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Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries

Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries



Second half of a LITA preconference training session conducted at ALA Midwinter 2014.

Second half of a LITA preconference training session conducted at ALA Midwinter 2014.



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  • Began with Kissane’s post on A List ApartAsk audience
  • A discipline unto itself
  • People need to do things, on a regular basis, to create and maintain interesting content on dynamic web sitesCognitive dissonance of creation of web content-how does it get there?DrMudd example
  • It solves a BIG problem.
  • My take on content strategy
  • Open for discussion
  • Putting everything you’ve developed with content strategy and workflow into force
  • Got in 2008; fail realized much, much later
  • Web folks are authorities on best practices, standards, and compliance (i.e., accessibility)Supervisors are authorities of their, and everyone else’s time, as it’s spent on the web site.Note about how IT can affect content: if only 5 people can touch the web server, it creates an editorial bottleneck that stymies the editorial process. If you don’t have your own server, they might also limit the type of information/data/content that can be posted.
  • We’re not in it for the speeding tickets; we’re in it because we care about our communities and civil order. Protect and serve!
  • Tools and services more in-depth, time-consuming processes, but what’s created from them—search boxes, widgets, etc—are pieces of content (some of the most useful!)
  • Identify a problem you’re having with governance.

Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries Presentation Transcript

  • Content Strategy, Workflow, and Governance
  • MOAR LITA STUFFS! • Top Technology Trends – Sunday, 10:30-11:30, 201C • LITA 201 – Sunday, 4:30-5:30, Convention Center 120 C • LITA Happy Hour – Sunday, 6:00-8:00, Bar-ly, Chinatown, 101 N. 11th Street • Town Meeting – Monday, 8:30-10:00, Convention Center 120 C
  • LITA Forum 2014 Transformation: From Node to Network Albuquerque, NM November 5-8 Program Proposals due February 24th Registration opening June lita.org
  • Seminal Works for Content Strategy Kristina Halvorson Erin Kissane
  • Content strategy is… “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” -Kristina Halvorson http://www.alistapart.com/articles/ thedisciplineofcontentstrategy
  • Content strategy is… • A growing discipline unto itself; • How (and sometimes when) you say what you say; • A mix of branding and editing; • A way to ensure a consistent experience for all of your users.
  • Content strategy is NOT your CMS “Hoping that a content management system will replace…human care and attention *to web content] is about as effective as pointing a barn full of unmanned agricultural machinery at a field, going on vacation, and hoping it all works out.” -Erin Kissane, The Elements of Content Strategy
  • Wherefore Content Strategy in Libraries? • Reference/public services have the reference interview; • Tech Services have the AACR2, MARC record; • IT staff (network/desktop) have recognized industry standards.
  • Web staff have content strategy. This is our area of expertise; These are newly emerging librarian skills; Embracing content strategy creates a clear channel in which we can operate.
  • Roles in Kissane’s Content Strategy Model • Editors – Know how/trained to write for the web – Understand the audience • Curators – Develop ideas for new tools and types of content • Marketers – Communicate with customers – Usability testing, outreach • Information Pros – Create information architecture – Develop workflow for all
  • Activity: Content Creators Who are your editors, curators, marketers, an d info pros? If every answer is “me,” take a REALLY hard look at your duties, your time, and your job description.
  • Defining Content • Primary audience: • • Scope: • • WHAT information and elements comprise it? Interactivity outcome: • • WHO is this content for? What do we want to happen when the primary audience interacts with it? Update frequency: • How often does this need freshened up to prevent it from being stale? WHEN (and WHERE?) is it relevant in users’ lives?
  • Examples: Jefferson County Libraries • Feature Carousel • Pressroom Page • Database Lists
  • Feature Carousel, 1/2 Primary audience: Patrons Scope: • qualitative selection & timely promotion of services • qualitative selection & timely promotion of events, programs and classes • qualitative selection & timely promotion of campaigns • no more than 5 items at a time • primarily graphical presentation w/ text only serving as a title to elicit a click through
