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  • valarie907 10:08 pm on June 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, ,   

    Cutting Down Library Website Content 

    Static pages should be written with as little time sensitive content as possible, to prevent the need for constant revision.  They should also be organized visually and with important information in an easy to read format (Redish, 2007).  The writer needs to pay particular attention to the language used for their audience.  This elementary library site is attempting to meet the needs of three groups requires careful wording and succinct text to make the content meaningful to all of these audiences.

    1. students
    2. teachers/staff
    3. parents

    Since this is a site I am working on I have knowledge of the audience and the frequently asked questions about the two following topics.

    Rewrite #1:  Home, Information or About?

    Webpage:  http://sealionlibrary.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/wpmu/


    Note the length and images

    Original text: 


    All classes to get library books in by Monday, May 20th get their names entered into a raffle for a special prize.


    Explore the rhythm and sound of poetry in the Poetry Beats Studio.

    What is your favorite book? Leave us a comment below.

    Library Schedule for the School Year:

    • Open library from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and during lunch and recess everyday from 12:00 to 12:30 and 12:30 to 1:00.  Come look for a great book!
    • Library classes are held everyday, see the schedule outside the door for details or contact the school directly.

    THANK YOU to all the wonderful volunteers who made Spring Book Fair 2013 happen!

     Library Podcast in ARCHIVES. Listen to students and teachers talk about reading and books.

    Seward Elementary Library Policy:

    • K-2nd grade, 1 book checked out at a time, up to 2 weeks
    • 3rd -6th grade, 2 books checked out at a time, up to 2 weeks

    Students may renew books to extend their checkout date.  Overdue books are to be returned or fines paid before checking out another book.

    Fines are charged only when a book is lost or damaged beyond repair. Costs for books vary. Please contact [Librarian] or Mrs. Kingsland under these circumstances.

    Phone: 907-224-3356

    Email: librarian

    Email: library aide

    Rewritten Text:  Includes just the information needed, no more, broken down in short chunks for easy scanning and readability.  I’ve been considering putting the contact info on a separate page with a contact form…still undecided…

    Library Schedule

    • Library Classes: meet through the week for 30 minutes
    • Open Library:  Every day during lunch and recess (Noon- 12:55 pm) school wide
    • The library schedule is posted outside the library door and online [Google doc link]

    Borrowing Policies

    • K-2nd  One book at a time for up to 2 weeks
    • 3rd -6th: Two books at a time for up to 2 weeks
    • Books may be renewed
    • Overdue books must be returned before checking out another book.  There are no overdue fines.
    • Lost or damaged books may result in a replacement charge.  Costs vary.  If it presents a hardship, please let us know and we will work with you.  The intent is for students to learn responsibility, not to punish them.

    Contact Information

    • 907-224-7573
    • Librarian [name] [email]
    • Library Aide [name] [email]
    • Mailing Address:  POB 247
    • Physical address: 600 Sea Lion Ave
    • Seward, AK  99664

    Rewrite #2:  Book Fairs


    The link goes to a book fair that already ended

    Webpage:  http://sealionlibrary.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/wpmu/book-fair/

    Original Text

    Click here for all book fair information: BOOK FAIR HOMEPAGE

    We still need volunteers.  Conatact the library at 224-7573 or sign up at the office or in the library. All volunteers must fill out the volunteer application.

    Rewritten Text:  Page is rewritten based on experience with a dozen book fairs at this school, many of which I orchestrated, and the frequently asked questions I heard every time.  Here’s to paying attention to your audience.  I look forward to re-examining this this fall as we begin planning the book fair for October and seeing what could be further cut, cut, cut (Redish, 2007)!!!  Thank you, Janice Redish!

    Seward Elementary Library Book Fairs

    The library usually holds two Scholastic Book Fairs a year.

    • Fall Book Fair:  Held during parent/teacher conferences in late October
    • Spring Book Fair:  Usually close to March 2nd for Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday

    The book fair offers books from preschool board books to upper-elementary fiction, non-fiction, activity and discounted books.  Included are novelty items, such as pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.  Scholastic also sends a small selection of cookbooks for adults.

    The profits from the book fairs provide funds to purchase books, supplies and Birthday Books for the library.

    Announcements will be posted to this blog, but you can call for more information

    Interested in volunteering? 

    • Stop by or call us at 907-224-7573 and let us know
    • Fill out this volunteer application before the book fair

    Rewrite #3:  Christchurch City Libraries: Borrowing items


    just a little toooooo long

    Webpage:  http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Services/Borrowing/

    This library almost gets it.  The content is pretty well written and gives useful content by focusing on the facts, but the page is just too long.  Too long to print here!  What I like about the page in spite of the length is how they organized the process one goes through in borrowing an item with large clear headlines for each section.  They did a good job of handling the information their patrons expect to access online about how to borrow items from their library.

    They could have applied the strategy suggested by Redish (2007, page 73, figure 5-3) to break up the content into topics.  So instead of a long page, it might look more like this with links to pages the content they put together for each section:

    (unfortunately, it isn’t styled as it would be online, but I hope you get the idea…)

    Stock availability

    When items are available for borrowing

    Locating items

    How to find an item in the library

    Placing holds

    How to place a hold on an item

    Borrow an item

    What you need to know to borrow items

    Returning the item

    Ways items can be returned to the library

    Overdue items and money owed

    What to do if your item is overdue or you owe money

    Each was followed by a bullet-ed list of simplified sentences that are easy to skim for key words that could easily be placed on a separate page.

    ps.  Those multi-color tabs on the bottom of the header blend in with the header graphic and are difficult to see.  It would be better if the label was inside the tab, rather than on top of it.

