that well. Both have been redesigned since then and all I have to say is way to go CPL! The site now looks a hundred times more engaging than this, and it would most certainly not be on that same list today.


Looking for design ideas? Design degree or not there’s nothing wrong in gaining inspiration from else where and this is just as important in web design as it is anywhere else. So fasten your seatbelt for a crash landing into some great creative design. (Note: You may want to have a napkin ready as quite a few of these can make you drool over their awesomeness.)

CSS Zen Garden – The original. A showcase for the power of CSS and a repository of great design. Each example on this site uses the same framework but makes the look completely unique.

CSSTux -“The best dressed sites on the web.” The description says it all.

The Best Designs – CSS and Flash designs tagged by category.

Pattern Tap – A site that offers both beautiful design and a powerful functionality. This site offers examples of good design in different aspects of websites, such a footers, 404 pages, navigation, and quotes.

Short List

I remember the days when the mighty directory was on the front page over at Yahoo; the days before Google and that little search bar took prominence. While I can’t deny the power of that massive web database I used to get a bit annoyed when searching through the list only pointed me to another website that was also an exhaustive list of links. It wasn’t just Yahoo of course, there were other web directories like that, where you never seemed to actually get to any real websites, just lists upon lists. So it’s not surprising that I have some issues with “resource sites.” However there are a few I find particularly useful, so here’s a (very) short list.

Web Developer’s Handbook – I use this one constantly. It’s a massive list (all on one page) of all sorts of web design/development resources ranging from inspiration to code. The good thing about this one is that the sites that link are direct, and not directories themselves.

20+ Free Web Design Ebooks and Guides – Can’t afford those expensive books? Well here you go. Arranged by category.

Web Design Library – A bit more commercial but useful anyway. Covers basics, code, scripting, and offers graphic design tutorials for a variety of programs.


Bear with me here:

1. Diagnostics

  • Importance of strong and attractive web presence
  • Do you need dedicated web space? / do you need to redesign?
  • Local government/county/corporate controlled web presence (must conform?)
  • Money matters (design fee/staff time/hosting)

2. First Steps

  • Getting that first idea
  • Deciding the needs of patrons and staff
  • Research!
  • Time table and tentative launch. (Give yourself at least six months.)
  • Outsourcing or in house? / Stakeholders

3. Process

  • Resources: templates, code, interactivity, etc.
  • Software/utilities (editors, ff extentions)
  • Good practices
  • Develop mockups, choose design, develop test version
  • Only launch finished product
  • Beta test with staff/patrons before launch

4. Upkeep

  • Fluid and always changing, never done
  • Web 2.0
  • New (but not scary) things

There has been some buzz lately about the future of library websites. The Library Web Chic recently wrote a post in the subject that invites looking at the topic more closely. One of the questions to be answered, and this can apply to any website as well, is the idea of focusing on merely getting people to use the website as they use the physical library or if the site should be more about experience. This can be likened back to a physical space in a way, the beauty of the building or what waits for the patrons inside. Libraries used to be mainly spaces for books and learning, for people to come and sit and read or do research. It was a quiet place were people got their books, were shushed for making noise, and then when they were done, left. These days libraries offer programs for the whole family, they encourage people to come and stay and consider the library more of a social place. And it does seem to be slowly merging into that, even if it still primarily involves people on the computers close to each other.

The idea of the virtual as social on library websites is a relatively new one.  Up until now there hasn’t been the proper technology and the idea of giving over any sort of control or freedom to the patrons to influence what was on the libraries virtual face was not one that would be well accepted. But now, with the push from Web 2.0 and social networking and software libraries are learning to innovate and to be more inclined to include these sorts of things. Libraries have all sorts of competition these days, from bookstores and the like, and so they’ve had to offer those programs to keep people coming and interested outside of just offering the latest James Patterson. Library websites have to do the same. Bokardo has a good short article on the idea of designing specifically for page hits (contrast that with circulation stats) or for user experience (program attendance) that is well worth a read. Offering programs and events as well as good customer service and a well developed collection adds value to communities. Online, allowing people to have their say, to be social and to see that the library isn’t some faceless place out of touch with the modern will hopefully do the same in the virtual arena.

