Web Site of the Month Archive
The College Libraries Section Website of the Month feature was retired in July 2013.
The Olin C. Bailey Library at Hendrix College takes the honor for June. The page uses a vertical navigation menu on the right side and utilizes the left to display information after clicking on links. For the home page, happenings, contact information, and photos fill this left side area. Links and sections for searching, services and help are distinguished by large font and intuitive wording. Section labels along with the ability to expand or minimize information on the navigation menu are also helpful features that allow users to know exactly what they are finding and where. Also worth mentioning is a horizontal quick links bar that appears after one clicks away from the home page information, saving a lot of back and forth or further navigation. It appears with almost any link users’ click on and gives them the options to find books, articles, access the journal list, library hours and more.
If you are looking for ideas on promoting your library’s social media presence or ideas for incorporating eye catching colors and graphics into your web site, then you’ll definitely want to check out Wardman Library at Whittier College. The site is divided into three main sections: 1) at the top, a narrow title bar ensures no confusion as to what page you are on, accompanied by a hard to miss “ask a librarian” graphic 2) the middle portion is split between an area with a scrolling picture/search box and 4 colorful boxes listing types of information and services to explore 3) finally, the bottom portion contains social media options like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Flickr and RSS feeds in large, colorful circles. One can’t help but want to click on these circles to see what they hold. Other items worth mentioning are the design and navigability of the 4 middle boxes. They are not only attractive but when you click on an option, a new section appears above, with a prominent “home” link in the upper right hand corner.
This month's web site comes to us from Loras College Library. What was most striking about the site was how they managed to fit into the overall design of the college's web site, while efficiently utilizing the limited space on the template allotted. The landing page of the library is quite simple but manages to contain the most important elements and links. A large tabbed search box takes up the top half of the page while the bottom portion is devote to four main categories of links, Resources, Services, About Us, and Help. They even manage to include a fairly large chat widget on the page without overcrowding it. Labeling and instructions are brief but also intuitive and sufficient. LibGuides are also put to good use as second level pages. What can't be said on the main page can be explained in ample detail when one clicks on a link, which then takes you to a multi-tabbed LibGuide. In this case less really is more. Navigation is quick and easy and as a user you have no trouble finding what you need.
Haverford College Libraries' web site contains many interesting and sleek design features that make it worthy of our web site of the month title. One of the first unique things worth pointing out is their tabbed search option. While the use of a tabbed, one-search box is not new, their choices for what to put in those tabs are a little different than most. Instead of a tab for books, journals, media, etc. they have an all-in-one search and then highlight their scholarship (digital repository search), art objects, research guides and finding aids. Another feature worth highlighting is their use of wording. For instance, to the right of the one search on the home page is another section titled, "I'm looking for" with very brief but informative options. Even beyond the search page, option and section titles are succinct, intuitive and to the point. Clicking to some of these sub pages one might also notice the use of long gray boxes which expand upon clicking. It's a great way to keep the pages clean and have the user decide how much information they want displayed. Returning back to the home page, near the top one finds options like Research, Services, Place, Technology etc. Once one navigates to one of those pages, a main search area and information appears but to the right many times a box will appear with an additional feature or layer of information. On the Research page for instance, the box highlights Scholarship @ Haverford. These boxes are well designed and catch the eye without being too distracting.
For brevity's sake we'll end the review here but it is by no means the end of the features worth highlighting. Be sure to further check out this web site when you get the chance.
Samford University Library has had a recent re-design of their library web page and, as their web page states, they are looking for feedback. We are happy to oblige. Perhaps what is most striking about the web site is the lack of text on the page, and we mean that in a good way. The page is simple and not overloaded with words. A few key words and phrases make the site visually appealing and easy to navigate. The red menu bar at the top is also nice. It not only makes the choices stand out, but when one hovers over a topic a drop down list of what can be found appears, eliminating the need for clicking and navigating away from the main page. This reviewer also likes the types of categories listed for easy access like hours, patron accounts, and even how to support the library. A job well done indeed.
