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Opening What's Closed:Using Open Source Tools to Tear Down [Vendor] Silos Ken Varnumvarnum@umich.edu WiLSWorld21 July 2010
Outline Challenges Challenge Answered: Design Challenge Answered: Technology  How We Break Down Silos Demonstration Q&A
The challenges we faced
Our Problem
Our Problem Catalog Federated Search Research Guides x 3 300+ database providers Thousands of online journals Dozens of libraries Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Information Not Location Web Team charge: allow the Dean to find stuff more easily A vehicle for a single identity – the MLibrary brand Provide a unified user experience Platonic Ideal – Eliminate Silos
Design Phase 1
Phase I: The Band-Aid Force the brand onto the site Provide consistent navigation Identify duplicated content Practice the idea of thinking of ourselves as one Reduced, but didn’t eliminate, heterogeneity of interface
Data Gathering Broad user survey One question survey Focus groups Advisory groups
Users Told Us ,[object Object]
Did not want to know where to start: information, not location
Single interface & design would reduce confusion
No lists of links (except  faculty wanted a list of ejournals),[object Object]
Design Phase 2
Visual Priorities Provide a ubiquitous, persistent FIND function  Establish clear visual hierarchy Make us look hip, clean, contemporary Show off our treasures (they’re never seen!)  Tell our news  Reveal things that aren’t known about us
Visual Elements Soft colors don’t compete with primary function  Regular rhythms help users anticipate – use a grid  Design philosophy – keep it simple  If the design is invisible, the design succeeds
Today’s Gateway
INTEGRATION
Putting the User First Review what users told us: Wanted librarians to tell them what was important Wanted easy starting poit Wanted unified design No lists of links* Built site around search and browse Used technology to beat silos into access * Except faculty.  They LOVE their A-Z online journals list
Development Principles We  open source software Preference for building over buying Trend toward customization of generic tool We have in-house capability to customize Drupal, VuFind, Solr But use more than open source Still live in a vendor-driven environment Metalib, EZProxy, SFX, Aleph ILS
Ex Libris Catalog (Aleph) Federated Search (Metalib) Link Resolver (SFX) Largely closed systems
VuFind Open Source OPAC Based on Solr Largely open
LibGuides Moved subject content out of web site Better presentation for our users without building a tool Still wanted to include in site search Open data, not open application
DSpace Institutional Repository Metadata Somewhat open
Drupal Heart of the site Biggest strength:  you can make it do anything Biggest weakness:  you can make it do anything Enables very complex data flows Largely open
Apache Solr Search (mostly) happens here We index lots of data from lots of sources But we aren’t building an index of everything VuFind DSpace (“Deep Blue”)
Obligatory Data Flow Vision Test
demonstration
User testing and site revisions
The road to Hell is paved with benign neglect. -- Me
A Year in Review The punch list morphed into remodeling and redesign needs Reacting to feedback Conducting usability work
Post Redesign: It Never Ends Integrating other services & applications Article Discovery is the 3rd leg of the stool (web and catalog done) Mobile interfaces New User Experience Department just formed
Gateway Page Layout Participatory Design Volunteers get print-out of gateway page Circle things they like X-out things they don’t like Use post-its to add things that they want Learned interesting things about what students & librarians value Faculty study underway this term
Suzanne Chapman, suzchap@umich.edu
Suzanne Chapman, suzchap@umich.edu

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Opening What's Closed: Using Open Source Tools to Tear Down [Vendor] Silos

  • 1. Opening What's Closed:Using Open Source Tools to Tear Down [Vendor] Silos Ken Varnumvarnum@umich.edu WiLSWorld21 July 2010
  • 2. Outline Challenges Challenge Answered: Design Challenge Answered: Technology How We Break Down Silos Demonstration Q&A
  • 5. Our Problem Catalog Federated Search Research Guides x 3 300+ database providers Thousands of online journals Dozens of libraries Can’t We All Just Get Along?
  • 6. Information Not Location Web Team charge: allow the Dean to find stuff more easily A vehicle for a single identity – the MLibrary brand Provide a unified user experience Platonic Ideal – Eliminate Silos
  • 8. Phase I: The Band-Aid Force the brand onto the site Provide consistent navigation Identify duplicated content Practice the idea of thinking of ourselves as one Reduced, but didn’t eliminate, heterogeneity of interface
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  • 11. Data Gathering Broad user survey One question survey Focus groups Advisory groups
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  • 13. Did not want to know where to start: information, not location
  • 14. Single interface & design would reduce confusion
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  • 17. Visual Priorities Provide a ubiquitous, persistent FIND function Establish clear visual hierarchy Make us look hip, clean, contemporary Show off our treasures (they’re never seen!) Tell our news Reveal things that aren’t known about us
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  • 19. Visual Elements Soft colors don’t compete with primary function Regular rhythms help users anticipate – use a grid Design philosophy – keep it simple If the design is invisible, the design succeeds
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  • 26. Putting the User First Review what users told us: Wanted librarians to tell them what was important Wanted easy starting poit Wanted unified design No lists of links* Built site around search and browse Used technology to beat silos into access * Except faculty. They LOVE their A-Z online journals list
  • 27. Development Principles We  open source software Preference for building over buying Trend toward customization of generic tool We have in-house capability to customize Drupal, VuFind, Solr But use more than open source Still live in a vendor-driven environment Metalib, EZProxy, SFX, Aleph ILS
  • 28. Ex Libris Catalog (Aleph) Federated Search (Metalib) Link Resolver (SFX) Largely closed systems
  • 29. VuFind Open Source OPAC Based on Solr Largely open
  • 30. LibGuides Moved subject content out of web site Better presentation for our users without building a tool Still wanted to include in site search Open data, not open application
  • 31. DSpace Institutional Repository Metadata Somewhat open
  • 32. Drupal Heart of the site Biggest strength: you can make it do anything Biggest weakness: you can make it do anything Enables very complex data flows Largely open
  • 33. Apache Solr Search (mostly) happens here We index lots of data from lots of sources But we aren’t building an index of everything VuFind DSpace (“Deep Blue”)
  • 34. Obligatory Data Flow Vision Test
  • 36. User testing and site revisions
  • 37. The road to Hell is paved with benign neglect. -- Me
  • 38. A Year in Review The punch list morphed into remodeling and redesign needs Reacting to feedback Conducting usability work
  • 39. Post Redesign: It Never Ends Integrating other services & applications Article Discovery is the 3rd leg of the stool (web and catalog done) Mobile interfaces New User Experience Department just formed
  • 40. Gateway Page Layout Participatory Design Volunteers get print-out of gateway page Circle things they like X-out things they don’t like Use post-its to add things that they want Learned interesting things about what students & librarians value Faculty study underway this term
  • 44. Q&A Ken Varnum Web Systems Manager University of Michigan Library varnum@umich.edu @varnum lib.umich.edu/users/varnum

Editor's Notes

  1. This and following section based on slides created by Liene Karels, Director of Communications, University of Michigan Library