I have demonstrated competency in the 2nd ALA Core Competency – Information Resources through my coursework in LIS 238: Web Design for Libraries and Information Centers. This course served as an introduction to the design of websites for large institutions and focused on the design of a website’s overall information architecture. These architectural concepts included organization of content, labeling, navigation, and search systems (Vorbach, 2015). The final product promoted the management, maintenance, and preservation of information thus preserving the lifecycle of recorded knowledge.
Web Design for Libraries and Information Centers not only trained me to critique the information architecture of organizational websites but it also taught me how technology could be used to maintain physical collections leading to their preservation and conservation. The final project for this course was a group effort achieved by myself and three other classmates, Toni Liberty, Alexandra Mercado, & Sarah Miller. We were assigned to the Richard Niles-Charles Busch Papers collection at Marymount Manhattan College. Because Alexandra Mercado & Sarah Miller were distance learners it was up to Toni and I to meet with Dr. Mary Brown, Marymount’s head archivist, and understand her wants and needs for this final project. After several client meetings we were able to determine how we would approach this project. Dr. Brown’s main objective was to promote the physical collection. Exposing the collection online would promote its physical use and this could be achieved by a visually striking and easy to use website.
Though my team members certainly played a part in gathering information as well as participating in writing our final paper, I assumed full responsibility for the design, implementation, and completion of the final site. I took over this responsibility because this is where my strengths lie. I understand the principles for building usable and accessible websites and through exploring technology trends related to information seeking and/or information exchange over the Internet I was able to create something that not only promoted the use of the physical collection but also worked really well as a stand alone site. While I gained proficiency in WordPress I was also able to identify its many limitations. However, by analyzing existing sites, constructing a proposal that included a conceptual blueprint as well as a wireframe, I was able to propose architectural strategies that solved the problems identified. While we weren’t able to digitize every item of this collection due to time constraints, I still made it a point to make sure that any visitor to this site knew exactly where the items on the site physically came from. By utilizing the “blog posts” option within WordPress I was able to separate each box from this collection therefore allowing related boxes and/or similar boxes from the same collection to be displayed on the same page. The use of categories and tags ensured that the site will come up as a result when searched therefore promoting the collection even further.
Working with the Niles-Busch Papers collection at Marymount Manhattan College gave me invaluable insight into how an academic institution manages its various collections. By learning what the collection was about and who the main target audience was I was able to understand the relationship between users’ needs and their information seeking behaviors.
While this was not my first group project, it was the first project in which I had members in my team who I would not be able to meet in person. Initially I thought this would be a challenge, however through the use of several applications, including Google Docs and Google Sheets, my team members and I were able to correspond effectively resulting in an impressive final paper and its corresponding site. Regular communication allowed us to determine what our strengths were, divvy up the responsibilities for the project, and execute the final assignment in a way that was low stress as well as beneficial for all involved. The experience with this course has taught me how to deal with similar situations both professionally and academically.
Vorbach, J. (2015). Course syllabus LIS 238 web design for libraries and information centers spring 2015 [Course handout]. Division of Library and Information Science, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.