Databases & Research – How to Improve?

With our new site in preview and ready to launch soon, we have been given the opportunity to also make adjustments to our Databases & Research pages for the better.  A first round of user studies has been completed and their participation gave us great insight into what our customers cannot (& sometimes can!) find there.

Please use this post to add your comments about what you would like to see considered or changed in Databases & Research.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. On subject pages, sort resources by type, putting our subscription resources at the top and public websites at the bottom
  2. Add a customized informational introductory subject-specific header created by a subject specialist librarian to each subject page.
  3. Consolidate “Books & Literature” subject with other pages about “Books”.
  4. Use topic ads with action words like, “Power of Attorney Form Here”, “Fix Your Car”, “Study for the SAT Now”,  & “Do Your Family History Research Here”.
  5. Simplify any text to 15 words or less.
  6. Highlight the Top Ten Databases (usage).
  7. Add some subjects like, “House & Garden”, “Business & Economics”, “Grants & Fundraising”.
  8. Add video tutorials, webinar links, and vendor user guides to resources.

Don’t hesitate to make a suggestion!  The more ideas for our Reference Services Committee to review and make suggestions to IPRS for final decision-making.

We need you to participate – thank you!  Any Questions?  Christa Werle, x7160.

5 thoughts on “Databases & Research – How to Improve?

  1. I would like to see the A-Z subject list immediately visible, rather than making people click through to find it. And I heartily approve of the idea to organize by resource type, with the subscription resources at the top. 🙂

  2. Lindsay Hanson

    First I’ll say that I love all the suggestions in this post and think we should do all of them.

    Secondly, I would propose that we do away entirely with the “Articles and Research” general search. (and get rid of the radio button option on the new homepage.) I think that this option is misleading and seems to promise far more than it actually delivers. Customers can already do a general search in many of our other databases (in fact we could highlight some of the databases as being a good general place to begin research). Having this option may prevent customers from searching further in our other resources and may prevent them from even knowing they exist. I have already suggested to the website team that they have the “articles & databases” (or whatever we end up calling it) link as a tab in the brown list as the top of the screen. It would be great if this could be there with the option of having the subject list pop up when customers put their mouse on the tab. I think the the subject list is very useful and intuitive and am sad that it isn’t an obvious part of the new homepage.

    Thanks for allowing us this opportunity to improve the site!

  3. mdelury

    Looking at several websites across North America, I’m struck by how much jargon is still in use. Even libraries that are thought to be very progressive use terms like “online databases.” What I find to be a trend though is the homepage has a very broad term such as “24/7” or “beyond books” or “explore,” then breaks it down further on a second page. So, with our radio button, we’ve already reduced the step by one click. It may just be the tip of what we have to offer, but then again, many people are simply looking for the quickest way to info.

    The word “databases” is off-putting to some of us. Even though it’s a common term, it sounds like jargon. “Articles” seems pretty straightforward. I vote for “Articles and research.”

  4. mdelury

    Looking at several websites across North America, I’m struck by how much jargon is still in use. Even libraries that are thought to be very progressive use terms like “online databases.” What I find to be a trend though is the homepage has a very broad term such as “24/7” or “beyond books” or “explore,” then breaks it down further on a second page or third page. So, with our banner menu, we’ve already reduced the step by one click. It may just be the tip of what we have to offer, but a lot of people are just looking for the quickest link to the information. That’s especially true if you have a slow connection – something about which many posters have expressed concern.

    The term “databases” is off-putting to some of us. Even though it’s a common term, it sounds like jargon. “Articles” seems pretty straightforward. I vote for “Articles and research.”

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