All posts by Steve Williams

TIS & Library Systems Presented at Drupal Developers Group

Steve Williams and Jon Gibson presented on development of the AHPN web site at the UT Campus Drupal Developers group.  Steve discussed using the Zen theme kit to build a template layer with regions and styling of the site. Steve also demonstrated how to set up a dual language site in Drupal, including installation of modules, language detection methods, configuration of site variables, and how to create multilingual content like nodes, menus and blocks. Jon discussed the custom AHPN Search module, the separate layers of storage, and the Solr search index integration. Jon also demonstrated how Solr returns data and how each return is parsed.

With a full room of developers no one in attendance had built a multilingual site before and many showed interest in the process. The room was also impressed with the amount of data being indexed (10 million images and associated metadata) and how quickly the site served each request. Audrey Templeton, who also worked on the custom AHPN Search Module, attended and helped with questions.

New site for Data Management at UT

Screnshot of Data management at UT site

Steve Williams, the Libraries Webmaster, worked with Amy Rushing and Colleen Lyon to publish a new site for Data Management Planning at UT. The site was built in the Libraries Content Management System and included in the Libraries surrounding theme. The web site highlights a new project that is a new collaboration with Information Technology Services (ITS), Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and the Office of Sponsored Project. For more information about Data Management at UT visit the site.

TIS performs around 400 AVOICE updates for CBCF

19th Century Black Congress Member Biographies


Sara Snow and Steven Williams, of Technology Integration Services, worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C. to perform close to 400 updates to the AVOICE web site. After adding a new document library, a review of the site content was performed and with many changes of CBCF membership, Congressional Bills, and Congressional Electors, a large number of updates were required. In addition, several documents were moved form one document gallery to another.

UT Libraries Home Page one of the most Popular on Campus

When comparing web page statistics across campus, the Libraries home page consistently scores in the top three. The university home page, registration pages and the College of Liberal Arts home page often land in the top three rankings as well. Snapshots of pages viewed in Spring, Summer, and Fall 2011 are below.

Spring (April) 2011
Summer (June) 2011
Fall (October) 2011

When analyzing the statistics, we see the Libraries home page not only receives a high number of page views, but also has a high count of unique views, which indicates that page views are often not from the same users. The time spent on the home page is two minutes, suggesting that viewers are scanning the page and not just clicking through. Because of the high usage the Libraries LIBsearch receives, it is not surprising that the Libraries home page is so frequently visited.

A sample of  Spring, Summer, and Fall was taken because a complete range of data was not available for the Spring and Fall semesters. In the future, we will compile semester-long snapshots; for now, though, it is clear that judging by partial semesters only, the Libraries home page is among the most visited and most popular on campus!


UT Digital Repository Asset Layout Updated with Icons

Steven Williams and Matthew Villalobos, of Technology Integration Services, collaborated with Amy Rushing and Colleen Lyon to improve the user experience of viewing files in the UT Digital Repository. The default display of a DSpace/Manakin repository is to display files, and their metadata, in a text representation across rows. In order to provide users with a more visual cue, graphic icons for the most frequently used file types were created. In order to associate a file type with its appropriate icon, XSL transformation was performed in the Manakin layer matching the object mime type with its icon.

In addition to using icons to help users quickly scan for file types, the metadata associated with the object has also been moved to a vertical display floating to the right of the icon. The vertical layout not only allows for an improved gaze path, but also provides more space for longer descriptions and spacing for future data like statistics.

Classics Library Redesign

TIS worked closely with the Classics Library staff to evaluate and organize their site content. The redesign focused on  more user-friendly layouts and improved consistency with other library sites like FAL, APL, MSL, and PCL. TIS also took the opportunity to transition the site into the Libraries Content Management System to improve template stability and allow improved access for multiple authors.

Classics Home Page

The new site reduces maintenance and provides consistent data maintained by views from centrally-managed content. Examples of centrally-managed content are Library Hours, Human Resources managed Staff Directory, and the integration of the Libraries Recent Arrivals application.

TIS also sought to improve communication and outreach by providing a blog to represent a digital news board. The similarly themed blog, which is accessed from the classics home page, presents a traditional news listing with built-in tagging, archiving, and RSS feeds. The blog also affords content separation that allows for less formal posting of content. The Classics staff use the news blog to highlight specialized classics books, journals, and other resources available across campus Libraries.

The Classics Library has already received several positive comments:

nice, Gina! It looks good


Cool! Thanks very much for this. I will bookmark it forthwith”

this is fantastic!! Very helpful indeed esp. for us who are on the other side of  campus!

–Fine Arts Faculty


Perry-Castañeda Library Redesign

TIS worked closely with the Perry-Castañeda Library staff to re-organize and redesign the site. PCL staff reduced the amount of content and worked with TIS to develop a new structure that resulted in improved navigation. Consistency with other recent branch redesigns, such as FAL, APL, MSL, and Classics, were maintained by following similar templates, but the PCL site was customized to fit its needs.

Home Page

Content duplication was reduced by integrating Library hours, staff contact information, and locations guide from their central locations. Now, hours will automatically update when the central hours application is updated. Staff contact information will automatically update when Human Resources updates, adds, or removes staff from the central staff directory. The PCL location guide will automatically update when the central location guide is updated.

PCL Staff Contact and Location Guide

New Video tutorials were integrated into content layouts, and panels were used to allow content editors the ability to edit while reducing the chance of layout errors.

Panel and Tutorial Integration

Implementing the redesign included re-organizing the site while being served to production from the Content Management System. The transition required updating and deleting content in order to provide a new structure. Re-organizing live content required tracking URL changes and updating links. After content was re-organized, the site was transferred to a development server, the design was developed into a theme, and it was  applied to production.

A special thanks goes to Susanne Ristow for heading up the Perry-Castañeda Library redesign.

Signature Course Faculty Toolkit Rebuild

The Signature Course faculty toolkit provides resources for integrating information literacy into class curriculum. TIS, along with Library Instruction Services, completed a rebuild of the Signature Course Faculty Toolkit while transitioning it to the Libraries Content Management System.

A previous project to develop the toolkit was completed for the 2009-2010 school year. Over the course of the year feedback was received resulting in a decision to redesign the toolkit. The redesign simplifies the site by bringing focus to searching, browsing by tags, and by providing graphical icons for Faculty Examples.

Landing Page
Landing Page

The rebuild provided the opportunity to transition the toolkit into the Libraries Content Management System. The previous version was managed from an XML file, with a complex schema, requiring precise manual entries with manual linking of files. By adding the toolkit to the CMS content owners have been able to add and update content with consistent tagging, easily interlinking objects, and quickly attaching files while navigating the site.

Editing Objects
Editing Objects

Already the ease of updating the toolkit has proven to be a great improvement. We hope users find the site improved with more updated content.

Mobile links added to “Finding Articles using Databases”

TIS worked with Library Systems and the Finding Articles using Databases Web Author to incorporate mobile friendly links. When a mobile friendly database site is available and identified the reference can now be managed and displayed as an option to the user.

Example of mobile link
Example of mobile link

A new section has also been added to the mobile site providing a mobile friendly find articles and databases listing.

Addition of Finding Articles and Databases
Addition of Finding Articles using Databases