Injecting Personality into a Library Website

While moving our website into WordPress, I came across a blog post about adding some personality into a website (I’ve unfortunately lost the link to it). So, I thought I’d find some small ways to do that with our site too.

I was recently reading as well about how successful GVSU Library has been with their construction updates using a twitter account by giving the building a persona.

404 Page

One of the most common ways that a site will show some personality is with its 404 page. One of my favourites is the Github 404. I thought maybe we could do something a little more amusing than the standard 404, so with the help of my partner, we came up with this:

404 Page with Dewey joke

Unfortunately, I got various complaints that the 404 page was confusing and didn’t make any sense (from staff, it was changed before the site went public). I knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t fly with making it public for our users because they wouldn’t get it, but I thought at least one staff member would get the joke.

I may have another stab at it with a simpler one, perhaps with just a headline, but that won’t be in at least a couple of months.

Custom Avatar

One of my thoughts for the blog was to have a custom default avatar that would be a picture of our university mascot or just a version of our library’s logo. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a plugin that worked on multisite that would allow me to set a custom avatar only for the main site (and not all the subsites).

Placeholder Text

I actually mentioned this in a previous post that I decided to have a little fun with placeholder text, but here it is again.

WP Comments Form Edited version 2

Eggy the Ram is the name of our university mascot. No one has actually noticed this since our blog hasn’t been moved. Thankfully, unlike the 404, the placeholder text here should have no chance of confusing people.


Another idea I recently thought of that might be fun is for students to get badges during orientation or even throughout their time in school for completing workshops or similar things. Instead of an in-house system, it could be done using something like Open Badges.

I’d be interested to see if other more formal institutions have done any of these or other things to add some ‘personality’ to their sites.

Ryerson Going Google with Google Apps: The Run Down

UPDATE: See my more recent blog post if you’re looking for my supplement materials (to the Ryerson Google site) on sync’ing Google Apps.

I attended a session to address concerns with privacy and security concerns in adopting Google apps at the university. Half of the session was actually a general how to protect your own information and your responsibilities as a user. I’ll focus more on the project itself than the second half since there’s a ton of resources about protecting your information already out there.

Google Apps

For the implementation, Sada Systems will be dealing with the actual implementation and migration. Roll out will be done in stages starting with the first four, and the rest will have to go through the evaluation process first.

  • mail
  • calendar
  • docs/drive
  • contact
  • chat
  • mobile
  • sites
  • app engine
  • plus
  • video


  • Faculty and students will have an opt-in option for mail.
  • Staff, however, will be migrated (i.e. not optional).
  • Everyone will be moved to calendar in order to be rid of Groupwise (yay!).
  • Everyone will still keep their so there is no change in the email address itself.

Timeline & Next Steps

In a nutshell, there is none, and that’s because the legal agreement hasn’t actually been signed yet.

Once it does get signed, then alpha testing will be done with the CCS group (central IT) and then beta testing with a larger community group. They’re still hoping for a fall rollout though.

Legal Concerns

Most privacy and security concerns revolved around lawful access and warrantless searches with storing data in the US. It was explained that basically, it doesn’t make a difference. Canada has similar legislation and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (with many countries) is a binding agreement to share information under lawful access or warrantless searches, which means the same thing will happen if your data is stored in any of the countries part of the agreement.

Privacy & Data Protection

To alleviate some concerns, the organizing group assured everyone that a Privacy Impact Assessment is done using the international standard, Privacy in Design and ensures that there are no breaches to:


  • all incoming mail goes through the university servers first
  • not opting in means that email stays on the university servers
  • opting in means the emails are then sent and stored on Google servers
  • students emails will not be visible in the global (internal?) address list
  • minimum identifying information (username, name) is used for authentication
  • drives/docs is private by default
  • calendars display only free/busy by default (as in Groupwise right now)

As I mentioned, in the second half of the presentation, we were all reminded that most email/information/data breaches are due to users, not email systems or hardware, and that email is not secure (although they’re looking into encryption for sensitive information). We got the usual spiel on our responsibilities not to include sensitive information in emails, having secure passwords, being careful of phishing, making sure websites use https, etc.