  • Feature Carousel, 2/2 Interactivity outcome: – Provide a hook into an experience of the library (digital or physical) – Circulating traffic within the website Frequency: - multiple times per week
  • Press Room Page, 1/1 Primary Audience • Media & community contacts Scope • press releases • “In the news” items • awards & recognitions • Reporter Resources o Fact Sheets o Strategic Plan & Budget o Annual Reports o Request an Interview
  • Press Room, 2/2 Interactivity Outcome: • Accurate and timely information about the libraries is reported Update Frequency: • Awards & recognition items updated as needed • Reporter Resources reviewed/updated 1x per year
  • Database Lists, 1/2 Primary audience • Power users • Staff Scope • Comprehensive list of subscription databases listed alphabetically by name and grouped by subject. • Intended for staff assisting patrons or patrons doing more extensive research with the databases. • Connects patrons with resources for topics not covered by subject guides.
  • Database Lists 2/2 Interactivity Outcome • Staff will have quick access to a complete list of JCPL’s databases. • Patrons researching topics not covered by the subject guides will still have a path to reliable content. Update frequency: Monthly (related to purchase acquisition activities)
  • Workflow Matrices • Once you have all of the content pieces defined, you can create workflow matrices • Benefits: – Communicating content expectations for all (so they know what/when to expect change) – Communicating obligation to responsible parties and their management – Making these discussions with stakeholders iterative ensures that it accurately reflects everyone's understanding.
  • What to Include in a Matrix • • • • Name of the content type Responsible party/ies Frequency of updates Staff time required
  • Teens section workflow Content Type Responsibility Frequency Time Blog posts - Crazy Readerz TART daily Reviews by Teens (patron) TART weekly - 2x .5 hrs Page - Homework help (Teens) TART quarterly 2 hrs List - Teens TART yearly 16 hrs (2 hrs X 8 people) .5 hr
  • Research section workflow Content Type Responsibility Frequency Time Database list Digital Resources Librarian quarterly 1 - 2 hrs Seasonal guides Digital Resources Librarian quarterly 1 - 2 hrs Subject guides Digital Resources Librarian quarterly 1 - 2 hrs
  • Books, Movies & Music workflow Content Type Responsibility Frequency Time Blog posts - Books Collections & Beyond Committee weekly - 3x .5 hr List - Adults monthly 3 hrs Adult collection development staff
  • How much of this can we reasonably do? If it’s too much, we should scale back our content. If you can't support it, don't build it!
  • Hands-On: Content Definition and Workflow • Pick a page on your site that has a lot of components that come from different sources, and: • define it: primary audience, scope, outcome, frequency • make a workflow matrix for it: responsibility, frequency, time needed
  • Governance “Web governance is the structure of people, positions, authorities, roles, responsibilities, relationship s, and rules involved in managing an agency’s website(s). The governance structure defines who can make what decisions, who is accountable for which efforts, and how each of the players must work together to operate a website and a web management process effectively.” • Federal Web Managers Governance and Operations SubCouncil • http://www.howto.gov/web-content/governance/definition
  • Why Do We Need Content Governance? aka, “The Great LibGuides Fail of 2011” • LibGuides was Auraria Library’s first CMS • Best practices for guide content were drafted, posted, and reviewed on the intranet but never fully vetted/implemented • The result: – No consistency in IA/navigation – No consistency in design/layout – No consistency in image use/quality/attribution – Frustrated web admins, frustrated librarians, disinterested users
  • Who are the People, Positions, and Roles in Library Content Governance? • Web librarians, designers, and developers • Marketing/communications/graphic design • Content creators (often in public services, but can include any and all other areas of the library) • IT (in-library, external) • Admin What are, or should be, the responsibilities of all of these entities for library web governance? What are the relationships among them?
  • Who are the Authorities in Library Content Governance? • • • • • • • Web librarians, designers, and developers Supervisors Web oversight/advisory committees IT department(s; library/external) Administration Boards (public libraries) Parent institutions (city, college/university)
