Looking Back, Moving Forward – New Website is Launched!

Today (July 7, 2014) marks the official launch date of the Libraries’ new Drupal-powered website and the decommissioning of our old site, along with the locally-developed content management system that powers it (the Content Manager, or CM). This is a pretty big milestone for us in a lot of ways. The new site will be easier for us to maintain; it will make it easier to manage our content strategically; and most importantly, we think it will be easier for our users to navigate and find the information that they need.

Libraries' home page in 2001
This was our home page in 2001, pre-Content Manager.

We initially launched our old site in 2002. At the time, having a database-driven website and a content management system was a HUGE step forward for us; our previous site had been simply a homepage which linked out to pages on a whole bunch of different accounts housed on IU’s central web server. On that old site, when we wanted to make a change to the site template (like when we added the two round buttons to the left-hand navigation in the image above), someone actually had to email everybody who managed library web pages, send them the HTML for the new template, and ask them to please change all their pages.

We’ve come a long way, baby!

Libraries' home page in Nov. 2002
Home page in Nov. 2002 (first iteration of the Content Manager site)

We made some improvements to the site over the years – including a couple of visual refreshes, implementation of the Google Search Appliance, replacement of the “Find Information” page with the “Resource Gateway,” and the launch of subject pages, which combined the old “Databases by Subject” with the collection pages. But the basic structure of the site, and the content management system behind it, remained pretty much the same.

Libraries' home page in 2007
Home page following the 2007 visual refresh & implementation of subject pages

By the way, I used the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to come up with those screenshots. If you want to revisit our old site, that’s the place to go!

And, one last look at the final iteration of the Content Manager-powered site:

Libraries' home page in 2014, pre-migration
Farewell, old site!

Thinking back on the history of our site and how it’s changed since 2002, I decided to look at amazon.com and see what it looked like back then. Over the years, Amazon has changed its site quite a bit – but for the most part its changes have been incremental. You don’t generally go to Amazon and find a completely different site than the one you’re used to using, but they make small changes in design and functionality ALL THE TIME, and those changes add up! Here’s what Amazon’s home page looked like in 2002:

amazon.com home page in 2002
Compare this to the amazon.com of today.

We were playing Everquest and buying Monsters Inc. on VHS…

detail from amazon.com home page, 2002
Those were the days!

Check out the Toshiba Pocket PC. What incredible technology! 😉

Toshiba Pocket PC ad from amazon.com, 2002
Did anybody have one of these?

And of course your 2002 life would not have been complete without Chicken Dance Elmo…

ad for Chicken Dance Elmo toy, amazon.com 2002
CHICKEN DANCE ELMO!

The world has indeed changed since 2002. The Content Manager was a pretty big step forward then, but it’s time to move on! We’re happy to launch the new website and say goodbye to the old – we hope you will be, too.

Author- Anne Haines

Web Content Specialist in the Discovery & User Experience Department, IU Libraries. I've spoken at events including edUi, Confab Central, Confab Higher Ed, IOLUG, ILF, the IU Libraries' Digital Library Brown Bag series, and the Libraries' In-House Institute. You can find me hanging out at the intersection of content strategy and librarianship, singing a doo-wop song under the streetlight. Follow me on Twitter: @annehaines