Exactly what it sounds like. This video was posted by the previously mentioned Simple Spark the so called Web 2.0 indexing and search engine. The video shows the logos of all 5,000 apps they’ve indexed so far. The sheer speed of it, combined with the length is simply amazing to watch to realize the amount of services that are out there in the Web 2.0 forest. The logos aren’t in any kind of order, neither alphabetical or by popularity but it’s fun to see how many you can recognize when it’s running at full speed.

Things have been quiet here, mostly because it has been crunch time the past month or so as the debut of the systems new website has drawn closer. Well, that time has finally come and I’m proud to unveil the redesign of our systems website. It is a big change from the old, rather unfriendly and garish, design we had for quite a time. But it wasn’t only a pleasing look and interface that we were going for but a modern approach that integrated Web 2.0 technology for the benefit of our customers. Please take a look at the Osceola Library System at http://www.osceolalibrary.org.

We have included several blogs including those for news, teens, and our book club. All offer RSS feeds and we are also offering RSS feeds for our monthly updated new book releases. This is something I personally wanted and I hope to expand it in time. We have also utilized a javascript framework to offer photo tours of our branches. We are also participating in the 365 Days Library Project over on Flickr. We have just over 100 photos up at the current time. We’ve also added forms for customer use which we’ve never had before. Our librarians are using meebo for virtual reference for adult and teen customers.

I am very much hoping this new website will far better serve our customers and allow them to feel they can truly connect with the library at any time and any place and also to let them know that we’re not just about books and shushing.  More updates will come as time goes by.

I’m not dead, I promise. Things are very busy in my system right now, most especially in my department. Hopefully in less than a month I’ll have something to show you all and I can post more regularly. But for now, just something little.

When trying to visualize the sheer scope of the Web 2.0 beast it’s a bit hard to wrap your head around in simply because of the very wide amount of services that these sorts of applications provide. From Wikipedia, to The Best Stuff in the World, to Flickr. And with the amount of startups you hear about constantly coming and going it’s little surprise that people are often overwhelmed.

In the Web 2.0 class that I co-teach we often use Go2Web2.0 and Web2Logo to let the class participants see the different types of sites that are out there and to help them explore a bit more if they wish to do so. These are both good, but at times it’s hard to navigate around them if you’re already overwhelmed by the choices that are out there. However, there is a newish site out there called Simple Spark which, according to Download Squad, is looking to be for web apps what Google is for everything else. At over 3,000, we can see where this is going.

On first glance, it’s laid out really well with multiple catagories that open up which give you specific sections to choose so you can get right to the meat. Picking almost any provides an extensive list of Web 2.0 type applications that provide that sort of service. It does make it easy to find the type of app you’re looking for. The social network heading is one of the more interesting to look at and seeing the many many ways that people are connecting these days.

So, what is the real size of the web 2.0 beast? I’m not sure anyone will really know and even with indexing sites it’s almost impossible to keep up with the new ones springing up almost everyday. It will be interesting to see how the development of applications like these grows and changes and more and more people embrace Web 2.0 and technology like it.

This is just something I thought I would mention as it was brought to my attention by a friend of mine. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, was on The Colbert Report last night for an interview (heres the video). Surprisingly enough, considering the fracas last year with the elephant population where they had to block the page and accused Colbert of vandalism they seemed to get on really well. But that’s mostly because I think that both of them know what the other one is doing/trying to do. However, once again (though far more subtly this time) Colbert asked the populace to change things on Wikipedia. Some of the more prominent pages included Oxygen (It’s poison) and Albert Einstein (COLBERT=GOD). The oxygen article is still locked, but the Einstein one is open again. There was also an interesting (silent) mention of librarians. Perhaps we are hiding something. Stephen Colbert would know and it’s common knowledge that if it’s on Wikipedia, it’s the truth.

Heres a screenshot:

Librarians are hiding something.