The Library Unveils New Website

The University library’s website received a technological makeover during winter break.

Dean of the Library, Dr. Ravindra Sharma, stated that the website was in need of a change that would benefit students and faculty. Sharma insisted that his habit is to keep up with technology, so when he saw other universities were updating their library websites, he knew it was time to do the same.

According to Matthew Doyle, the Interim Systems Librarian as well as the Reference and Instruction Librarian, the last update to the site was back in 2006. Doyle and Sharma both agreed that the new site should provide easier access to library reference materials. “We are trying to service the overall user experience and usability in the site,” Doyle said.

The updated version includes highlighted library news, a newer mobile version and a live chat for reference questions. Chat reference will be available on Monday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Tuesday will be 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Wednesday will be 3:00 to 9:00 pm and Thursday will be 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Students and faculty will now be able to direct their questions to a librarian right from their computer.

The library mobile version launched a year and a half ago when Doyle was initially hired at the University. It was a “dumbed, downed mobile version,” Doyle said. The mobile usability now has been enhanced to fit different mobile device screens and provide easier navigation. “Now you have a fully functional mobile site,” he said. Students and faculty can use their smart phones to access the library from any location.

mulibrarywebsite2Mobile applications for library research are also located on the library’s website. By going to students and faculty can choose from guides such as EBSCO Databases and Easy Bib for assistance.

Sharma said he is pleased with the new version and credits Doyle for the new website. “When we hired Matt a year and a half ago, we knew he was well-trained in technology,” Sharma said.

Sharma said that one of his favorite features is the highlighted library news. “In the older version, you didn’t have all the details which you have now,” he said. The news on the homepage provides students and faculty updates such as awards, special book collections and upcoming University events.

However, some students are still unaware of the updated changes. “I had no idea there was even a mobile version,” said senior Caitlin D’Elia.

Associate Librarian Eleonora Dubicki said that she tries to inform students of the updated website and answer any questions about the new layout.

D’Elia said, “Some links on the website weren’t directly linked to the articles and it took a while to find out where it was from.”

Sharma said the library research guides use cloud computing and that he is going to a conference on how to learn more about it. “We want to meet the challenge of the twenty-first century,” Sharma said. In the future, there is the possibility of incorporating more cloud computing within the library’s website.

Jake Cohen originally didn’t think the library website needed an update, but he changed his mind once he used the new version. “I realized that it’s truly improved and much easier to navigate through,” Cohen said. The hours of operation for the building and reference desk, social media links and frequently asked questions are available on the homepage.

Dubicki favors the quick links and the updated news section but would also like to see a general search box on the homepage of the website “so you can get quick access right into the catalogue from the homepage.”

Sharma said that he would like to continue improving the website through the student and faculty responses. “It’s possible we may have missed something,” Sharma continued. Students and faculty can email comments or concerns about the library to Sharma said, “I’m very happy, but I’m going to wait for feedback. Again, this is something new.”

PHOTOS COURTESY of Nicole Calascibetta