We’ll see how quickly they get things going, but I’m sure many staff will be happy to get rid of Groupwise (which likes to crash at least a couple of times a week and cancels shut down) at the very least.

For more updates, there is a dedicated blog for project updates.

TRY 2012: Library FAQ and Answers: Reimagining Email Reference


  • Judith Logan – Robarts Library, UTL
  • Michelle Spence – Engineering & Computer Science Library, UTL

The Basics

  • LibAnwers: User Knowledgebase FAQ database powered by SpringShare
  • Contact Information if question not answered


  • Designed to have one FAQ system per library, but too many libraries at UTL
  • 3 libraries grouped together: Gerstein, OISE, Robarts
  • launched Dec 2011


  • relied on Springshare’s training materials and FAQ


  • Questions come into system
  • => access & information staff member reads and answers questions
  • or assigns questions appropriate for other libraries/services
  • send on to specific library if needed

Guidelines and Best Practices

  • developed collaboratively
  • ensure questions get answered in a timely manner
  • ensure answers are up to date (each library check their questions)
  • tips for writing for the web
  • default settings/entering questions manually (private by default, so not in knowledgebase because frequently includes personal info)
  • applicable to all libraries (in most cases)

On Website

  • FAQ under Quick links
  • E-mail contact link now goes to submission form to cut down on spam
  • FAQ browse and search on Contact Us page
  • Library FAQs button under every Ask Us chat – widget includes tag cloud and contact info


  • Knowledge Base Explorer that tracks public and private questions
  • Query Spy tracks user interaction with the system
  • Custom analysis queries

Typical Month

  • 57% find an instant answer
  • 13.5% receive an answer within one business day
  • 30% do not find their answer (successive queries or outside scope of FAQ service)
  • unanswered usually using the wrong search: searching for staff, database, or research question


  • analyze query spy data further
  • integrate with other reference service vehicles
  • promote as a resource for staff
  • expand to suburban campuses and more St. George libraries
  • create workflow to maintain currency and accuracy of articles
  • enrich resources with multimedia (images & videos)

TRY 2012: Mobile Device Loans at the Library


  • Mandissa Arlain – RULA
  • Monique Flaccavento – OISE Library, UTL
  • Ricardo Laskaris – YorkU Libraries
  • Fangmin Wang – RULA
  • Jenaya Webb – OISE Library, UTL

Loaning Device

  • Laptops
  • iPads (with covers & cables) at OISE
  • York also provides many other gadgets & accessories
  • most 4 hour loans (York 1-4 days), restricted to university community


  • posters
  • social media: twitter, facebook, blog
  • LCD screens
  • website
  • branding of bags


  • iPad > laptop at OISE
  • 12.5% of circulation stats at Ryerson
  • laptops & iPads at York


  • sign waiver first time
  • replacement fee for losts
  • personal data cleared by deep freeze software once powered down
  • iPads cleared manually (~20 minutes each time) whenever returned
  • theft reported to security & IT
  • repairs sent to IT

Staffing Considerations

  • training sessions for staff including hands on experience
  • basic use and troubleshooting help
  • technical support & issues to IT
  • working group meeting to discuss issues
  • chargers with devices

Financial Support

  • education commons as pilot project at OISE
  • library itself & one-time funding from provost office to upgrade at Ryerson
  • library paid & some donations at York
  • apps purchased with gift card so as not to associate credit card #

Software & Apps Selection

  • laptop software same as what’s on desktop
  • productivity apps e.g. Dropbox
  • educational
  • preferred free, but some money to purchase apps

Age & Replacement Schedule

  • no formal refreshment cycle
  • mostly depends on budget, try to repair existing laptops
  • replacements determined by IT

User Feedback

  • informally, anecdotal
  • from student committee
  • studies planned for future: focus groups, survey

Future Directions

  • meeting demands, so unlikely to expand
  • no money to expand
  • future to encourage students to bring their own devices


Intota by Serials Solution

Last Friday, I visited YorkU to attend a vendor presentation on their development of a next generation ILS. One that has been built from the bottom up to be a next generation ILS. I’ve written up some of the notes I took, which will hopefully give people a general idea of what Intota is about. Continue reading “Intota by Serials Solution”

Code4lib Day 2: How People Search the Library from a Single Search Box

by Cory Lown, North Carolina State University

While there is only one search box, typically there are multiple tabs, which is especially true of academic libraries.

