Skip to main content
Glendon Campus Alumni Research Giving to York Media Careers International York U Lions Accessibility
Future Students Current Students Faculty and Staff
Faculties Libraries York U Organization Directory Site Index Campus Maps
Web > Web Committee Notes, 05 January 2010

Web Committee Notes, 05 January 2010

Web Committee Notes, 05 January 2010

Present: Sarah Coysh, Dana Craig, William Denton (chair), Angela Hamilton, Aaron Lupton, Robert Thompson, F. Tim Knight, Anna St. Onge, Louis St-Amour.

Regrets: Walter Giesbrecht, Linda Hansen, Mark Robertson

The meeting began at 2 PM in the SMIL Screening Room.

Welcome to 2010

The committee celebrated the beginning of a new decade (bearing in mind that it is equally the last year of the old decade), and talked about what might be important for libraries in the coming decade. Two ideas were continuing integration of technology and mobile access to all inforamation. As always, there are no certain answers to the question of what the future holds for libraries.

Notes from previous meeting

Notes from 01 December 2009 approved,

Business arising

Links to upcoming home page special features will be sent to the Web Committee list when they go up on www-dev.

CARRY OVER: W Denton to investigate archiving the special features in Library News.

W Denton took the five leads out to lunch to talk about possible future plans. The lunches were tasty and productive.


VuFind became the default search early in the morning on 4 January 2010.

Various small problems were reported:

  • In the course reserves search, the results are not sorted by professsor’s name or by course number, and cannot be resorted.
  • In the reserves listings for a particular course, the items are sorted by publication date. Electronic reserves have no publication date so they come last, and are unsorted.
  • A Hamilton noticed the problem with multiple page listings of items on reserve for a particular course has been fixed.
  • A Hamilton showed an example where a book ( From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics ) from Scott had been tranferred to the reserve shelf at Steacie but still said in VuFind that it was at Scott.
  • S Coysh reported some problems with diacritics in the electronic reserves, which show up as multiple characters instead of one accented character.
  • T Knight reported that printing records can be difficult because the red text shows up faintly when done in black and white.
  • L St-Amour said that a common practice was to show book covers on the left, not the right, and perhaps we should follow that.

S Coysh asked how soon electronic reserves show up in the system. R Thompson said it should be a matter of minutes. Holdings are updated nightly.

W Denton has set up VuFind as the “site search” in Google Analytics, which will let us do good analysis on how people look for in VuFind and what options they use: which fields beside the search box; which if any resorting options; and which facets. He showed how the report looked after one day of use. As expected, JSTOR and PsycInfo are the most common query terms.

There was some discussion of how the search results are sorted: by date instead of relevancy. Cynthia Archer is strongly in favour of sorting by relevancy and asked that we watch for any problems reported because of sorting by date. R Thompson said that work on the relevancy ranking algorithm will be done this term and improvements can go into the May release that will let us make relevancy the default option.

Publicity: W Denton talked to Jenny Pitt-Clark of YFile and VuFind will be the lead story there on 6 January. It will also be in YLife and from those show up in many news feeds around the university. Excalibur has not responded to a story pitch yet.

T Knight is developing a new version of LibX to work with VuFind.

Other web-related news and updates

L St-Amour has developed a free iPhone application: TTC Mobile. It gives TTC riders easy access to route information. He’s been getting some good ratings and feedback about it (and some bad ratings, as always happens when people can leave anonymous comments).

L St-Amour then showed some very interesting work he’d done on how the YUL web site could be customized for users, in Javascript in the browser. He has some more work he wants to do on this and then will bring it back to show again.


4: Support mutual use and reuse of content and services by YUL and others.

FT Knight presented his ideas on work to do in this area. There was discussion of APIs; the use of sites such as Delicious where we could easily store information and then pull it back out to reuse in different ways; Zotero, including a WebDAV synchronization server that Scholars Portal is setting up; LibX; Yahoo! Pipes; and more.

L St-Amour stressed how useful open APIs to all library data would be to the university community. There was full agreement on this. W Denton will be documenting all of the APIs the library has right now, and that will be a beginning to all this. In response to L St-Amour’s point that some York students would be willing to contribute to VuFind source code were it available, R Thompson said that the project’s code is available at its web site, and any patches sent there will make it into our version, which is fairly close to the main code base.

ACTION: L St-Amour to gauge interest in a university-wide workshop/hackfest for people interested in working on data provided by York.

R Thompson said that Moodle was key to this part of the plan. S Coysh (chair of the Information Literacy Committee) has large-scale ideas of closer librarian integration into Moodle courses, which she elaborate soon. She said that online teaching and learning is the focus of the ILC’s work this year, including improvements to online subject guides. S Coysh will report back to the Web Committee about this work when there is something to see.

L St-Amour said some of his courses don’t use Moodle, they use use EdModo, “a private social platform for teachers and students to share ideas, files, events and assignments.”

ACTION: FT Knight to arrange a brown bag session on Yahoo! Pipes.

ACTION: T Knight to update his plan based on the discussion and present at the next meeting.

5. Provide training, maintenance, and support.

A Hamilton presented her ideas about things to do in this area, beginning with a survey (in the broad sense) of what staff would like to learn. R Thompson pointed out some issues about training, and that the Library Management Committee would need to be consulted, depending on what is planned. D Craig’s documentation on the content management system will be the basis of new, revised documentation. Regarding currency of information on the web site, W Denton and June Hill sent mail to all department heads last year requesting them to update the Last-Modified date on all pages to a 2009 date; any pages without that date in January 2010 risk being unpublished.

ACTION: W Denton to follow up with J Hill and A Hamilton about departments refreshing their web pages.

Could we have an online question and answer forum, going beyond the Feedback button in place now? This will probably be covered by W Giesbrecht in his plans.

The Information Literacy Committee will be having a retreat in the spring where online skills will be critical. It would be ideal if there was a refresher course the day before so that people would be ready at the retreat to actually do whatever is learned and put it right into practice.

ACTION: S Coysh and A Hamilton to arrange a pre-retreat workshop when the ILC has arranged the retreat.

ACTION: A Hamilton to update her plan based on the discussion and present at the next meeting.

For the next meeting

Discussion of plans by W Giesbrect, A Lupton, and A St. Onge.


The meeting adjourned at 4:10 pm

Comments are closed.