New Web Site Feedback Form

In order to improve feedback on web site issues TIS has implemented a new form. This form is linked in the footer of each page with a label of “Web Site Feedback”. Use this form to flag the following…

* Inaccurate, outdated, or inaccessible content
* Content that is redundant, too wordy, or not formatted for the Web
* Broken links
* Other content issues or comments

Features we have built into the form include a URL field pre-populated with the previous URL, a re-sizable comment box, clear notification of what the form is intended for, a spam blocker that is only required once  per user session, and a confirmation page that prints the user’s comment and provides a link back to the original URL.

The form’s ease of use has been accounted for by separating out three main sections; the required Comments, the optional About You, and the Spam Blocker. Each section is wrapped in a fieldset and each input can be tabbed in order.

Once a submission is received TIS will notify the appropriate web author and work with the web author to make appropriate updates. If the submitter provides contact information an update will be provided. For easy tracking a e-mail is automatically generated and each  submission is recorded in the Libraries Content Management System.

We hope that this new system will help us start to address redundancy and bloat which are common issues in library web sites and which our User Services division has identified as a priority concern.  Any redesign efforts we undertake in the future will be helped significantly by leaner, cleaner content.

New Avoice For Education section published

We are pleased to announce the publication of the For Education section on Avoice.  The For Education section ties Avoice exhibit resources with K-12 lesson units. The first phase includes the “Voting Rights act of 1965”, the “Anti-apartheid Movement,” and the “Environmental Justice Movement.” Each lesson includes Learning Objectives, Activities, Documents and Worksheets, and integrates the lesson into National Learning Standards.  Thanks go to Meg Kemp of TIS and Alison Koostra of the CBCF for bringing this project to completion by the requested date.

avoice-for-educator

The For Education publication completes a series of updates provided by the University of Texas Libraries Technology Integration Services and Library Systems. The additional updates include integrating the News Releases and News Listing with a new RSS feed to insure easy maintenance and consistency. Further improvements include a new Webcast, a new Environment Justice exhibit, and several updates to the existing exhibits including metadata support for the popular research tool Zoltero. Finally, improvements were made to the site’s HTML and CSS, and the site received a thorough refresh of its programming.

We would like to thank the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Library Systems for helping use complete these updates by the requested time frame.

For further information about Avoice and the Congressional black Caucus Foundation visit the Avoice About page.

Recent Arrivals Application

Recent Arrivals

We’ve launched our Recent Arrivals app, which features any item that’s been added to the catalog in the past 30 days along with any item that is on a designated new book shelf in a branch library.

Users have the option to filter these results by branch location, material type, and language.Results can be sorted by title or date added to the catalog.Any search combination, which can be defined as narrowly as Italian DVDs at the Fine Arts Library, can be saved as an RSS feed.

Continue reading

Improvements to Researching by Subject

In the past, the UT Libraries have had a variety of independent pages that list subject-related information. These pages include databases by subject, subject guides, subject specialists, and so on. TIS identified several issues with that approach:

  • Subject names were not consistent. One page might list a subject called Children’s Studies, while another might call it Youth Studies.
  • Subject pages were not integrated. If a user was browsing databases by subject, there was no easy way to view that subject’s bibliographer.
  • Maintenance was difficult. If a specialist changer his/her office, that information needed to be updated in several places.

Our solution was to create a single database of subjects that contains all of the relevant information in one location. This database can be updated using a password-protected web interface. Now, if we decide to change “Theater” to “Theatre”, we make that update in one location and the change is reflected throughout our site.

Below is a list of pages that are currently using the new subjects database:

  • Research by Subject – In the past, this page simply linked to research guides. Now, it links to guides, databases, and specialist information.
  • Subject Detail pages – In addition to listing the information from the Research by Subject page, this page also provides links to related subjects.
  • Specialist Profile pages – This page serves as a profile page for subject specialists. The contact information is pulled from the campus directory, which prevents us from having to maintain that information. It also lists interests, publications, personal sites, degrees, and more.
  • Databases by Subject – Previously, this page only listed databases for each subject. Now, it lists recommended databases and provides links to that subject’s detail page and the specialist profile page.

We plan on using the data from new database on several other pages in the future. For example, we will integrate it with our existing library2blackboard application and an upcoming mobile version of our site. The work invested in this project will hopefully pay dividends long into the future.