The Faces of DUX presents: Anne Haines

The Digital User Experience (DUX) department is the new kid on the block in the Wells Library, so we’re pretty keen to show everyone who we are and what we do.  The Faces of DUX, reDUX’s newest recurring feature, is intended to do just that.  Each post will introduce one department member to give the readers some insight into what the department is all about and how we fit into library world.  So without further ado, let’s find out what makes DUX tick (quack?)!

 Anne Haines’ journey to DUX is reminiscent of a Homeric epic, in which Anne plays the role of Odysseus and computers play the role of all that stuff that Odysseus has to deal with (you know, like the man-eating Cyclops, and that one goddess who turned all of Odysseus’ buddies into pigs).  She describes her path as a constant bargaining with the machine.  As an undergraduate, Anne took a computer programming course that led her to swear off computers forever.  Upon being abandoned by her project partner, skipping the final project, and receiving the lowest grade she’d ever received, Anne was ready to never face a computer again.  Little did she know…

Anne is now the Library Website Editor in the Digital User Experience (DUX) department.  She is adamant that she is not a coder or programmer and knows no more HTML than your average Library Science student.  She truly thinks of her role as an editorial one, much like a book or journal editor, in which she acts as a bridge between the users and the creators to bring material to people in an accessible and approachable way.  She translates programmer-speak to user-speak and back again.  Her typical day in DUX is never typical, a fact she is perfectly fine with.  Every day is a new adventure, consisting of meetings, committees, and putting out internet fires left and right.  So how did our epic hero go from forever eschewing computers to being the libraries’ primary contact for all things website related?

After completing her undergraduate degree in English, Anne describes her career path as less of a trajectory and more like “being flung from place to place.”  After a brief stint in a bakery she got a job in the registrar’s office, largely, she claims, because she could “type and show up.”  It was then that she realized computers were not devices of the underworld, but could be quite useful, and even (gasp!) fun.  Social networking, through music listservs and community bulletin boards, truly pulled Anne into the thrall of computers.  Finally, in 1993, Anne purchased a 213mb hard drive beaut of a machine.

It was at this point that Anne considered library school as a route through which she could play with computers without necessarily having to mess with 1s and 0s.  Throughout her time in SLIS, she worked several jobs in the library, including branch coordinator of the SLIS library and support staff in the Subject and Area Librarians office.  In the latter position, like a true hero, she successfully navigated the office through Y2K.

Upon completing her Master’s in Library Science, she moved fully into the tech world when, she claims, she was put in charge of the intranet while out sick one day.  That’ll teach her to be sick.  The libraries created a position in Library Information Technology as Documentation and Instructional Writing Coordinator, where she wrote content for the website and knowledge base.  With the formation of DUX, Anne finally fulfilled her destiny as Website Editor.  This brings us to present day.  What does our epic hero see on the horizon?  Anne believes that content strategy is the future of user experience in libraries.  You can read her blog post on the subject, as I’m not even going to attempt to tackle an explanation.

Outside of saving users from their website woes, Anne is a published poet (yes, you can check out her chapbook of poems from the Wells Library!), music lover, devoted cat mom, and social networking advocate.  Continue to follow her adventures on Twitter at annehaines.  When asked if she had any final thoughts for her devoted readers, Anne replied, “I really like my job, maybe not every single moment, but I think I have the best job in the library.”

New databases for November

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the Resource Gateway from November 1 – November 30 (and some for which the vendor has changed). You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject pages. If you have questions about a particular resource, please consult its “About” file to find contact information for the resource advocate. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month.

World Newspaper Archive, Latin American Newspapers, Series 2
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=22759448

New databases for October

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the Resource Gateway from October 1 – October 31 (and some for which the vendor has changed). You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject pages. If you have questions about a particular resource, please consult its “About” file to find contact information for the resource advocate. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month.

Career Insider
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21512573

Career Insider Law
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21512574

Dissertations and Theses @ CIC Institutions
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=22295058

Energy Statistics Database (UN)
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=22139941

Gale Archives Unbound
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21823581

IMF eLibrary
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21665621

Liberation Movement in Africa and African America
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21823580

Oxford Handbooks Online: Philosophy
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21981713

STATS Indiana
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=22450204

Visionet
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21512572

World Biographical Index Online
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=22139942

So what’s UX anyway, and why should libraries care?

rubber duckieOur department, Digital User Experience (aka DUX), is a fairly new one in the IUB Libraries organizational structure. In fact, having a department devoted to user experience (UX) is a fairly new concept for libraries in general. There are a few others scattered thither and yon; for example, the University of Michigan Libraries have one, although theirs is a part of their Library Information Technology unit, while ours is a part of Library Academic Services (our public-services division).

