New databases for November

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the A-Z list of Resources, as well as those for which the title, vendor, or platform has changed, from November 1-30. You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject guides. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month. You can also find a list of the newest resources, and those for which a trial is underway, at http://libraries.indiana.edu/electronic-resources-trials-and-new-additions.

Arte Público Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 2 (formerly Latino-Hispanic American Experience: Leaders, Writers, and Thinkers)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/arte-publico-hispanic-historical-collection-series-2

Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Statistics (BOP/IIP) (formerly Balance of Payment Statistics)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/balance-payments-and-international-investment-position-statistics-bopiip

Dictionary of Old English: A-H (formerly Dictionary of Old English: A to G Online)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/dictionary-old-english-h

Donetsk and Luhansk Newspaper Collection
https://libraries.indiana.edu/donetsk-and-luhansk-newspaper-collection

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 (formerly Evans Digital Edition)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/early-american-imprints-series-i-evans-1639-1800

European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750 (formerly European Views of the Americas)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/european-views-americas-1493-1750

IMF Data (formerly IMF eLibrary Data)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/imf-data

MagillOnLiterature Plus (formerly Magill on Literature)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/magillonliterature-plus

Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 (formerly U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/making-modern-law-us-supreme-court-records-and-briefs-1832-1978

Music Magazine Archive
https://libraries.indiana.edu/music-magazine-archive

SNL Unlimited
https://libraries.indiana.edu/snl-unlimited

Universal Database of Baltics, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine (formerly Universal Database of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Baltics)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/universal-database-baltics-belarus-moldova-ukraine

Universal Database of Russian Library and Information Sciences (formerly Universal Database of Library and Information Sciences (UDB-LIB))
https://libraries.indiana.edu/universal-database-russian-library-and-information-sciences

Universal Database of Russian Social Sciences & Humanities (formerly Universal Database of Social Sciences & Humanities)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/universal-database-russian-social-sciences-humanities

World Bank Open Data (formerly Global Development Finance)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/world-bank-open-data

World of Children – Artek Pioneer Camp Archives, 1944-1967 Online (formerly World of Children in the USSR)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/world-children-artek-pioneer-camp-archives-1944-1967-online

Updates to E-Journal Portal & IU-Link

Earlier this week, we released an update for our Serials Solutions E-Journal Portal and IU-Link services. In addition to refreshing and rebranding the interface to reflect updated IU brand standards & the library website design, you’ll notice that both these platforms are now responsive and mobile friendly.

New look for E-Journal Portal home, showing Medical Subject browse options.

Other improvements include:

  • Search by DOI/PubMed ID
  • Journal browse now includes Medical Subjects
  • Results listings note peer-reviewed and open access titles, include cover images (where available)
E-Journal Portal Results Screen showing peer-review designator.
E-Journal Portal Results Screen showing peer-review designator.

The IU-Link citation pages share the newly updated header and footer.

IU-Link: Citation page, full text not found
IU-Link: Citation page when full-text not found

You can check out the changes via our Online Full Text Journals page, linked from the Libraries’ home page and elsewhere.

Many thanks to the team that made this possible: Lori Duggan, Ruth Light, Rachael Cohen, Matt Fitzwater and Anne Haines.

Oops, We Did It Again: Enduring Web Design Mistakes from NN/g

Recently the Nielsen/Norman Group (NN/g) posted a piece on Top Ten Enduring Web-Design Mistakes. They’ve been identifying top mistakes in web design since 1996. This year’s report finds many of the same problems that have been persistent over time.

original image linked via URL
dribbble.com | 404 Page Not Found | Pinterest: Ducan Nguyen (link to original by clicking on image)

I’ve picked a few from the list to highlight in brief, but I recommend you take a few minutes & have a look at the full article. What’s interesting to me is that although this is a list about design problems, at its most basic level it’s a list of content problems: where is the content, what words do we use for labels, repetitive content, siloed content, circuitious content.

  • Unexpected Locations for Content

    “When the site structure doesn’t match the users’ mental models of how information should be organized, people are unable to locate what they need.”
    I think libraries have been having this conversation on and off for some time. Where does it make sense for us to integrate search or design elements that are commonly experienced in the commercial web? If we can’t, or don’t feel we should, how do we build bridges and provide the necessary information and context?