The Douglas and Judith Krupp Library located at Bryant University wins this month’s honor. Beginning at the top and working down, one first sees a large “I WANT TO” section which clearly gives visitors options like searching the catalog, finding articles and journals, as well as research help. Once you click on a word bubble, the space allotted for searching changes so there is no chance of confusing which search box to use. A constant of these search options is the opportunity to ask for help in a variety of different ways. The bulldog’s face is hard to ignore!
Beneath that, one encounters a menu of options for different patron types, library services, and basic “about us” information. The setup is simple and to the point. Then, looking below that, important contact numbers are listed for access, reference, and technical services as opposed to having to click on a link to be taken to a contact page. It’s an extremely user-friendly site and takes away extra clicks and the need for extra navigation, which we’re sure users appreciate.
Lindell Library is our December pick for web site of the month. Users’ eyes are quickly drawn to the General Help Section with its topics featured in green. Putting a library orientation link (which leads to a robust LibGuide) is especially useful to have year-round and fits seamlessly into the page. Another process the library has made seamless is tutorials found under the Tutorial link at the top of the page. Users have the option to select a tutorial from the drop down menu but instead of opening in a new tab, requiring an extra click, or changing page formats, the tutorial appears on the same page with next buttons when users are ready to advance. Finally, for those interested in what to call certain services and materials, Lindell has some interesting category and naming options: Writing, Ordering, and Journal Title instead of Journal.
November’s web site of the month goes to Hege Library located at Guilford College. Similar to last month’s site, Hege keeps the layout of its library pages fairly uniform throughout making navigation easy and straightforward. Beyond the layout of the home page, the library pages keep consistent with the college’s web site design, which consists of four main hyperlinked image boxes with a larger menu of options to the right hand side of the page. The images actually look to be taken of places and collections on campus which adds a nice personalized touch. Linking from these boxes or menu options, one finds LibGuides, simple web pages or more pages of hyperlinks. Regardless of format, the information on these pages is well placed and easy to read. Finally, returning focus to the home page, the quick links feature on the bottom right is also a nice touch worth mentioning, as it makes navigation between the library's pages and the rest of the college's web site that much easier.
Oberlin College Library wins the title for web site of the month with its impressive design. Looking at the home page, the left side features a tabbed search box above blogs and featured collections. To the right, log-in information, a breakdown of resources, services, collections along with links for research help, hours, and more. Sounds pretty typical, however, when one clicks from Home to the Art Library or Science Library page, the layout of the page remains virtually the same. The resources may change, along with the blog topic or featured collections, but there is no confusion about where to find hours, log-ins, search boxes, etc. Clicking from page to page is also a fun experience as the home tab turns into a house icon, science into a beaker icon, special collections into a star, so on and so forth. Also worth noting is the Google search one can do for news and resources related to the library.
Hewes Library proves you don't have to be a master manipulator of LibGuides and coding to create an effective and navigable web site. Their web site maintains the basic LibGuides format, but creates a powerful presence. Here, well-thought out tab topics and good organization are the key to its success. The drop down menus of the tabs lend themselves well to highlighting many topics, particularly the steps in the Research Process...information which is so important but you don't normally see get prime real estate on home pages. Normally you have to click in a page or two to see all the steps. There is also something particularly striking about the Wordle used on the front page.
The Stockwell-Mudd Library, located at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, is this month’s featured web site. What immediately strikes users about this page is its organization and layout. It contains a wealth of information without being too “busy” or overwhelming. Tabs in purple and white exist at the top of the page but the real center of focus is the OneSearch box along with several purple “buttons” that link users to important resources: catalog, databases, journals and help. Below the link are three informational boxes with quick links, events and hours. The page also manages to include a help icon link, library calendar and news blog on the right side of the page in just the right scale so the information is useful and not distracting.
Exploring further into the site, the What’s New tab also has some interesting items like the Pink and Green blog from Special Collections featuring photographs from the archive as well as the We’re Reading link, which features their online book club.
