Hoover library launches new website

Megan Robinson

News and Web Editor

On August 22nd Hoover Library launched its newly redesigned website. This redesign added several new features and improved others to make it more user friendly and to better assist students in their research.

The new website has new features as well as moved some previous features in easier to find locations. The front page has an integrated search box that searches the libraries entire catalogue and most of the databases at once. This search box makes finding for resources, the most used function of the library’s website, easier than ever.

The website also has information about the library building itself, such as the entire year’s library hours. This enables students to see not only Hoover’s usual schedule, but also its altered hours on holidays and breaks.

Another new feature is the enhanced subject guides. These guides are pages organized by subject that contains many links to databases and reputable online resources pertaining to that specific subject. These subject guides were compiled by the librarians at Hoover with a special interest or knowledge of each field, and the right side of each subject guide lists the specific librarian that created it along with contact information in case a student wanted to contact them for further help in their research.

The new website is easy to surf; generally categorized tabs at the top of the main screen can be scrolled over to reveal specific pages. This navigation bar remains displayed at the top of every screen on the website, so all the pages can be accessed from any place on the site.

Rhonda Stricklet, reference and instructional technology librarian at Hoover Library, has been working on the new site for over a year. She said the process began not with a computer but rather with surveys. She said facility, staff, and students were survived about problems they had with the previous site and additions they wanted to see added to the new one.

She then had them compare sample websites and mentioned what aspects of the samples they did and didn’t like. She mentioned also that she had student focus groups do a card sorting activity, arranging cards in a way that made sense. This activity showed her ways to organize the website that logically made sense to users.

Stricklet said that she created nine different websites and had the librarians at Hoover decided on which one was best. After adding more aspects that the librarians like from the other sites, Stricklet was finished with the redesign and it was launched in late August.

Despite the tedious process of gathering input and web design, Stricklet says she still isn’t done. Stricklet says she plans to send out more surveys via email asking the McDaniel community their opinions on the redesign, so it can be further adapted to users’ needs.

Many students still haven’t noticed the changed website; however, those that have had optimistic reactions to it. “I think it’s a positive change and it’s easier to navigate,” said junior and library circulation desk worker Liz Mirizio. Still more students need to give input, especially on the forthcoming email survey to make the website best catered to user needs.

The new website can accessed at its previous location at http://hoover.mcdaniel.edu/. For more information on the new website or to comment on it contact Rhonda Stricklet at rstricklett@mcdaniel.edu