  • Competing Links and Categories

    “When users can’t clearly distinguish between similar navigational categories or links, they struggle to find the right path to content… If multiple sections or pages could address a specific information need, users must explore each or make their best guess.”
    This is why Anne & I send so many polite little notes about small tweaks we’ve made to page titles, and why we encourage you to search within our own site as you are creating new content to see what content already exists & to be able to write unique and informational page/news/event titles.

  • Islands of Information

    “Some sites offer small bits of information scattered around the site, with little or no connection between them. When users find one such island of information without links to other related information, they have no reason to think that another area of the site offers supplementary material… Consider why information is scattered throughout the site, consolidate it as appropriate, and pick the best spot for it.”
    We’ve made great strides toward this kind of positive consolidation since we migrated to Drupal in 2014 – we migrated approximately 8500 pages and right now we have about 900 basic pages (plus resources, news/exhibits/events items, subject posts, user profile pages, etc). Across all our content types I estimate that we have approximately 2500 ‘objects’ right now, so that means we’ve made good progress toward pruning and updating our site.

  • Repetitive Links

    “Even if users can determine the right site location for their information needs, they can still be stymied by unexpected or lengthy workflows. Users should get closer to the information goal as they click through pages. Teams sometimes build pages in isolation and do not consider the route to the content they’ve created.”
    The example used in the article was of the NYC.gov site: “Users were frustrated when they selected a link labeled Find a Firehouse only to have to select the differently spelled Find a fire house link on the next page.” Oof. Yes, we do this too, and we are ever on the lookout for this sort of thing. And let’s not even talk about how many clicks it can take to finally get to the full text.

That’s it for now, folks! TGIF and all that stuff. Until next time …

New databases for October

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the A-Z list of Resources, as well as those for which the title, vendor, or platform has changed, from October 3-31. You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject guides. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month. You can also find a list of the newest resources, and those for which a trial is underway, at http://libraries.indiana.edu/electronic-resources-trials-and-new-additions.

African American Newspapers (formerly African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/african-american-newspapers

African History and Culture Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia (1540-1921)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/african-history-and-culture-1540-1921-imprints-library-company-philadelphia

Ageline (formerly AARP Ageline)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/ageline

American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1940-1996
https://libraries.indiana.edu/american-race-relations-global-perspectives-1940-1996

Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996
https://libraries.indiana.edu/apartheid-global-perspectives-1946-1996

Black Authors, Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia (1556-1922)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/black-authors-1556-1922-imprints-library-company-philadelphia

Black Short Fiction and Folklore: African, African American, and Diaspora (formerly Black Short Fiction)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/black-short-fiction-and-folklore-african-african-american-and-diaspora

Business Source Complete (formerly Business Source Premier)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/business-source-complete

Caribbean History and Culture, Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia (1535-1920)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/caribbean-history-and-culture-1535-1920-imprints-library-company-philadelphia

Census.gov
https://libraries.indiana.edu/censusgov

Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991
https://libraries.indiana.edu/cold-war-global-perspectives-east-west-tensions-1945-1991

Consumer Health Complete
https://libraries.indiana.edu/consumer-health-complete

Dance Online: Dance in Video, Volume I (Formerly Dance in Video, Volume I)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/dance-online-dance-video-volume-I

Entrepreneurial Studies Source
https://libraries.indiana.edu/entrepreneurial-studies-source

Fuente Académica Premier
https://libraries.indiana.edu/fuente-academica-premier

History Reference Center
https://libraries.indiana.edu/history-reference-center

Hoosier State Chronicles
https://libraries.indiana.edu/hoosier-state-chronicles

Humanities Full Text
https://libraries.indiana.edu/humanities-full-text

Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1940-1996
https://libraries.indiana.edu/immigrations-migrations-and-refugees-global-perspectives-1940-1996

Indiana Memory
https://libraries.indiana.edu/indiana-memory

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full Text
https://libraries.indiana.edu/international-bibliography-theatre-and-dance-full-text

LandScan Global, 2015
https://libraries.indiana.edu/landscan-global-2015

Literary Reference Center Plus
https://libraries.indiana.edu/literary-reference-center-plus

Literature and Culture Collection (formerly 19th-Century Literature and Culture Collection)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/literature-and-culture-collection

McClatchy-Tribune Collection
https://libraries.indiana.edu/mcclatchy-tribune-collection

MEDLINE with Full Text (EBSCO) (formerly Medline (EBSCO))
https://libraries.indiana.edu/medline-full-text-ebsco

Middle East and North Africa: Global Perspectives, 1957-1995
https://libraries.indiana.edu/middle-east-and-north-africa-global-perspectives-1957-1995