High Library located at Elizabethtown College in south central Pennsylvania is our featured site this month. What immediately strikes visitors is the cool, blue, white and gray color scheme which is easy on the eyes. Also hard to miss is the scrolling highlights which factor so prominently at the top of the page. However, underneath these images is perhaps the most impressive area which contains what might be described as four verb boxes: Do Research, Ask Us, Find Services, and Learn About the Library. Users are given several options to click but choices are well organized, repeated in multiple places, and explained each step of the way. For instance, clicking “Do Research” takes one to a page which lists not only types of resources but explains what library guides are or what you can find in the library catalog. Exploring “Ask Us” not only provides options for contacting the library but also advertises their library guides which students might find useful in the meantime. Other items worth mentioning are their quick link to Facebook, laptop availability and instructions for accessing resources off campus.
Good Library located at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana has a visually simple yet effective and welcoming web site. It balances the right amount of text and images making navigation and information gathering a breeze. When linking out from the main page, one is taken to either a LibGuide or web page which also provides just the right amount of additional information.
Further helping the welcoming vibe of the site is the rotating image at the top right of students with different variations of the word “Ask.”
Finally, since summer is a time when many of our campuses also see different groups of visitors with tours, summer camps, and more it is worth noting Good’s “Community” link (under Services and Staff) as well as their “Facilities” and “Map” links (under About the Library).
Giovale Library, located at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah is May's library web site of the month. With finals rapidly approaching several features on Giovale's site show their keen awareness of important year-end tasks like exam studying, paying fines, etc. For example, the library uses a short poll widget to ask for input about the best place to study in the library. To the right of the page there are two rotating images/icons. One pairing in particular draws attention to the library's quiet study areas and food for fines drive.
Other items worth pointing out are the ease of navigation back to the college's main pages found at the top right of the page, the Google Scholar search box they incorporate into their tabbed search area, as well their layering of information. The later in particular we found especially well done. Clicking the headings at the top of the page like "Find Resources" or "Services" directs users to a landing page that briefly and effectively explains all navigation options. For those already familiar with the site, these options are listed under the same headings near the bottom of the page for quick access.
Our featured web site of April comes courtesy of Williams College Libraries located in Willamstown, MA . Like many other sites we review, it possesses a clean interface that is easily navigable. Yet, where it stands apart is in the extras, especially its tech features.
Upon entering the site, one is taken to the main page and immediately sees a tabbed search box. However these tabs offer categories not usually seen in tabbed search options. Users can choose to search the catalog or databases but they are also given the option to use tabs like: Reserves, Film/TV, Music and even an How Do I tab. Additional search options and information links are found above.
Further adding to the cool factor of this page are the links at the bottom, starting with a popular now word cloud, a link to Library Widgets to help patrons search resources, a program showing how many laptops are available and when they are due back, a list of Mobile friendly resources/cites, and finally a link to recent and archived library news. Not only are these features super neat and user friendly but the way in which they are displayed keeps the page clean and prevents one from feeling overwhelmed with directions or information.
The P.H Welshimer Memorial Library at Milligan College, located in the Northeast corner of Tennessee, is the website to explore this month. Users' entrance to the site actually begins with a impressive landing page from the main web site, in which the library offers a brief yet effective message welcoming students and letting them know what they'll find in the library as well as what they can do there.
From the landing page, users can click on a link taking them to the main library page. Here one discovers a visually clean, simple, and informative home page. Major resources are highlighted with bigger font and page position, and an unobtrusive twitter feed catches the eye without being distracting. Language and simple explanations are a huge part of why this page is successful. For instance under the resources tab, they do a great job identifying databases as a place for articles, and they also use icons to help users make the connection to what they'll find with each resource. These icons continue under the list of databases, letting searchers know which are top resources (identified by a star) and which are being searched in their MCSearch.
Hats off to the P.H Welshimer Memorial Library for having the CLS library web site of the month!
The Libraries at Colby College in Waterville, Maine is an outstanding use of LibGuides as web site. Search options and links to basic needs and services like research databases, gov. docs, and citation help are neatly presented and easily navigated. Also striking is the “face time” each librarian is given. A Brady Bunch-esq grid of smiling librarians at Colby greets each visitor. These photos show up multiple times throughout the LibGuide pages so visitors are able to connect librarian to subject area and more focused research/class guides.
