Monday, October 15, 2007

Midterm madness

Today marks the seventh week of classes for the fall term; the unofficial half way point when angst is high amongst most every student regardless of major. In preparation of this momentous occasion, one that comes each and every blessed term, last week every computer in the library and resource center was in use from midweek forward. Not only were they in use, but it was work (not play) observed at each terminal and work station. Midterm exams, midterm papers, midterm presentations, and midterm assignments were - and are - due as the deadline for midterm grades approaches, Wednesday at four o'clock pm. My students had a deadline extension from 6:00 pm to noon tomorrow, at which time they are to have 40% of their assignments completed successfully for the term, key word being successfully. Time will tell if the final mad rush was worth their effort when I go through portfolios tomorrow and prepare to submit midterm grades.

This post could also be titled "What not to do" when starting discussion about library web page redesign. Ever since I finished with the resource center web page, the clock has been ticking regarding opening sessions about the main library web page. Last week, a librarian faculty meeting was the first mention of this project and it's time table. Discussion will ensue from now until the end of this term. I will work on the design at the beginning of winter term and spend the entire spring term creating the new pages. A tentative deadline for completion will allow the new page to debut over summer, providing time for "tweaking" and ridding the page of problems before the new fall term.

Each librarian was charged with finding examples of three or four academic library web pages that contained design elements they found useful and visually appealing. I have already put together a web page for our project housed on the new resource center web site that will keep a record of our discussion, include links to all pages selected for viewing, and contain web design elements that I feel are important each librarian view. It is important to me that everyone understand the nuts and bolts before moving along with the project. The deadline for web page examples was noon today. Unfortunately, only two of the seven other librarians actually took the time to participate in the exercise. I am a bit disappointed and ask the director to send out reminders today. Our meeting time for this week has moved and tomorrow I plan to send out nudging emails to the four librarians in question urging them to add their vision at this particular phase of the design. Every viewpoint is necessary. The longer I look at web page examples, the more they begin to look the same. Having a fresh eye is key to gaining better perspective on where we want to go from here.

The more I compare our old library web page to the new resource center web page, the more I want to have this project completed. While there is nothing wrong with the existing page, there is room for improvement. Quite honestly, even with the new resource center web page there are many, many things I could do better. Wednesday is our next meeting. It's time. I'm going to need a boatload of chocolate.

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