  • 73% of searches from the home page start from the default tab
  • which was actually opposite of usability tests

Home grown federated search includes:

  • catalog
  • articles
  • journals
  • databases
  • best bets (60 hand crafted links based on most frequent queries e.g. Web of Science)
  • spelling suggestions
  • loaded links
  • FAQs
  • smart subjects

Show top 3-4 results with link to full interface.

Search Stats

From Fall 2010 and Spring 2011, ~739k searches 655k click-throughs

By section:

  • 7.8% best bets (sounds very little, but actually a lot for 60 links)
  • 41.5% articles, 35.2% books and media, 5.5% journals, ~10% everything else
  • 23% looking for other things, e.g. library website
  • for articles: 70% first 3 results, other 30% see all results
  • trends of catalogue use is fairly stable, but articles peaks at the end of term

How to you make use of these results?

Top search terms are fairly stable over time. You can make the top queries work well for people (~37k) by using the best bets.

Single/default search signals that our search tools will just work.

It’s important to consider what the default search box doesn’t do, and doubly important to rescue people when they hit that point.

Dynamic results drive traffic. When putting few actual results, the use of the catalogue for books went up a lot compared to suggesting to use the catalogue.

Collecting Data

Custom log is being used right now by tracking searches (timestamp, action, query, referrer URL) and tracking click-throughs. An alternative might be to use Google Analytics.

For more, see the slides below or read the C&RL Article Preprint.

Code4lib Day 1: Seattle Public Library

We got a tour of the Seattle Public Library Central branch. It’s interesting that people still think of it as new because it’s been talked about a lot, especially in design classes, but it’s actually 8 years old now.

Warning: It’s 23 pictures so it may take a little time to load.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These pictures only got a rough edit. Proper edited versions will come later on my flickr account.

Code4lib Pre-Conference: Microsoft Research (MSR)

Future Technology

So the first half of the tour was the non-disclosure, confidential part but the group that I was part of basically got information on how Microsoft research trends and some of their results. We then got to play with some of the prototypes they have been working on, which is technology they see as coming into the market in 5-10 years. To get a general sense of what might have been included, take a look at the Future Productivity Vision video they released recently:

Microsoft Research (MSR) at Building 99

The research division focuses on core computer science research of fundamental aspects of computing. A lot of the products of their research include papers, patents, and prototypes. They supplement staff and resources with scholarly research by partnering with academia. The focus is mostly on applied projects.


  • to be released in March
  • working with Berkeley and a couple of other universities
  • prototype to help in research and teaching cross-discipline
  • no details beyond that as we were told to keep this one under wraps, but check out the link for more information


  • practical, functional-first programming language that allows you to write simple code to solve complex problems
  • in the .NET family, fully supported by Microsoft Visual Studio
  • multi-paradigm: can used different models, e.g. object-oriented
  • interoperable: doesn’t work in isolation, can use all of .NET framework

Simplicity: Functional Data

  • simple code, strongly typed
  • Example 1: let swap (x, y) = (y, x)  vs. (in C#) Tuple<U,T> Swap<T,U>(Tuple<T,U> t) { return new Tuple<U,T>(t.Item2, t.Item1) }
  • Example 2: let reduce f (x, y, z) = f x + f y + f z vs. (in C#) int Reduce<T>(Func<T,int> f,Tuple<T,T,T> t) { return f(t.Item1) + f(t.Item2) + f(t.Item3); }

Simplicity: Functions as Values

  • can define function inline
  • can define own units of measure, and enforce conversions


  • type Command = Command of (Rover -> unit)
  • let BreakCOmmand = Command(fun rover -> rover.Accelerate(-1.0))
  • let TurnLeftCommand = Command(fun rover -> rover.ROtate(-90.0<degs>))

Some Other Features

  • built-in run parallel and asynchronous
  • can use traditionally, compile and run OR interactively, execute on the fly
  • x |> f – apply f to x

There was more, but I honestly couldn’t copy that quickly and didn’t understand every detail, but if you’re interested you try F# through a browser which includes an interactive tutorial, or download it from tools and resources. To learn more about what people are doing with it, take a look at F# Snippets.

