Which library has the best web page?


nbruce writes "I go crazy looking at library web pages. The number one mistake, in my opinion, is believing everyone knows where it is--state, city, street. The second is overwhelming ugliness, and third is a layout that looks like a committee of 3rd graders designed it.

I like handsome and readable--like Syracuse University Library. There is a web-site that tells all you need to know at a glance with easy clicks to the details.

I won't even comment on Ohio State, and just hope Blake didn't design it!"

Let's just say Blake had a part in the design-by-committee, but he still rather likes it.


Maybe I'm just a nerd, and a nerd with slow as molasses dial up at that, but I really enjoy sites with minimal graphics. And nice, subdued colors. Unlike our (cough) iPac at work. I guess I'm a minimalist at heart.

I think the big thing to remember when comparing library web sites is a big thing to remember to when comparing libraries... Funding and staff and audience are different. Our webmaster (not me, thank god) is not professionally trained in HTML. She does what she can, and she does all right with it. We can't compete with the BPL, or NYPL, even though, technically, we're all public libraries. And in the case of the BPL, serving a similar population.

That being said, you do expect certain things from a website as you do from a library. Easy to find links are akin to good shelving and cataloging. A clean design is akin to well lit stacks. Friendly interface is akin to smiling (or at least breathing) staff.

I don't think those table-based layouts work very well with screen readers. Personally I feel the Syracuse page has too many options and the catalog search box is hidden way over on the left. I think that you'll find that, like collections, library web pages are opinion pieces that appeal to some more than others.

I agree about addresses of libraries on webpages. College libraries are especially guilty of not including them. It seems many web designers are unaware that many pages are accessed via search engine results and not by someone drilling down from an institution's homepage or parent institution. All webpages at Morrisville State College Library have the address at the bottom.

Morrisville State College Library

I've tried all the options at Syracuse, then checked University of Illinois and Iowa to compare. Syracuse hands down. The pull downs are easy to use; the guides to subjects introduce the librarian; the photos are of library buildings, stacks, study areas, etc. NOT people gazing at computer screens. Great library tour. After exploring the site, I have the sense I've been to a library. It's a quality site.

I'm a left brain person who leans right. I like professionally designed, attractive, intelligent sites that DON'T have cartoons, cariacatures, school colors, things that wiggle, weird fonts and dead ends.

If you have one to recommend as a model, go for it.

I think libraries have not caught up with rest of the world in professional webpage design. They are still obsessed with outmoded standards such as MARC and AACR2, which is primarily text-based and not multimedia nor multilingual, and not enough attention is paid to webpage design, HTML, etc. However, a good webpage does not compensate for bad content. So why not strive for good webpage design and good content? When is a library system going to deal with multimedia and multi-languages, simultaneously??

You are mixing apples and oranges here. The Library Mnagement System is not necessarily the library webpages. Good webpage design has nothing to do eith MARC or AACR2, so why mention them?

I may be mixing green apples and red apples, but they are apples all the same. A database is a database. But the library webpage feeds off the data that is created in the library system using MARC and AACR2 which is archaic and deficient, to say the least. Mr Roy Tennant's articles in the Library Journal prove this point well. Because the data structure and design that is based on MARC and AACR2 is flawed, the data that is reflected in its webpage is flawed also, no matter how cosmetically pretty the webpage might look. Why is it so difficult for the library industry to admit that MARC and AACR2 is now archaic, deficient, and flawed, even though in the 1960's to the 1980's it may have had its usefulness, and adopt/adapt and customise (not replaced by) new technologies for library's use and benefit? The industry is largely in denial of this fact. It's like comparing typewriters to Microsoft Word. What business/organisation still uses typewriters today?

I thank you for hopefully starting a trend to put physical addresses on library web pages.I often have to send letters to other libraries when their users have fines or overdue library books from our library and I can't tell you how frustrating it is to try and find a name and an address to send the letter to. I cannot send these letters via e-mail and at times it's tough to contact libraries using the information their webpages provide (or don't provide as the case may be).

I'm going to brag about ours. Check it out at

You can check out various versions at .org/main/holidays/

I like to think of it as community friendly. But any and all criticism welcome

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