Why you should judge a book by its cover

Everyone knows the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. In his two Ted Talks, book designer Chip Kidd, the associate art director at Knopf, gives us a compelling reason to do so. These talks will make you think, make you laugh, make you want to read, and finally will make you look at all design in an entirely different light.

In the 2012 talk titled Designing books is no laughing matter. Okay, it is, Kidd describes the thought process that goes into creating book covers. He focuses on the importance of imagery, first impressions, and how book cover design influences the way you as the reader will perceive the story.

With his 2015 talk The art of first impressions — in design and life, Kidd gives the listeners an important lesson. That first impressions matter and our design choices (even the ones most of us never even think to notice) have an impact on how we see the world around us. He shows us how good design can grab your attention and the wrong design can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

New databases for May

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 May 1-31, 2017. 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.

Cuban Culture and Cultural Relations, 1959-
https://libraries.indiana.edu/cuban-culture-and-cultural-relations-1959

D&B Business Browser (formerly OneSource)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/db-business-browser

Education Research Complete
https://libraries.indiana.edu/education-research-complete

Educational Administration Abstracts
https://libraries.indiana.edu/educational-administration-abstracts

Fashion Photography Archive
https://libraries.indiana.edu/fashion-photography-archive

MGG Online
https://libraries.indiana.edu/mgg-online

Middle Eastern Manuscripts Online 2: The Ottoman Legacy of Levinus Warner
https://libraries.indiana.edu/middle-eastern-manuscripts-online-2-ottoman-legacy-levinus-warner

Middle Eastern Manuscripts Online 3: Arabic Manuscripts from the Hungarian Academy
https://libraries.indiana.edu/middle-eastern-manuscripts-online-3-arabic-manuscripts-hungarian-academy

Nutrition Science Legacy Archive
https://libraries.indiana.edu/nutrition-science-legacy-archive

Open Folklore
https://libraries.indiana.edu/open-folklore

Performing Arts Periodicals Database (formerly Performing Arts Database)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/performing-arts-periodicals-database

Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism
https://libraries.indiana.edu/routledge-encyclopedia-modernism

SMA: Sports Market Analytics (formerly Sports Business Research Network)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/sma-sports-market-analytics

Udndata
https://libraries.indiana.edu/udndata

New databases for April

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 April 3-28, 2017. 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.

Hindu Conspiracy Cases: Activities of the Indian Independence Movement in the U.S., 1908-1933
https://libraries.indiana.edu/hindu-conspiracy-cases-activities-indian-independence-movement-us-1908-1933

India-Pakistan conflict : records of the U.S. State Department, February 1963-1966
https://libraries.indiana.edu/india-pakistan-conflict-records-us-state-department-february-1963-1966

Indian Army And Colonial Warfare On The Frontiers Of India 1914-1920
https://libraries.indiana.edu/indian-army-and-colonial-warfare-frontiers-india-1914-1920

Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture: The History of Tourism (formerly History of Mass Tourism)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/leisure-travel-and-mass-culture-history-tourism

Lippincott Procedures
https://libraries.indiana.edu/lippincott-procedures

Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 (formerly American Consumer Culture)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/market-research-and-american-business-1935-1965

Pakistan from Crown Rule to Republic: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1945-1949
https://libraries.indiana.edu/pakistan-crown-rule-republic-records-us-department-state-1945-1949

New databases for March

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 March 1-31, 2017. 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.

CALLHOME Spanish Speech
https://libraries.indiana.edu/callhome-spanish-speech

China Digital Library (formerly Apabi Chinese Ebooks)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/china-digital-library

Ebook Central (formerly eBrary)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/ebook-central

Ebook Central Academic Complete (formerly eBrary Academic Complete)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/ebook-central-academic-complete

Enzyklopaedie des Maerchens Online
https://libraries.indiana.edu/enzyklopaedie-des-maerchens-online

Marquis Biographies Online
https://libraries.indiana.edu/marquis-biographies-online

New databases for February

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 February 1-28, 2017. 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.

Bon Usage
https://libraries.indiana.edu/bon-usage

Music Periodicals Database (formerly International Index to Music Periodicals)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/music-periodicals-database

National Technical Reports Library
https://libraries.indiana.edu/national-technical-reports-library

Writing to be read… by a screen reader

Screen readers? What?