F# 3.0

While 2.0 excels at analytical programming, solving computationally complex problems, 3.0 is an accelerator for data-complex problems by bringing information to your fingertips.

Basically, you can load a database (through URI) and while you program, you can see a full list of all the data elements that are available.

For example, after defining a type by loading the netflix database, in typing “netflix.” you would at this point get a list of the fields (e.g. Movies) from the database


  • geoscience tool
  • can download and run for free
  • have the ability to bring a lot of time-sensitive data and use GPU to create visualization
  • talk to worldwidetelescope (WWT) through API
  • also has a custom ribbon plugin for excel to view in WWT for non-programmers
  • can also create custom tours including text and audio, which then exports into videos. Note: The data is included in the tour so that people can see the data – check out the Seismicity Samoa and Tohoku example video we saw (requires Silverlight)

Microsoft Audio Visual Indexing Service (MAVIS)

  • keyword search in audio/video files with speech
    • speech recognition technologies used to ‘crack’ audio files
  • Microsoft Research technology: world-level lattice indexing
    • 30-60% accuracy improvement over indexing automatic transcripts – right now, 80% of content, 85%+ accuracy
    • can provide closed caption which can also be edited later
    • index word alternatives – robust to recognizer errors
    • index timing – navigate to exact point in video and provides timeline of where the phrase is spoken
    • tune-able – queries from ‘give me something’ to ‘dig deeper to find it’
  • computer intensive speech recognition done in Azure
  • no need to invest in H/W infrastructure
  • front end user search integrated with SQL server
    • search infrastructure is the same as full text indexing in SQL
  • SOAP based API
    • allows integration of media search results in other applications e.g. text search
  • need at least 500 hours of transcribed data in order to train the program for other languages

MAVIS Architecture

Great for library and archives in order to pull content from digitized audio and video of formats becoming obsolete or degrading.

Microsoft Academic Search

  • free academic search engine
  • structure unstructured data
  • 38+ publications including non-public data
  • can search or browse by domain to see top authors, publications, journals, keywords, organizations
  • for recognized terms e.g. Bone Marrow can see term occurrence, definition context from full text indexes, top authors, conferences, journals, etc.
  • can search for person and see their publications, but then with disambiguation, and then a profile with list of publications, citations, visualization of coauthors, citers
  • can see organization profiles and how they compare to others including Venn diagram of publication keywords
  • can pull most of the visualizations and embed into a website
  • RSS feed for each element
  • full API also available and get results in JSON or XML via SOAP
  • site interface allows crowd sourcing to edit information e.g. if disambiguation of publications is wrong (though right now, only with Live account, working on OpenID)

This strikes me as Google Scholar but with more functions, visualizations, and linked data. Right now, not a lot has been indexed, but I can see this as a much better version of Google Scholar.

Being Green > Swag You’ll Probably Throw Away

Finally, at the end of the night, one of the staff presented on why he’s anti-swag, so instead of giving MS swag away, we got the opportunity to take home an epiphyte complete with care package. Unfortunately, I can’t take it home across the border so I found someone to adopt it.

Epiphyte complete with care package

UBC Education Library Redesign

This is another assignment, this time from Planning and Design class. Our assignment was essentially to redesign a space. I decided to do a minimal, practical redesign for the Education Library. Although I did send the library a copy, the project reflects my personal views and was not commissioned by UBC Library, etc. (insert usual disclaimer). Finally, please note that the letter introducing the report and appendices are only available in the full report (which if you want a copy/see, you’ll have to e-mail me) as it is a long enough post already without them and the appendices include some copyrighted photos.

