Thursday, March 15, 2012

LibraryWorlds new features: a user perspective

As we have mentioned before on this blog, we love hearing from you! Your feedback is motivating us to develop new features and upgrades at an inspired pace. That is why when Holland Kessinger from the Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego wrote to us with some feedback on the new features we had to know more. Holland was nice enough to acquiesce our request and shared some terrific insights on taking her library to the cloud, and how the new features have enhanced the user experience of her patrons.

Q: Can you share one unique fact or feature of your library?
A: The Dubois Library is one of the largest photography libraries in the country. It’s collection is incredibly diverse and includes more than 500 rare books, hundreds of periodicals, auction catalogs, annuals, ephemera, calendars, artist books, and more. It is an amazing resource of materials on photography!

Q: How has taking your library to the cloud impacted your library?
Dubois Library, Museum of Photographic Arts
A: As for taking the library to the cloud, it has worked amazingly well for our library. As a solo staff member of a small library with an even smaller budget, I need to focus time and energy on meeting the information needs of our visitors, not on dealing with hardware and software issues. I’ve had very few instances where the catalog was inaccessible due to servers being down. And, I don’t worry about data lock-in; the few exports I’ve done from the catalog have been very easy and straightforward.

Q: So how have the new features (Google Book Preview, OPAC listings) enhanced the services your library provides?
A: I think it’s pretty obvious that Amazon and Google have had a significant impact on how we search and view information. Users of our online catalog expect to see more than just bibliographic information; they want lots and lots of images, book teases, previews, added content, etc. Google Book Preview meets this expectation and makes the information gathering process a more robust experience. The new “Recently Added Titles” encourages visitors to return again and again to see how the Library collection is constantly expanding. Both of these new features just enhance the whole experience for users of the catalog, and helps us keep pace with what is happening all over the Internet.

Holland's point about aesthetics is well taken. People expect their user interface to look and feel like their favorite sights on the Internet, and offer the same conviniences. At the bottom of the Dubois Library's homepage there are links to our iphone app, integrated social media widgets, and a link to Holland's terrific OPAC page, which is fully customized and inviting to the patrons of her library.

If you would like to have your library success story featured on this blog, please e-mail for more information.

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