Music Online: Opera in Video (formerly Opera in Video)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/music-online-opera-video

Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries (formerly Smithsonian Global Sound)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/music-online-smithsonian-global-sound-libraries

Music Online: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (formerly The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/music-online-garland-encyclopedia-world-music

Newspaper Source Plus (formerly Newspaper Source)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/newspaper-source-plus

Newswires
https://libraries.indiana.edu/newswires

Points of View Reference Center
https://libraries.indiana.edu/points-view-reference-center

Science Reference Center
https://libraries.indiana.edu/science-reference-center

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law
https://libraries.indiana.edu/slavery-america-and-world-history-culture-law

Small Business Reference Center
https://libraries.indiana.edu/small-business-reference-center

Television News Archive (formerly Television News Archive Indexes)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/television-news-archive

Vente et Gestion
https://libraries.indiana.edu/vente-et-gestion

Virtual Reality on a Dime

Photo of a Google Cardboard viewer
“Assembled Google Cardboard VR mount” by othree – Google Cardboard

Google’s virtual reality efforts are getting a lot of press these days, so what’s all the commotion? For the past two years, Cardboard has been the flagship of Google VR. If you’re new to the world of virtual reality, Google Cardboard is essentially housing made of cardboard that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer. Similar products include Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR, but they come with a hefty price tag. A Cardboard viewer, on the other hand, will run you about $20 or less; Google even provides the blueprints if you want to create your own from scratch.

Photo of a girl looking through a View-Master
“Black-Ta” image from Flickr user Steven River

If you’re still scratching your head, think back to the good ‘ole View-Master. With Cardboard, you’re also looking at images through a viewer, but the experience is more interactive. Instead of viewing stagnant images, you can watch 360-degree videos that respond to your movements. For instance, in Bjork’s 360-degree music video, you’ll see Bjork standing on a beach in front of you, but you can also look up at the sky, down at the sand, even behind you. Pretty impressive stuff, eh?

Unfortunately, creating a 360-degree video isn’t quite as affordable as viewing one. GoPro has a VR camera rig called Jump that can be yours for the low low price of $15,000. That said, you can create your own 360-degree still images for free with the Google Street View app! In Google terms, these images are called “photo spheres”, or a series of images stitched together to recreate a 360-degree experience. I took one of my office and the process was incredibly simple; the app prompts you to move your phone around as you take photos to capture your whole environment. The final product isn’t 100% seamless, but the price is right and sharing is remarkably easy. If you’re eager to try out Google Cardboard, check out the #360Video YouTube channel. Even without the viewer, this will give you an idea of what we mean when we say virtual reality.

In addition to Cardboard, Google recently announced a new virtual reality viewer platform called Daydream, set for release this November. Daydream is considered an upgrade to the existing Google Cardboard viewer at more than double the price ($80). If you’re curious about VR, Cardboard remains an excellent choice for beginners. Daydream may be the latest model, but it’s unlikely to rival the simplicity, DIY quality, and accessibility of Cardboard.

If you’re interested in emerging technologies and digital creativity, join us on Mondays this semester at the IQ-Wall for Maker Mondays workshops, presented as part of the Scholars’ Commons Workshop Series – yet to be covered are stop-motion animation, internet of things and logo design:

Maker Mondays series event information

You might also want to check out upcoming events in the Digital Tools and Visualization Methods for Humanists series, which will be covering a variety of topics from 3D Scanning and Printing to IQ-Tables to much more.

New databases for September

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the A-Z list of Resources, as well as those for which the title, vendor, or platform has changed, from September 1-30. You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject guides. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month. You can also find a list of the newest resources, and those for which a trial is underway, at http://libraries.indiana.edu/electronic-resources-trials-and-new-additions.

AM Explorer
https://libraries.indiana.edu/am-explorer

Law and Society Since the Civil War
https://libraries.indiana.edu/law-and-society-civil-war

Literary Manuscripts: Berg Collection (formerly Literary Manuscripts)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/literary-manuscripts-berg-collection

Literary Manuscripts: University of Leeds
https://libraries.indiana.edu/literary-manuscripts-university-leeds

Medieval Family Life
https://libraries.indiana.edu/medieval-family-life

Nutrition Care Manual
https://libraries.indiana.edu/nutrition-care-manual

Perdita Manuscripts
https://libraries.indiana.edu/perdita-manuscripts

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text (formerly RILM Abstracts of Music Literature)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/rilm-abstracts-music-literature-full-text