  • What Documents Constitute the Rules for Library Content Governance? • • • • • • • Job descriptions, performance plans Strategic plans Best practices, guidelines, style guides Process documentation Training materials Committee charges Web server access agreements Who makes which rules? Why?
  • So…Are We the Web Police? • Sorta…but our goals are to: – Decentralize content production – Bring more people into the web site fold – Take advantage of, and promote, everyone’s expertise and knowledge about library resources and services – Establish a unified voice/brand for our libraries – Create a web site that is consistent, current, adheres to best practices, and is easy/pleasant to maintain and use
  • Recovering from The Great LibGuides Fail of 2011: The Auraria Content Governance Model • Two new governance models: – New content creation model – New tool/service creation model • People, positions, authorities, responsibilities and roles were sorted into appropriate planning, development, launch phases • Models and processes were vetted and adopted by the Shared Leadership committee
  • Content Creation/Revision Planning Proposal for new content, revisions to CXC for idea approval Development Launch Gather information from stakeholders Assign responsibility for content creation/maintenance Mockup/sample content, developed based on best web writing practices Content container created CXC vets content Vet content with staff as appropriate Web staff checks code, tests Make changes as necessary Make changes as necessary Published to live
  • Content Model: Planning Phase • Anyone can make suggestions for new content • Responsibility for creation/maintenance must be assumed or assigned • Sample content must be provided before web staff work begins • Web team makes recommendations for presentation of the content
  • Content Model: Development Phase • Content container created (Drupal content type) and designed by web staff • Vet with staff as appropriate (depends on content) • Web team revises as necessary based on feedback • Communications Committee reviews/approves content
  • Content Model: Launch Phase • Communications Committee vets content • Web staff checks/tests affected parts of the web site • Changes made, as necessary • Content published to production environment • Content marketed as determined by the Communications Committee
  • New Tool/Service Creation Planning Phase Development Phase Launch Phase Written proposal, with stakeholder input, for new tool to ADs for approval Prototype developed on dev server Documentation created Tool/content manager/group manager assigned Prototype moved to staging server Training conducted, if necessary Project specifications & plan developed by Online Interfaces Working Group Prototype presented to library staff Launch date/plan coordinated Project manager assigned Prototype revised based upon staff input New tool deployed to live server
  • New Tool/Service Model: Planning Phase • Requires a written proposal from initiator • Approval (including prioritization, more to follow) by assistant directors • Project plan and specifications developed by tech experts in Online Interfaces Working Group • Project/content manager(s) assigned
  • New Tool/Service Model: Development Phase • Web staff develop iterative prototypes in dev environment • Complete prototype placed in context of entire site on staging environment • Feedback from staff solicited, evaluated, incorporated
  • New Tool/Service Model: Launch Phase • • • • • Web team writes documentation Develop/conduct training Launch planned/coordinated (Left off: marketing!) Deployment
  • Activity: Governance
  • Tips for Governance Modeling • • • • • Be democratic Be transparent Be overly communicative Be positive/use positive language Give authority to others, with a clear understanding of the related responsibilities • Ask for authority for yourself and articulate why you need it
  • Hands-On Governance • Draft the following lists: – The existing web content people, positions, roles, relationships, and responsibilities – The existing authorities over the library’s web site – The existing rules governing the library’s web site • Policies, best practices, job descriptions, strategic plans • Do a quick assessment (what exists of) your current governance model • Write/sketch some suggested improvements
  • Maintenance & Development Possible Topics? • • • • Web environment development Migrating web sites Advanced tools …?
  • Questions? Comments? Christine Coughlan christine@atendesigngroup.com @hoodedcloak74 Nina McHale ninermac.net/contact @ninermac