If you find the report too long to read, check out the presentation design board that I made instead (or do both!):

Education Library Redesign on Prezi

Purpose & Goals

This report makes recommendations for changes to the University of British Columbia (UBC) Education Library in order to provide greater access and a better environment for its users. The proposal was encouraged by the demands and comments by various users. While users are primarily Faculty of Education students (undergraduate and graduate), users include any person who walks into the library including faculty, community users, and staff. While community users frequently include alumni and working professionals, recently, there has been an increase of families with children using the library, especially on weekends, and such usage is likely to continue to increase with the expansion of housing on and near the university campus.

The propositions and goals of the redesign are based on observations and interactions with users while taking into account the constraints on staff, budget, space, and technology. Some of the common requests and complaints include:

  • not enough computer workstations,
  • lack of express use station with Internet access,
  • lack of quiet study (that is actually quiet), and
  • confusing layout of materials.

Other recommendations are based on observations rather than direct comments from users. The goals of the redesign focus on making better use of the existing space and thus, recommendations are made to fulfill the following goals:

  • create defined spaces with a clear purpose to each space within the library,
  • increase navigation, access, and use by consolidating collections,
  • maximize the use of natural lighting, and
  • meet users’ needs.


Meeting users’ needs and providing for library users are core to the vision and mission of the library. Meeting the redesign goals will assist in moving the Education library towards fulfilling the goals of the library’s strategic plan, particularly in providing excellent access, service, and an open, inclusive environment. The redesign goals are beneficial to both library patrons and staff.

  • Creating defined spaces:
    • provides a clear purpose to a space,
    • decreases amount of noise in quiet study areas, and
    • delineates which areas noise is allowed versus quiet study.
  • Increasing navigation, access, and use by consolidating collections:
    • allow for better wayfinding and greater efficiency for both patrons and staff,
    • provide a more intuitive layout to the library,
    • decrease the number of directional questions, and
    • increase use and security of resources.
  • Maximizing the use of natural lighting:
    • contributes to aesthetic,
    • has positive psychological effects,1 and
    • instills the sense of an open environment.

Overall, library users’ satisfaction and library use should both increase.

Constraints & Solutions

The recommendations have been written based on current constraints, including:

  • lack of funding,
  • minimal staff resources,
  • technology determined by central library IT, and
  • use of the existing space.

To work around these restrictions, the recommendations are based on minimizing spending and contract or outsourcing by reusing furniture and equipment where possible (see Appendix A, Budget Summary), and employing the time of staff. As well, changes of higher priority are presented, while some aspects of the library work well and should not be changed, such as:

  • carpet, shelving, and other furniture are durable, mostly wood or neutral colours, and help to absorb sound,
  • lighting, which is bright and diffused, and
  • shades are already installed to control natural lighting for times when sunlight might be too glaring or hot.

Keeping interruptions to access and services for patrons was also an important consideration in creating the recommendations.

The Redesign

Defining Spaces

The library is primarily used by students (undergraduate and graduate) to work or study individually, work or study in groups, read, eat, and socialize. It is important for students and other users to know which areas are appropriate for which activities. However, the current layout of the library confuses readers as spaces are diffused and spread out. In particular, group study areas are next to or in the same space as quiet study areas, such as in the Course Reserve Area, which has study carrels next to the copiers, and the Lower Level Area, which has workstations in study carrels in the group study area (see original floor plans in Appendix B). Noise also becomes a major issue as the upper level is open to the lower level (see Appendix B Redesigned Upper Level), thus allowing sounds from the group study area on the lower level to disturb the quiet study on the upper level. The lack of defined spaces also causes problems for staff as they cannot take action if there are complaints about patrons that are, in fact, using the space appropriately.

In order to create defined spaces of which users can understand the purpose without needing signage, similar types of furniture should be used in a single area. The Lower Level Area should have all large tables removed with only study carrels (with or without computers). Similarly, the study carrels in the Course Reserve Area and Workstations area should be removed. To encourage group work in the Workstations Area, the reference collection should be moved to make more room for group tables, and the computers currently in carrels would be on long tables and spaced, allowing multiple people to work on a single computer (see Appendix B Redesigned Upper Level). To minimize the costs of new furniture, the existing furniture can simply be moved around (see Appendix A for details). While signage can be used to assist in the use of the spaces, the type of furniture and their layout would be enough to signal to users which areas are for quiet study and which areas are for group work.