If you’ve heard anything about web accessibility, you’ve probably heard of screen readers – devices that allow blind or vision-disabled people to access websites by listening to a speech synthesizer or, in some cases, via a braille display. There are a number of different screen readers; this recent review of three popular screen readers is interesting – the comments in particular illustrate that “accessibility” is different for different users with different needs, an important thing to keep in mind.

If you’ve never seen a screen reader in use, by the way, there are some good videos out there. I like the one embedded below; using JAWS – one of the more popular screen readers – the narrator goes through the BBC website and shows you how it works. Pay particular attention to how the screen reader handles links and headings, and you’ll understand why we always say that you should use heading tags when your page has sections rather than just making the section title bold and why we always say that your links should be semantically meaningful rather than just saying “click here.”

WebAIM, a great source for web accessibility information in general, has an extensive overview of how screen readers work and how to design for them. One of the most important points they make is that, while sighted users tend to quickly scan the entire screen and focus on what stands out as looking important to them, screen readers present content in a linear fashion. (Another “what it’s like to use a screen reader” video I found mentions that in another context: if a student receives a lengthy email from an instructor, they  have to go through the entire email and remember what they have to do or respond to once they’re finished, or even literally take notes on the email as they listen – they can’t just scan the email or easily go back and forth between the email and the response they are composing.)

But I’m not a web designer. Should I care?

What does this mean for those of us who don’t design entire websites, but who do write and publish content on the web? Well, for one thing, a giant block of text is going to be a huge pain for someone using a screen reader. Since they can’t quickly scan to figure out what the most important points are, they are going to have to sit and listen to the entire block of text. It would be much easier for these users to break up your content into smaller portions, using heading tags to separate them.

You’re not breaking it up at random, of course – more than just controlling font size and weight (for sighted readers), heading tags describe how your content is structured. Think of how an outline works – you have section I, and below that sub-sections A, B, C – then section II, and so on. Headings work the same way. H1 is generally your title, then H2, then on down as far as H4 if your content is that complex – then back to another H2, and so on. Or, think about a book with sections and chapters – or even feature story in the newspaper, which may have a headline and multiple sections, each with its own smaller title or headline.

This post, for example, uses heading tags instead of just rambling on and on nonstop. Ta-da!

Great news: Structuring your content using these semantically meaningful, well-organized heading tags also makes it easier for sighted users to scan your page and quickly spot the content they are looking for.

Accessibility benefits everyone.

This is a recurring theme that you find once you start learning about accessibility: many of the measures you take to make your website usable for disabled users are actually usability improvements for most of your users. This is true of accessibility features in the offline world, too – the button that lets someone using a wheelchair open a door is also helpful for a non-disabled (I love the term “temporarily able-bodied“) person whose arms are full of packages.

"Accessible" painted on pavement
flickr: Jonathan Moore CC BY-NC 2.0

The thoughtful folks over at GOV.UK (run by the Government Digital Service, the group responsible for designing digital services for the UK government) recently published a great post, “How to create content that works well with screen readers.” They don’t offer a bulleted to-do list, but rather discuss how screen readers work and some of the potential implications for writers of web content. For example, it’s useful to think about how screen readers interpret acronyms. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this article concludes that writing content that works well for everyone will benefit screen reader users. Proofreading your content to make sure words are spelled correctly and using consistent standards for how you deploy acronyms and abbreviations, for example, will benefit everyone.

Of course, blind and vision-disabled users aren’t the only people with disabilities who use the web. People with color-blindness, deaf or hard-of-hearing people, people with limited fine motor control or who have difficulty using a mouse, and people with cognitive or memory disabilities can all have a better experience on the web if content is thoughtfully designed.

Captioning your videos will make them usable not only by deaf users but also by those who may want to watch your video in a public place but don’t have a pair of headphones handy. Plain language helps dyslexic users, those for whom English is a second language, and people who are in a hurry. And breaking up those intimidatingly huge blocks of text into more manageable chunks helps pretty much everybody. Making your web content accessible isn’t about providing “special” access to a few users – it’s about providing good access to ALL users, including those with disabilities, while remembering that for some users it means the difference between being able to access your content and being told “no, this content is not for you.” (Besides being a violation of the ADA, that’s just plain rude.)