RILM Music Encyclopedias
https://libraries.indiana.edu/rilm-music-encyclopedias

S&P Global NetAdvantage (formerly Standard & Poor’s Netadvantage)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/sp-global-netadvantage

WGSN Fashion
https://libraries.indiana.edu/wgsn-fashion

Worth Your Time: Harper Reed’s StatewideIT Keynote

Last week I was happy to have the opportunity to take in this energetic, insightful keynote by Harper Reed, currently Senior Director of Software Development at PayPal and sometime CTO for Obama for America and Threadless.com (best T-Shirts ever!). It’s MSFW (mostly-safe-for-work)  [F-bomb alert], but hey! our CIO invited him so I think IU employees at least are A-OK.

Enjoy this talk on Big Data, Product Design, UX & Being Only A Little Creepy. I’m pretty confident the hour will zip by.

Curious? More on IU StatewideIT Conference

DUX BÜX, or – Every Book Club Needs an Umlaut

We all have goals. Write that book, run that marathon, build a better mousetrap … start a book club with an umlaut in the title.

Actually, it didn’t have to be a book club. I just LOVE umlauts, and some tiny part of me has been waiting for the chance to shoehorn one into some professional endeavor for years. Lucky you, that time has come!

We’re starting a book club, and we’re calling it DUX BÜX (ahem, that’s ducks boooks, please say it with feeling). We hope you’ll join us. Below, find the brief blurb we’ve shared in our staff newsletter.

I think you’ll really enjoy this book –  I know we have. It’s pithy, it’s useful, and, let’s be honest: it has gigantic type and lots of pictures. So there’s no excuse for not showing up having read the first chapter next week.

User experience (UX) encompasses everything related to how people experience the library: how easy it is (or isn’t) to find what you need on the website, signage, customer service, how books are shelved, you name it. Let’s talk about this! To encourage discussion of UX issues throughout the Libraries, DUX is starting a book club, open to all librarians and staff.

Our first book will be How To Make Sense of Any Mess by Abby Covert – freely available online and relatively inexpensive to purchase in print format. (We’ll also have a ‘reserve’ copy – ask us directly at our usual email) This highly readable book will help you understand the field of information architecture, and how to clean up just about any kind of “mess”– whether it’s a hopeless file drawer, a cluttered kitchen, a terrifying tenure dossier, or a website.

Join us monthly for a lively discussion. You bring thoughts and questions, we’ll bring snacks! All meetings are from 12-1p.

September 27th: Chapter 1
October 18th: Chapters 2 & 3
November 15th: Chapters 4 & 5
December 6th: Chapters 6 & 7

Speaking of books, which as a librarian is an occupational hazard, if you’re interested in user experience, think you might be, or just want to look like you are, these two recommended reading lists from UXBooth are chock full of great content.

See you next week!

Microcopy Matters!

Can one word change user experience on your website, for better or worse? YES. Think about the labels you experience on websites – and in the non-web world – every day. Most of them are just a word or two, and yet you rely on those words to give you confidence that you know what is going to happen if you take a particular action.

A real world example that has been bugging me for years: The gas station closest to my house has instructions on the gas pumps. After you swipe your credit card, it says to “push start.” THERE IS NO “START.” NOWHERE is there anything that says “START.” There is, however, a button that says “PUSH.” Sure, I can figure out that I’m supposed to push that button, but why on earth not use the word that actually matches up to what you’re looking for? What if someone who isn’t fluent in English tries to use the gas pump? Or, for that matter, a nit-picky word-nerd? Insert “banging head against wall” emoji here. (The more you learn about UX, the more stuff like this drives you crazy… it ain’t pretty, folks.) A good rule of thumb, by the way, is to use a label that relates to “what’s going to happen if you take this action” as opposed to “the method by which you take the action” – “submit request” is a much better label for a button on your website than “click.” (If your user is submitting a request, that is.)

Windows 95 "Start" menu including "Shut Down" option
Just try explaining this to my mom.

And speaking of “start,” did anyone else attempt to do tech support for less computer-literate coworkers or relatives in the days of Windows 95? “Okay, now to shut down your computer, click the Start button.” WHO COMES UP WITH THIS? THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE! “To stop the thing, click on the thing that starts the thing.” WHAT. And then, when Microsoft did away with the “Start” label and just offered a round buttony thing that does all the things, everyone still called it a “start button” and then they complained when it went away in later versions of Windows – but that’s another story.