Also worth noting is the site’s “tabs” devoted to Faculty and the topic of Information Literacy. Between these two tabs, faculty can find forms, policies and suggested help and resources on a variety of things like reserves, plagiarism, citation tools, and incorporating information literacy in the classroom.
Spring Arbor University
If you motor west from the Motor City, in about 90 miles you’ll come to Spring Arbor, Michigan, home of Spring Arbor University.
The White Library at Spring Arbor University boasts a Web site that is compact and well-organized, with little extraneous information. Two large buttons on the library’s home page offer students two simple options: “Find Books” and “Find Articles.” Another colorful “Help!” button quickly directs students to frequently-requested resources, including citation guides and subject guides.
Within the site, a “How To” section of the library’s “News” blog features multimedia tutorials on topics such as how to print from a personal laptop or how to use EBSCO databases. Each page other than the home page has simple yet noticeable links in the sidebar encouraging users to contact a librarian or to submit an interlibrary loan request.
Library director Roy Meador and his staff are to be complimented on creating a site that embodies the famous Antoine de Saint-Exupery quotation, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
New York state: it’s home to the Statue of Liberty in the east, Niagara Falls in the west, and, almost midway between the two, in the city of Ithaca, Ithaca College.
The Ithaca College Library Web site is packed with content, but the spare layout keeps the pages from looking cluttered. Patrons can easily browse lists of library materials, including DVDs, new books, and even musicals. FAQ and “Tell Us” pages present information about library policies and responses to patrons’ actual questions in a user-oriented fashion. Subject and course guides are prominently featured and well-integrated into the site.
College Librarian Lisabeth Chabot and the rest of the staff at the Ithaca College Library should be proud of this content-rich site.
The facilities at Wofford College’s Sandor Teszler Library are displayed appealingly on the library’s Web site, which includes many photographs of students learning within the library’s walls. A rotating series of events, resources, and archival collections are featured on the home page. The Writing Center, which is located within the library, receives prominent billing. Like many library Web sites, it features a tabbed search box with options for finding books, articles, reserves and subject guides.
Congratulations to Oakley Coburn and the rest of the staff at the Sandor Teszler Library for creating a site that showcases their facility and its resources so well!
Southern Adventist University
Stretching almost 500 miles from the Mississippi River to the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee can boast the most-visited national park in the United States and can make a worthy claim to be the birthplace of several musical genres. It is also the home of Southern Adventist University, located in Collegedale, in the southeastern corner of the state.
The McKee Library at Southern Adventist University features an easy-to-use, intuitively organized Web site that pleases the eye. A tabbed search box gives quick access to the library catalog, databases, and research guides. A computer availability map helps students find a computer to use. The entire site has a professional look and feel, with a consistent, clean design.
Joe Mocnik and the rest of the staff at the McKee Library are to be commended for developing such an aesthetically pleasing and functional site.
A state that can contain high desert, a volcanic mountain range, glaciers, redwood forests and a coastline to the Pacific Ocean must be one unique place indeed. Oregon houses all of these natural features, and a population just as diverse. Portland, Oregon the most populous city in the state, and one of the most diverse, is home to Reed College.
The Reed College Library website takes advantage of many recent trends in website design. These designs work together seamlessly to provide users with a unique experience. Along with the tabbed browsing above a centrally located search box are other innovations. The icons below the help box lead users to additional assistance by contacting the library or a librarian. There is a focus on helping the user find the information they need, as opposed to letting the user find the information on their own. The additional tabs, in a more traditional left hand navigation bar, further break down library information into easy to understand categories.
Victoria Hanawalt and her talented library staff are to be congratulated for the unique and usable design of the Reed College Library website.
Bordered by the crossroads of the Midwest to the East and the Great Plains to West, Iowa fits squarely in America’s heartland. Vast rolling hills dominated by rural open spaces are punctuated by vibrant cities with historic downtowns. Amid the great wind turbine farms in the Northwest corner of Iowa is the aptly named Northwestern College.