Reading areas would likewise be defined by the use of reading chairs, but would be placed next to windows in order to maximize the use of natural lighting, such as in the Journals Stairway Area and the Lower Level CCBC Area. The one major change needed is to shift the CCBC collection away from the window to allow more space for the reading chairs to create a ‘cozier’ space (see Appendix B Redesigned Lower Level). The reading areas are also purposely kept near non-circulating collections that patrons may want to read while in the library.

Consolidating Collections

In addition to creating defined spaces, consolidating collections will assist in providing a more intuitive layout for better wayfinding, navigation, access, use, and efficiency. Mainly, patrons have difficulty finding new journal issues as the display is in the Course Reserves Area, and not clearly visible, while the rest of the journals are in the upper level stacks area. It is highly recommended to move the journal display next to the journal stacks area. Furthermore, the reference and historical collections should be moved to the Course Reserve Area for greater security (behind another security gate) as well as to have all the smaller collections in a single area (see Appendix B Floor Plans). With this setup, only the books, videos, journals, and CCBC collection will be outside of the Course Reserve Area, providing a simpler layout and possibly decreasing the number of directional questions.

Increasing Access

Further to defining space and consolidating collections, other changes can be made to increase access and use to the library, its collections, and resources. For example, one of the most common concerns patrons seem to have is the number of computer workstations for use, especially for the purposes of printing. Therefore, it is recommended that one of the standing height computers be changed to an express station for printing and quick use. As well, two additional computers can be added on the Lower Level for quiet work.

One way to increase access and better navigation is to improve flow of pedestrian traffic. For example, notices are currently taped on the security gate as well as put on signs in various places. If patrons stop to read the notices, the entrance and exit may be blocked. Thus, the purchase of an announcement board is highly recommended to be placed in the small niche area next to the security gates (see Appendix A and B for details). Similarly, a book display currently sits in the niche (where patrons are unlikely to want to stop to read), another book display is currently next to computers (preventing student use of the table space), and a third book display is in a trophy case (which makes the books inaccessible). Purchasing a new book display will not only allow greater accessibility to books, but will also enhance the use of the space and encourage patrons to stop and read (see Appendix A for details).

Some areas of the library are currently also underused, but the most likely reason is because they are cluttered with furniture. To increase use and access, unused furniture should be removed, such as the locker and shelving in the Journals Stairway Area, and the extra reading chairs in the Lower Level CCBC Area (see Appendix A and B for details). Staff should also make sure not to put portable furniture, such as book carts, in patron used areas. In particular, the Journals Stairway Area is rather narrow, and though optional, it is highly recommended to change the new issues display to a slat wall display for optimal space usage, and easy access (see Appendix A for details). Ideally, users will feel welcome and comfortable using any of the spaces for reading and studying.

Implementation – User Input & Assessment

When implementing any redesign, users should have input into the recommendations as the mission and vision of the library are focused on providing for and supporting users. Current recommendations have been made based on patron feedback, however, further user input should be gathered to ensure that the redesign is aligned with users’ priorities. Different methods can be used to collect data, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Considering the constraints on resources and time, surveys are recommended for easier scoring and taking up less staff time to facilitate.

Based on user input, recommendations can be added or changed to better address patrons’ needs and priorities. The study should include questions on access, use of resources, use of space, and navigation, such that a similar study can be conducted afterwards with some of the same questions to compare with pre-design answers to measure whether the goals of the project are achieved.

In addition, should the project prove to be successful, the assessment can be used as proof to administration and potential donors to the library to fund further improvements and a larger redesign project.

Possible Further Improvements

As the changes presented take current constraints into consideration, many possible further improvements are recommended in the longer term, particularly with more funding. While not an exhaustive list, possible further improvements include:

  • Purchase of new chairs that are more ergonomic with adjustable seat and height in a neutral colour, such as black, that match redesigned library branches (such as UBC Law Library) and do not distract patrons’ attention (which may be the case with the current strong colours of red and green) (see Appendix C).
  • Ensure computers, especially mice and keyboards, in the quiet study areas are near silent, and purchasing replacements if necessary (see Appendix C).
  • Paint cement walls to remove the ‘cement bunker’ feel.

