Resisting the Databases A to Z List

The new semester starts tomorrow, and one project I wanted to launch was a redesigned electronic resources page on our library website. After reading Anthony McMullen’s article, “Resist the List,” I wanted to make fundamental changes to how our students view our A to Z pages.

McMullen argues that the Database A to Z list is user-unfriendly. Imagining that you’re a freshman who has to conduct research in a library, and presented with a long list of databases, vendors, icons, and descriptions, its really easy to get lost in what you’re looking for. So, instead of using an A to Z page, we launched page  that chunks databases into subject categories. This may or may not be intuitive for users, but a future usability test will help determine that. The page draws inspiration from Portland State University’s database page, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s database page.

I think one indicator to see if a database page is usable on a library website is if there doesn’t need to be that much instruction on how to use it. I feel that once info lit librarians/instructors no longer have the burden of teaching students on how to “use” a database page, then they can focus on other important topics.

My mom the librarian

My mom with Tiffany Craft and Mayor James Craft
My mom with Tiffany Craft and Whitesburg Mayor James Craft

I just wanted to write a pride post about my mom, Lina Tidal. For the last 29 years, my mom worked as a librarian for the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library, in our small hometown of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Today, she was recognized by the Kentucky House of Representatives, the Letcher County Fiscal Court, and was even given the key to the city of Whitesburg!  Continue reading “My mom the librarian”

The Internet’s Own Boy

I’m going to ALA MidWinter in Chicago this week. One of the committees I have volunteered for is the Video Roundtable’s Notable Videos for Adults committee, where we review films to suggest for other libraries. I recently watched this video about Aaron Swartz, called The Internet’s Own Boy. It is highly recommended if you want to learn about the contributions that Swartz had made for the betterment of society. It can be viewed for free on YouTube.

Usability and the Mobile Web Book

For the last year, I have been working on a manuscript for ALA TechSource. I have received word from my editor, Patrick Hogan, that my manuscript has been approved for production.

This LITA Guide, entitled (for now) Usability and the Mobile Web, examines mobile usability testing for library websites. I firmly believe that usability is necessary for the success of a library’s website. It provides evidence on how well the site works from its most important component: its users.

This LITA Guide will provide an outline of what usability is, the differences between mobile sites, apps, and hybrids, and how to conduct a mobile usability test.

There are some CUNY librarians that have been immensely helpful in writing this guide, based on our informal and formal conversations on mobile library websites and apps. You should take a look at their blogs for some of the amazing work that they do!

Monica Berger

Robin Camille Davis

Stephen Francoeur

Stefanie Havelka

Steve Ovadia

Maura Smale

Allie Verbovetskaya

Darrow Wood

Stephen Zweibel

Welcome to Night Vale – Summer Reading

I don’t always agree with mainstream media portrayals of librarians, but I think it’s awesome how they’re depicted in the regular podcast, Welcome to Night Vale.

I recently discovered Welcome to Night Vale and I can’t get enough of it. If you’re into weird sci-fi, campy radio shows, and dark humor, then you should definitely check it out.