Like many folks who work at a smaller academic library, I wear lots of hats. One of those being the website manager. While the entire website is professionally managed by campus IT, I am responsible for minor tweaks and updates to the library page(s).
Like most folks, we use Google Analytics (GA) to track and monitor user behavior on our website. The information that can be gleaned from GA is extremely useful in the design and shaping of content. Here’s some free and recent scholarship, from the Journal of Web Librarianship, on tracking user behavior with Google Analytics on the academic library website.
In his recently published memoir, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year Old Author, Herman Wouk relates seeing the 1926 silent movie The Sea Beast as a young boy and, a short time later, being surprised to find that it was based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Wouk can certainly be forgiven for his lack on knowledge about Melville, both because the film greatly alters the details, but also because Melville (and his canon) had largely sunk into obscurity.
Many readers, and even more non-readers, often assume that the rise of the internet has erased all such concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brad Bigelow, a former I.T. adviser for the U.S. Air Force, has devoted much of his time to helping ensure that such oversights are avoided.
Historic institution, Sweet Briar College, received a record number of applicants for the 2017 academic year. If you’ve not heard of Sweet Briar College, it’s the college that nearly closed in 2015. According to the previous board the college faced “insurmountable financial challenges.” Turns out, the challenges weren’t insurmountable, the current leadership just wasn’t up to them. A large number of Sweet Briar Alumnae rose to the challenge, raising $30 million in 100 days, and launching a legal battle was won after moving all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court. The college had just overhauled their library (more here). The current president, Phil Stone, relates the fascinating story (one year later) in this recent piece in the Roanoke Times.
Many institutions have (or by year’s end will have) invested in a discovery layer. My own institution is in the middle of a trial with EBSCO’s discovery product. Here’s some important information about discovery layers and possible bias in the algorithms.
Harvard Library is in the process of digitizing and releasing all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th and 18th century North America. More information HERE.