Google and Library Websites

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.

Libris Obscurum

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Polish Book Cover Design

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.

Image credit to Will.

Leadership Matters

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Sweet Briar College, 1930s

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.

 

Image credit to Boston Public Library.