    Redish, J. (2007). Letting go of the words: Writing Web content that works. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

    • Aaron Schmidt 6:13 pm on July 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great rewrites. Here’s a comment about your second example:

      How important is getting new volunteers? Did you place that info low on the page because you considered it a low user need? While I ALWAYS advocate for writing with the user in mind, if there was a library need for more volunteers, you might find a balance with the placement of that.

      There’s no right or wrong here, and the actual copy you wrote is well written, I’m just noodling around.

      • valarie907 12:25 am on July 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for pointing that out, Aaron! It was placed low as a chronological notion to introduce the events before soliciting help. But, ideally, I would place a small text box/graphic to solicit volunteers on each page with important links, for visitor convenience and to show volunteers are welcomed and valued. I’ll have to take a look and see what I can set up with this account and available themes. Or, perhaps a Volunteering page …hmmm…

        I think this is a great example of the limitations of using a CMS for a website. Certainly some, like wordpress.org, gives much more control over the overall site, but we only have access to Blogger (almost no control!) and wordpress.com with limited admin privileges through our school district. A lot of the issues with our blog were a result of those limitations and lack of experience.

  • valarie907 9:39 pm on June 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, ,   

    Good Library Webpage Content 

    Based on the principles in Letting Go of the Words by Janice Redish (2007), good content is:

    • a conversation (pay attention to your audience!)
    • answers questions (focus on the facts!)
    • grab & go info (we’re busy and have other things to do!)

    Here are two examples of how a library can use its online presence to accomplish these goals.  They demonstrate empathy by valuing the time their patrons spend when visiting their site for information bygiving them the facts in a easy to scan and read format. (Redish, 2007).

    The City Library: About

    TheCityLibraryAboutPageWebsite:  https://www.slcpl.org/about/

    This is one of my favorite library websites; I love their use of white space, color and meaningful images.  But, I wasn’t sure how they would handle a tall order an About page for a very large library system.  Their About page defaults to the Locations & Hours page (it should be highlighted so we know that) which consists of a simple, non-fussy contact form and an attractive list of their locations accompanied by a nice photo of each one.

    The content is divided by clear categories in the right sidebar menu to dig deeper into the site for more specific information.  The City Library handles the complicated matter of sharing too much information at once beautifully by channeling a smooth path by utilizing the menu to manage the overflow of information (Redish, 2007).  There is a risk of getting lost while going in deeper as the side bar menu changes, but the About tab on top stays consistently in place, along with their signature logo for consistent branding and site recognition (Redish, 2007).

    Live Oak Public Libraries: Story Stones

    LiveOakLibraryStoryStonesWebpage:  http://www.liveoakpl.org/events/summer_reading/story_stones.php

    This announcement for a children’s program is perfectly succinct and readable.  It offers a general idea of the activity with a single image that is gender neutral (Redish, 2007).  It gives the age group the event is targeted towards as well as the presenter’s name and qualifications for conscientious parents.  This is followed by a list of library branches, phone numbers, dates and time surrounded by a lot of white space that is easy to read.  The only thing I wondered about was why some library names/numbers are in bold and some not.  I know some web editors have a difficult interface and I’ve wrestled with my share of stubborn posts that refused to do what I wish, so I put it down to that.  Regardless, this is a perfect example of keeping announcements simple and attractive.


    Redish, J. (2007). Letting go of the words: Writing Web content that works. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

  • valarie907 7:09 pm on June 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, , UX   

    Content Audit Spreadsheet 

    LIBR 287 UX Content Audit Spreadsheet:  [Google document]

    A content audit spreadsheet for two websites for:

    Be sure to use tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet to view both website audits.  I used a color coded rating system to easily identify the content that needed work.  Basically, green is good, yellow may need attention and red needs to be addressed as soon as possible.  Text was added to yellow and red fields to define what was deficient or needed to be reworked.

    I added extra fields when I thought they were appropriate:

    • Recommendations column so they could be noted while I was thinking about them for future reference.  The only thing I was unhappy with was that this might be redundant with the text in the yellow/red fields.
    • Working Functions column to indicate if the registration, lost password, contact form or whatever might be on that page is functioning properly.
    • Mission Oriented to indicate that if the page adds value to the mission of the website/organization.

    I found it to be a very good idea to catalog the content on both websites, since I am involved in maintaining both of them.  I plan to keep these sheets and modify them as the sites progress, but I worry about having to explain them to other site administrators.  I don’t want to hand them a book to read, but some the online articles might be more appropriate and manageable.

    Content Inventory (Wikipedia)

    The Content Inventory is Your Friend

    From Content Audit to Design Insight

    Jun 16, 2006: The Rolling Content Inventory

    • Aaron Schmidt 6:14 pm on July 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good color coding! Makes the health of the site easy to assess.

      • valarie907 12:10 am on July 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Aaron! I find it helpful to see at a glance, what’s what, and the red really stands out. What do you think of the extra columns I added…are they a good idea?

        And, to all…I made the document public on the web, but I got a sign in page when I clicked on it, so I hope everyone has access to it. Please let me know if you don’t…Google is making so many changes and I’d hate to rely on the public access setting if it isn’t really public access!

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