The University of Miami libraries recently unveiled a new Web site aimed at making their resources easier to navigate for students and faculty.
The site, which has been in the making for months, can be found at beta.library.miami.edu. The new site will be in conjunction with the old libraries’ site until the end of the semester when it will become the permanent site.
A nine-member committee led by Cheryl Gowing, director of information management and systems at Richter Library, was the driving force behind the Web site’s creation. The committee used focus groups with students, usage statistics and the Web sites of peer institutions to help shape the creation of the new site.
Student feedback is an important part of developing the site’s style. Gowing encourages students to check out the Beta site and give feedback.
“Students should get their feet wet,” Gowing said. “We want to keep the new Web site fresh.”
Some of the problems addressed in the Beta site included terminology differences that confused many students and the lack of easy access to many resources.
“Our past site had a lot of layers, which was fine until three weeks later (after a search) when you’re trying to get back to your original search,” said Scott Britton, the director of access for information & research services.
The layout of the new Web site is also intended to be more user-friendly. The home page has a display of library events along with hours of operations and a “How do I…” section that gives links to services the library offers. A new search bar will include categories to help streamline research.
Other features include audience pages, which contain information for specific groups such as undergraduates, graduates and faculty, and “Quick Links” to the libraries’ most frequently used services.
Corey Fujikawa may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.