On a more local note, a few years ago our department did a little bit of lightweight user testing on some website labels we were considering. We were about to roll out new-and-improved subject pages that would include lists of databases, and we were trying to decide what to call a short list of databases that were the most generally useful within a subject. Start here? Best bets? Core databases? Research starters? Be like Google and call it “I’m feeling lucky”?

I personally thought “best bets” would be a great label. Short, snappy, suggests that you might want to try these first if you’re floundering, without necessarily tying them to a particular point within the research process (you might also find them useful when you’re in the middle of things). Boy, was I wrong. Thank goodness our user testing involved asking some international students, because “best bets” was all but meaningless to many of them. Idiom, people! Plus, who wants to be gambling if they’re using a library website, anyway? (We ended up using “Start here.”)

On a slight tangent: What even is a “database”? What do you call those things? Subscription electronic resources? Library research tools? I’ve heard students call them “specialized search engines” which is technically not accurate, but understanding how our users think about things helps us use friendlier language sometimes. The same brief user interviews that saved us from “best bets” told us that the word “resources,” within the context of a library website, more or less made sense to people. I’ve never been confident that any label we can come up with for those things will make sense to everyone… but you gotta use something. (If you work on a library website, and you’ve come up with a great label that works well for your users, let me know, eh?)

And don’t get me started on “Useful Links.” The day I retire, I’m gonna go through and change all those labels to “Useless Clicky Things,” which is just about as meaningful.   …Okay, I’m not. But I’m sure gonna think about it.

More recently, as we were about to go live with a totally redesigned search box that was much more prominent on the Libraries’ home page, we had a long conversation about how to label it. We wanted something welcoming, something that would put the search box in context so you feel like you know how to use it. We thought about “What are you searching for in the library?” Well, there’s a saying that “only librarians like to search – everyone else wants to FIND.” (You know it’s true!) And we didn’t want to set a tone of “you’re going to be searching… and searching… and searching.” Eventually, and after some discussion of the relative merits of “what do you want to find” versus “what would you like to find,” we went with “What would you like to find at the library today?” And we also put “Search…” in the box for those who might be looking for that particular word out of habit.

Search box on the Libraries' website

Which brings me to a fascinating article I just read. The very smart folks who run the GOV.UK website found that pages with buttons labeled “Start now” often ended up with users going around in circles rather than clicking the “start now” button. They observed this behavior in the lab when running tests, and then reviewed usage stats to find out whether the same thing happened “in the wild.” It did, so they set about testing different labeling options, using A/B testing to weigh several options and see which performed best. You can read about their testing methods, and the results they ended up with, in “A/Bsolutely fabulous testing” on the “Inside GOV.UK” blog.

There are so many other examples of this kind of thing. Have you ever seen a confirmation dialog box pop up and been completely uncertain about which option you actually want? (“Do you really want to cancel?” with your choices being “YES” and “CANCEL” is a sad but true example.) Beth Aitman, who’s also in the UK – those wonderful UK word-nerds! – wrote a great article about how to write a confirmation dialog.

This stuff – tiny little bits of text that make a big difference – is called “microcopy.” And it matters. It’s more than just labels and buttons; think about link text – what people click on to go somewhere else. Do they know where they’re going? Does the link make sense to them? What about somebody using a screen reader to access your page – do things make sense to them? Iain Broome (another Brit, it appears!) has a fantastic piece on “How to write good hyperlinks” which I highly, highly recommend. In fact, Broome’s article will help you think through the process of writing other things on the web, not just hyperlinks – that is, if you want to write things that are accessible and understandable to your users. I hope you do.

So yes, I may sometimes spend twenty minutes deciding on the absolute best word for a particular purpose. And I may fuss at you more than you may think is warranted if you have a link that says “click here” on your web page. But this stuff matters. Microcopy is the difference between “Please come in; we’re so happy to see you!” versus “This is a door.” Choosing the right words for your website, especially in places that are crucial decision points for your users, can be the difference between “this sucks!” and “success!”

New databases for August

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the A-Z list of Resources, as well as those for which the title, vendor, or platform has changed, from August 1-31. You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject guides. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month. You can also find a list of the newest resources, and those for which a trial is underway, at http://libraries.indiana.edu/electronic-resources-trials-and-new-additions.

British Library Newspapers (formerly British Newspapers 1600-1900)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/british-library-newspapers

Mergent Intellect (formerly Hoover’s)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/mergent-intellect

Product Launch Analytics
https://libraries.indiana.edu/product-launch-analytics