Web Services Update – April 2013

As we start to gear up for the spring/summer, I thought it would be a good time to give you an overview of some of the major projects that the Web Services team is working on:

Librarian profile pages: Our progress on implementing Librarian profile pages has been delayed for months due to technical issues with the McGill Profile system. We have started discussions with the McGill Web Services team about implementing our own profile functionality in order to move forward with this project. Initial discussions have been fruitful, and I expect that we will be able to start moving forward with the implementation soon.

Room booking: We will be piloting a new system for handling room bookings that will be much easier to use, requiring less support and assistance from staff. We plan on rolling the service out to branches as quickly as possible.

Digital exhibits and collections: We have several digital collection and exhibit sites in various stages of process (Chapbooks, Gwillim, Interacting with Print, Colgate, Islamic Studies 60th Anniversary) that will be launching over the coming months. In addition, we are in the process of planning several projects relating to our digital collections, and we’ll share details here as soon as these plans are finalized.

Intranet: We have completed our review of different technical solutions, and will be going forward with implementing our Intranet as a Drupal-based web site. This site will be hosted and managed by the Library (i.e. it won’t be part of the WMS), which will give us more control over the features and functionality we can implement. The Intranet will be used to publish information such as policies, procedures, reports, etc for Library staff.

Extranet: We are also setting up an Extranet, an online space where people or groups inside the Library can collaborate and share files with people outside the Library. The Extranet will use McGill’s CenterStage platform to provide this functionality.

In addition, over the course of the spring and summer we are planning on making significant improvements to the Library web site. These changes will impact many people, and so we will be reaching out and working closely with various stakeholders (including the E-Search committee, content owners, library staff, and end-users) to identify requirements and ensure that the site will continue to meet their needs. Our plan is to have any major changes in place by the middle of August.

Home page: We will be revisiting the design of the home page to provide a simplified search experience and better access to tools for finding articles, journals and other resources. We also want to improve access to the resources within our subject areas, changes that will start on the home page and continue down through the subject landing pages to the subject guides themselves. Links to commonly-used pages as well as information about news and events going on at the Library will continue be featured on home page.

Site organization: We will be revisiting the organization of the site to make it more intuitive, less complicated, and easier to use. We will start by working with the various content owners within the Library to ensure that their content is relevant and well-presented. We will then look at the best way to label and organize the content from the perspective of our users. We will also be making use of some of the new navigational tools provided by the WMS to make our menus simpler and easier to use.

Branch pages: Branch pages will be redesigned to provide a cleaner layout and to make it easier for users to locate key information about branches. We also want to provide an easy and quick way for branches to get announcements out to users, and we’ll be working that into the branch pages as well.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (edward.bilodeau@mcgill.ca).

Award for Osler Library Prints Collection

Good news! I found out today that one of The McGill Library’s digital collections, the Osler Library Prints Collection, has been awarded the 2012 Publication Award for Best Online Resource from the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS).

From the collection’s web site:

The Osler Library Prints Collection brings together a rich variety of visual documents related to the history of medicine, spanning several centuries, countries, and artistic media. Ranging from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, the collection consists predominantly of prints, though it also includes some photographs, drawings, posters, and cartoons. Medical professionals throughout history are represented largely through portraiture, as well as through caricatures and scenes. The images in this collection, acquired from various donors at different times, are fascinating for both their historical significance and their artistic merit. Straddling the disciplines of art and science, the collection is a valuable resource on the history of medicine and the history of portraiture.

Even if you are not a historian of medicine, there is a lot of interesting material there to browse through, so please do!

Congrats to everyone who worked to make this collection a reality!