Authoritative LITA guide to enhancing library Web site usability now available

Contact: Mary Taylor

Executive Director, LITA

(312) 280-4267

Contact: Matt Wilson

100 William Street, Suite 2004

New York, NY 10038

(212) 925-8650


For Immediate Release,

December 26, 2007

Authoritative LITA guide to enhancing library Web site usability now available

Library webmasters, usability teams and administrators will want this authoritative reference on usability

NEW YORK - Ask college students where they begin their research, and nine out of 10 will tell you they use the Internet: Google, Yahoo!, or Wikipedia. Perhaps two in 100 will tell you they use the library. Despite the abundance-and accuracy-of information available on library Web sites, students often discover quickly that they involve confusing terms and syntax. One poor experience, and the library will lose yet another user to more familiar, intuitive information portals.

In Making Library Web Sites Usable, a LITA guide to be published by Neal Schuman on Feb. 11, authors Tom Lehman and Terry Nikkel show library webmasters, usability teams and library administrators how to turn confusing, unappealing Web sites into the kind of friendly, efficient information gateways that students will choose.

“If potential library users continue to use non-library information sources and ignore library Web sites, libraries risk being marginalized,” say the authors. “Libraries have a significant interest in making their Web sites easier to use and more attuned to the way users have become accustomed to searching for and using information.”

With clear, non-technical language, Making Library Web Sites Usable breaks down what usability assessments are, why they are important for libraries, why libraries should do them regularly and what the most common challenges are. They also explain all of the necessary how-tos, whats and whys for the most common assessment techniques and how to interpret results and document findings and effectively communicate results and recommendations.

Usability-in-action success stories from the Purdue, University of Virginia and Wright State University libraries; the Clinton Macomb Public Library in Michigan; the MITRE corporate library; and the library at NASA Goddard offer rare insights and practical advice for facing challenges like limited time, working within a budget and rallying support for Web site changes.

Making Library Web Sites Usable

Tom Lehman and Terry Nikkel

978-1-55570-620-3 6 x 9. 208 pp. $65. 2008


Tom Lehman is Digital Access Librarian at the University Libraries of Notre Dame, where he chairs teams that help maintain metadata in the library Web site and oversees the library intranet. He also participates in the maintenance of the university search engine. Prior to his current position, he was head of Copy Cataloging. In his spare time he digitizes 35mm slides taken in Puerto Rico in the 1940s and 1950s, preserving and providing access to them.

Terry Nikkel is Director, Information Services and Systems, at the Saint John campus of the University of New Brunswick. Previously he was Head, Library Systems, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Terry has been involved in many Web site projects and has long had a keen interest in interface usability and design. Terry was recently appointed to a university-wide steering committee at UNB that will oversee a complete overhaul of all its external and internal Web sites. Terry earned his MLIS at the University of Western Ontario, and recently completed an MBA at Dalhousie.


Founded in 1976, Neal-Schuman Publishers is based in New York City with offices in London, UK. Neal-Schuman is a leading publisher of textbooks in all areas of library and information studies, from library science to archival and records management, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.