The Ramaker Library at Northwestern College can boast a truly easy to use library website interface. The myriad of information available at the library is broken down into two concise categories- Resources and Services. This is in addition to the tabbed search box where users can quickly and easily search for items and make minor advanced search queries. There is prominent access to library account and Ask a Librarian services. The addition of user testimonials in the scrolling graphics box is a nice accent to reinforce the service model expressed by the library.
Tim Schlack, Director of Ramaker Library, and all of his staff have successfully created an online library interface that meets the needs of all users- students, faculty and staff. Congratulations on your accomplishment!
High Point University
North Carolina is a diverse state bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the East and the Appalachian Mountains on the West. Nestled in the central hub of the State is the Piedmont Triad area; home to High Point University. Surrounded by rolling hills High Point University contains a high point for college library website design.
The High Point Libraries share a website that has many features that stand out. A tabbed search box is easy to use and prominently displayed on the main page. The left hand navigation remains constant when moving through the library’s website (outside of the library catalog search). In addition there are several other notable features. A Twitter feed box and Ask A Librarian chat box provide interactive discovery tools for library patrons. An eye catching banner ad for various High Point Libraries services is above the main search box, with a click it will link directly to the advertised service.
Director of Library Services, David Bryden, and his staff should be commended for their forward thinking, interactive library website.
Deep in the heart of Texas is a famous American landmark, amazing hospitality, a feisty art scene and in the middle of it all, a Riverwalk. San Antonio, Texas encompasses all of that and is home to one more notable location – Trinity University. Trinity University’s homepage for the Coates Library has everything a user could need. Clearly categorized resources listed along the top guide users to resources of interest. The tabbed browsing box below lets users search on their own. Various other widgets are also available to users, including an Ask A Librarian interactive chat box, a LibGuides box and a rotating news and information portal. The wealth of information offered to the user on the page is clearly organized and well placed for best use. University Library, Diane Graves, and her staff should be commended for creating an informative and useful site for all.
Spring Hill College
The State of Alabama has a long and storied history. Some memorable names come from this southern gem including George Washington Carver, Ozzie Smith, Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Harper Lee, just to name a few! Alabama has connections to the NASA Space Program in Huntsville and worldwide shipping through the Gulf of Mexico in Mobile. Also in Mobile is Spring Hill College featuring the Marnie and John Burke Memorial Library. The Marnie and John Burke Memorial Library website is visually appealing; the first feature to catch the user’s eye is the rotating display of new books. Below the virtual book display is the centrally located search box surrounded by other useful tools. An ask-a-librarian widget, links to social media and bookmarking, and additional library information surround the central search box. Information and services are easily accessible to all users. Gentry Lankewicz Holbert, Director, and his staff have created a library website that combines tools and information seamlessly.
Great Basin College
The Silver State is known for world class entertainment and the wide open spaces of the high desert. Rural Northeast Nevada is home to Great Basin College located in Elko. The Great Basin College Library website showcases efficiency and purpose. Minimal links are available on the library’s homepage. A commitment to meeting the needs of students is apparent with the prominent placement of the Suggestion Box link. Three search boxes are available: a simple catalog search box, a “How do I” drop down menu, and a Google search. A menu at the top of the page provides further assistance to all users. Library Director,David Ellefsen, and his talented staff are commended on crafting a simple and eloquent site.
John Brown University
Dixie State College
Fairmont State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Valdosta State University
Cardinal Stritch University
Salve Regina University
Hawai'i Pacific University
Eureka! Two from the Golden State
Eastern New Mexico University
Black Hills State University
University of Denver
Alaska Pacific University
Dickinson State University
Prescott College Library
Christopher Newport University
Lewis-Clark State College
Christian Brothers University
Southern Utah University
East Central University
Lewis & Clark College
Saint Anselm College
College of Saint Mary
Montana State University-Northern
William Woods University
Centenary College of Louisiana
Comments or questions? Contact the Web Editor