So if you’re here at IUB, you may still be wondering just what we mean by “Digital User Experience” (never fear, we occasionally wonder this ourselves) and how it relates to the mission of the Libraries. I recently came across a great article from UX Magazine which struck me as a great summary of the principles of UX and how they apply to the way people actually think and process information:

Weinschenk, Susan. “The Psychologist’s View of UX Design.” UX Magazine May 19, 2010. Web. 19 October 2011.

When you read this article, keep good old Ranganathan and his Five Laws of Library Science in the back of your mind. To refresh your memory, those are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

Granted, Ranganathan only talked about books, since digital resources didn’t yet exist in his time – but these laws apply to users of electronic resources as well. Check out this article from LibraryJournal.com discussing how the third law, in particular, applies in the digital world:

Cloonan, Michele V. and John G. Dove. “Ranganathan Online: Do digital libraries violate the Third Law?” Library Journal April 1, 2005. Web. 19 October 2011.

I would argue that the fourth law is even more important in the digital world – a huge part of user experience design involves getting people to the information they want as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Anyway, as you can see, Ranganathan’s laws largely revolve around the relationship between the library user (“the reader”) and the library’s intellectual content (“the book”) – and it is precisely that relationship, in particular the quality of the user’s experience when using the library’s resources and services, that UX practitioners hope to improve. In the case of DUX, of course, we’re specifically concerned with the library’s digital resources and services along with the digital representation of the library’s analog content (e.g. paper books and in-person resources).

Once you’ve read through the two articles I’ve linked here, I hope you’ll have a better understanding of what we mean when we talk about UX, what DUX can do to help improve the lives of our libraries’ users (patrons, customers, whatever we’re calling them this week), and why when you think of DUX you shouldn’t only think of cute little yellow quackers. If you have questions or comments, of course, we’d love to hear from you!

rubber duckie in a tub

image credits:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/realestatezebra/2608418319/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mediawench/5916102939/

New databases for September

The following list represents new subscription databases added to the Resource Gateway from September 1 – September 30 (and some for which the vendor has changed). You may wish to add one or more of these to your subject pages. If you have questions about a particular resource, please consult its “About” file to find contact information for the resource advocate. New databases will be posted to reDUX at the end of each month.

CQ Researcher
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21359194

Gale Virtual Reference Library
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21359195

ThomsonONE
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=21206274

 

Get your IUB Libraries news on the go…

I think being mobile-optimized is one of the niftier features of our new blog service. Using a plugin (WPMS Mobile Edition), we are able to simply flip a switch and … pow! automagically enable mobile-friendly blogs.

Curious what this looks like? Here are a couple screenshots of the reDUX blog taken on my iPhone.

mobile friendly blog (screenshot)mobile friendly blog post

Shiny! If you are running your own WordPress site (just a single site, rather than a multi-site installation like ours), you might want to try something like WordPress Mobile Pack.

Blah-gs No More: Newer, Faster, Better, Shinier

Join Anne Haines & Courtney Greene of DUX for an overview of the new IUB Libraries Blog service (http://blogs.libraries.iub.edu), launched earlier this month. In this session, they will discuss the new features and functionality of the blog service, give a peek into the day-to-day of maintaining a blog by demonstrating the staff interface, and present an overview of how to get started blogging for a department, unit, or Libraries group for interested parties.

When: Thursday, June 30th, 1-2p

Where: Wells 043

Some highlights of the new blog service:

  • a combined RSS feed, allowing people to easily subscribe to all content from all IUB Libraries blog service blogs
  • a set of themes that are customized for the IUB Libraries (fully branded & in conformance with IU identity standards)
    • plus, all blogs are now mobile-ready!
  • blog content will now be returned as part of the library site search, making it easier to find
  • statistics tracking using Google Analytics
  • a more robust server and an updated WordPress platform
  • support with setup and blog maintenance from DUX

A policy statement for the IUB Libraries Blogs can be found on the intranet.

Thanks to everyone who helped launch this project, and special thanks to Keith Welch and Brian Wheeler for their technical support.

Happy blogging, & we hope to see you at the DRET workshop!