Want to learn more?

If you find yourself intrigued by these issues, WebAIM’s Introduction to Web Accessibility is a great place to start. For IU-specific accessibility information and some great resources to help you create accessible content, visit Accessibility at IU. The UITS Assistive Technology & Accessibility Center, conveniently located in the Wells Library, has tremendous expertise in web accessibility and is available for consultations, trainings, and presentations.  And we in DUX are always happy to answer – or find an answer to – any specific questions you might have!

New databases for January

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 January 3-31, 2017. 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.

BioCyc
https://libraries.indiana.edu/biocyc

Country Intelligence Reports on USSR
https://libraries.indiana.edu/country-intelligence-reports-ussr

Eighteenth Century Drama : Censorship, Society and the Stage
https://libraries.indiana.edu/eighteenth-century-drama-censorship-society-and-stage

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East
https://libraries.indiana.edu/foreign-office-files-middle-east

Frontier Life : Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters
https://libraries.indiana.edu/frontier-life-borderlands-settlement-colonial-encounters

History of Mass Tourism
https://libraries.indiana.edu/history-mass-tourism

India From Crown Rule To Republic, 1945-1949: Records Of The US State Department
https://libraries.indiana.edu/india-crown-rule-republic-1945-1949-records-us-state-department

LandScan Global, 2012
https://libraries.indiana.edu/landscan-global-2012

LandScan Global, 2013
https://libraries.indiana.edu/landscan-global-2013

LandScan Global, 2014
https://libraries.indiana.edu/landscan-global-2014

LGBTQ+ Library Catalog (formerly GLBT Library Catalog)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/lgbtq-library-catalog

Liberia and the U.S.: Nation-Building in Africa, 1864-1918
https://libraries.indiana.edu/liberia-and-us-nation-building-africa-1864-1918

Rand Daily Mail, 1902-1985
https://libraries.indiana.edu/rand-daily-mail-1902-1985

Shakespeare in Performance : Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library
https://libraries.indiana.edu/shakespeare-performance-prompt-books-folger-shakespeare-library

World’s Fairs : A Global History of Expositions
https://libraries.indiana.edu/worlds-fairs-global-history-expositions

2017 #BookClubGoals – DUX BÜX: We’re BÄÄÄÄÄCK

That’s right, we’re back for installment two. Join us monthly for a lively discussion – or follow along on the internet, perhaps? If anyone is interested in asynchronous, remote participation, holler out and let us know; we’ll try to loop you in. This is a friendly book club – we bring snacks, you don’t have to have pored over every word to attend, etc.

Below, the info as it appeared in our staff newsletter yesterday:

Happy new year, and welcome to the second installment of DUX BÜX (ducks boooks). This book club, founded by us in fall 2016, is open to all librarians and staff with the goal of encouraging discussion of UX issues throughout the Libraries.

This semester, we are pleased to be reading Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville. Why this book? This much-praised title is “a spirited tour of information architecture, user experience, and systems thinking that reveals how everything is connected from code to culture.” Sounds fun to us!

We will shortly have an office copy of this title (inquire within) and one circulating copy within the collection (on-order as of today, Jan 19). It is available for purchase via Amazon in print format for $15 or via Kindle for $9.99 (remember that you can read Kindle books using the Kindle app on any phone, tablet or laptop [https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp]).

Schedule

  • January 24th: Chapter 1
  • February 21st: Chapter 2
  • March 21st: Chapter 3
  • April 18th: Chapter 4
  • May 2nd: Chapter 5

New databases for December

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 December 1-23, 2016. 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.

CQ Press Library (formerly CQ Political Reference Suite)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/cq-press-library

IEEE Xplore Digital Library (formerly IEEE Computer Society Digital Library)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/ieee-xplore-digital-library

Political History of America’s Wars (formerly CQ Political History of America’s Wars)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/cq-political-history-americas-wars

The Presidency A to Z (formerly CQ American Government A-Z Series: Presidency)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/presidency-z

RISM Series A/II: Music Manuscripts after 1600 (formerly RISM Online)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/rism-series-aii-music-manuscripts-after-1600

South and Southeast Asian Literature (formerly South and Southeast Asian Literature in English)
https://libraries.indiana.edu/south-and-southeast-asian-literature

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