Architecture and Planning Library Redesign

The Architecture and Planning Library redesign is now complete and moved to production. Many new improvements have been made to the information architecture, design and content integration to improve user interaction and reduce maintenance efforts.

Information architecture improvements include a new site layout which chunks content together logically and allows for easier lateral navigation. A horizontal navigation was created to classify main sections. We are now using active states to highlight the main and subsections a user visits, thus providing context and wayfinding clues. The redesigned home page spotlights new applications we’ve recently developed and allows for more continuity with the main Libraries home page and the recently redesigned Fine Arts Library.


A new design was created to integrate within the Libraries approved secondary template. This design includes a new secondary header throughout the APL site so the user easily recognizes what branch they are in. The header includes a new logo providing the full branch name and includes rotating images representing the library. Colors and graphics for the new design was drawn from collections in the branch. To separate the main content from the surrounding site a new treatment was applied to visually raise the main content and to separate the horizontal navigation by providing a distinct look for easy recognition.

Content integration and reduced maintenance has been improved by adding the site to the Content Management System and integrating Recent Arrivals, APL Highlights, and Hours. The APL Library Branch is the second branch to be integrated and managed in the Libraries’ CMS with PCL being the first. The addition of Recent Arrivals, Highlights and Hours reduce bloat by including only recent content and reduce maintenance by integrating content from the Catalog, Blog, or a central application. APL Highlights is managed through a blog, cached and displayed on the Highlights page and on the branch home page. Hours is also displayed in the branch site but maintained in a central application.

TIS would like to thank the Architecture and Planning Library Staff and Library Systems for their important collaboration.

Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI)

Screenshots of the HRDI site
Screen captures of the HRDI site

We’ve just launched the site for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative!  In July 2008, the University of Texas received a grant from the Bridgeway Foundation to collect and preserve fragile resources related to the Rwandan genocide and a variety of human rights issues.  The Libraries assembled a project team, assessed what partners and resources were already available here on campus, and partnered with Archive-It to begin a quarterly harvesting of URLs which will be made available via the site under Archived Web Resources.

Our team was tasked with creating a web-based interface that provides access to human rights documentation through variety of different resources including the archived URLs , physical collections of materials here at UT, the UT Libraries catalog, the UT Digital Repository, Texas Archival Resources Online, and other outside entities.  Metadata like Library of Congress Subject Headings, language, and abstracts are assigned to all the archived URLs which allowed us to incorporate a variety of search and browse options to aid discovery.

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New Search Feature for Faculty

We’ve just added a new “Find a Subject Specialist” feature to our For Faculty page. As you begin typing the name of a subject in the input box, the search box will make suggestions to you.

For example, if you type sci into the search box it will suggest Computer Sciences, Geological Sciences, and others. This was made possible by using the jQuery javascript library and our existing subject database.

Our hope is that this new feature will enable users to more easily find subject-specific information.