Consultation will be needed for improvements that require more expert advice and analysis, such as:

  • improving temperature control,
  • minimizing noise from the stairway, and
  • improving the colour scheme.

Currently, the colour scheme uses the additive primary colours of red, green, and blue. However, design colour theory is based on the traditional red, yellow, blue subtractive primaries model.In addition, psychological primary colours suggest that red and green are antagonistic to each other and should not be used together as the human visual system does not respond well to both at the same time.3 As the library already uses a fair amount of neutral and wood colours, the existing blues can be added to with other blues to create a calm and comfortable mood.4 The resulting scheme, may look similar to the following:5
IndigoSilver Colour Scheme
Blue may also be a good choice as it is the UBC school colour. Nevertheless, the particular blues need to be carefully chosen as not to create a cold or depressing colour scheme.6

Future Outlook

Ultimately, the redesign and its goals are to assist the library in fulfilling its mission and vision. While there are many restrictions currently preventing a full redesign, many improvements can still be made to the Education Library with minimal investment. The success of the project should be measured through the use of assessment tools before and after changes, and if successful, the library can garner support from administration and donors to make further augmentations or a full redesign. The space is somewhat flexible and should be planned to accommodate changing and future user demographics and needs, particularly due to rapid growth in technology and campus housing, which may bring more families into the Education library. Thus, more planning should be completed in order to ensure alignment with the strategic plan in the years to come.

Works Cited Endnotes

Note (Sep 2018): All the links appear to be broken. The sites still work but lead to 404s.
1. Chase, C. & Hiltz, S. (2011). Lighting [Class handout]. LIBR 578, School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
2. Tuberman, L. (2008). Color theory.
3. Foster, M. (1897). A text book of physiology. California: Macmillan.
4. Chan, F. & Rocheleau, N. (2011). Colour theory [Class handout]. LIBR 578, School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
5. Indigosilver. (2011). Indigosilver2. ColorSchemer Gallery.
6. Tuberman, L. (2008). Color characteristics.

Reference Gone Mobile Notes – ALPS December Meeting

Presented by panelists Debra Flewelling (Douglas College), Nicole Gjertsen (Simon Fraser University) and Joyce Wong (Langara College).

  • 93% students use phone for texting

Phone Based Service

This is where a library buys a phone and plan and passes the phone from librarian to librarian (whomever is on duty).


  • cheap cost


  • no statistics
  • cumbersome
  • asynchronous means a student might reply hours later when another librarian has the phone

Might start with phone as beta service, but will usually move to software based.

Software Based Service

Users send texts, which are then turned into emails sent to librarians. The reply emails are sent back to students as texts. Different setup options are available, such as shared or dedicated numbers.


  • little or no change to workflow
  • automated message sent if unavailable
  • can do mass messaging campaigns
  • courtesy notice option


  • more expensive

Upside Wireless

  • somewhat of a monopoly in Canada
  • can share number or shortcut but needs – user needs to precede text with a specific word (e.g. Douglas or Langara)
  • dedicated line – more expensive, but more messages and dedicated

Some Statistics


dedicated phone and staff

  • 50% facilities/how/where
  • 22% ref/citation
  • rest known item/technology


recently extended hours
auto response with askaway or desk’s phone number if closed

  • 20% directional
  • 50% known item
  • 30% ref
  • 8am-6pm typically
  • few questions on weekends, but open
  • ~10 mins response time
  • ref questions usually referred to subject/liaison librarian


  • must be careful of message size limit
  • should have quick turnaround time
  • may point to where can find answer instead of give answer
  • best practices and guidelines including local polices
  • need to work out workflow
  • might bring in other staff to answer non-reference questions


  • keyword campaign – users text keyword to number to enter prize draw
  • posters and banners
  • tabletop mini-posters
  • social media of institution
  • website, especially mobile site
  • powerpoint slide for liaison libraries to add to their presentations
  • article or ads in student paper
  • QR codes
  • word of mouth

Can ask students where they found out about the service.