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Web > Web Committee Notes, 02 February 2010

Web Committee Notes, 02 February 2010

Web Committee Notes, 02 February 2010

The meeting began at 2:00 PM in the SMIL Screening Room at 2 PM.

Present: Sarah Coysh, Dana Craig, William Denton (chair), Walter Giesbrecht, Angela Hamilton, Linda Hansen, F. Tim Knight, Mark Robertson, Anna St. Onge, Robert Thompson.

Regrets: Nisa Lawson, Aaron Lupton, Louis St-Amour.

Guest: Bianca Merlo

Notes from previous meeting

Notes from 05 January 2010 were approved. Guest Bianca Merlo was welcomed. In the absence of N Lawson, W Denton took notes.

Business arising

  • Open York (the name tentatively given to the workshop/hackfest about open data and APIs at York). W Denton talked to Peter Rowley of UIT about this, and he was interested. John Dupuis sent a query to the computer science and engineering faculty and three of them expressed interest.

    ACTION: W Denton to follow up with Peter Rowley.
  • APIs: W Denton wrote documentation on library APIs and will send out the link.

    ACTION: W Denton to sent out link to library API documentation.
  • Web site content updates (W Denton, A Hamilton). Thanks to Tuan Nguyen we again have access to the weekly dump of data about pages in the CMS: URL, title, last modified date, name of last modifier. This will help us make sure that all of the content on the site is up to date. The Archives have not been able to update their content yet. Some SMIL pages need to be done. The other branches are all done, as far as we know. Scott and general YUL pages remain to be done.
  • CMS documentation. The basic content management system documentation has been finished. Thanks to D Craig for getting it started and June Hill for finishing it up.

    ACTION: A Hamilton to send the link to reference-l and ask what documentation people would like to see next.


  • We had some publicity: Innovative catalogue search engine represents a Canadian first (YFile) and Old library catalogue learns new tricks (Excalibur)
  • How course reserves are handled was cleared up over the last month. If an item already in the system (with an existing bibliographic record) is put on reserve, it will appear in the VuFind reserves listings within an hour. If a new item is put on reserve, it won’t appear until the next day, because new bibliographic records are loaded once a day, in the very early morning.
  • The Library Computing Committee discussed in its January meeting the future of VuFind. There are three known priorities: the advanced search; getting archival material in EAD loaded in; and improving the relevancy rankings (Heather Fraser to oversee this). All VuFind work will be sorted into four categories: a) bugs, b) enhancements to existing functionality, c) additional functionality, and d) longer-term wishes.

Other web-related news and updates

  • W Denton and Wendy Huot of Queen’s University started a Code4Lib North chapter of Code4Lib. A meeting is expected in the spring or summer.
  • The committee looked at the new Scholars Portal E-Books system.
  • The committee reviewed recent discussions in the Feedback forums. There were several complaints about sorting VuFind results by date and not relevancy.


We began by following up from the last meeting and then moving into new discussions. Because A Lupton was away at a conference, his plans will wait until the next meeting.

FT Knight, “4. Support mutual use and reuse of content and services by YUL and others.”

FT Knight reported on LibX statistics, which were a) slightly confusing and b) rather low. There had been 592 downloads of the latest version, with over 77,000 downloads total. 429 updates had been requested in the last seven days. Getting the plugin installed more widely around York, and giving it more publicity and promotion, will fix the latter.

ACTION: FT Knight to push out the new version of our LibX plugin, with VuFind support.

ACTION: FT Knight to schedule a brown-bag session on Yahoo Pipes (first checking the ILC’s schedule to avoid conflicts).

ACTION: FT Knight to schedule a Zotero session.

ACTION: W Denton to send Zotero links relevant to use in university teaching to S Coysh, so she can speak about that at the Zotero workshop.

A Hamilton, “5. Provide training, maintenance, and support.”

The Information Literacy Committee is having a retreat on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 April 2010, which means that the day before, Monday 19 April 2010, will be the day for the Web Committee workshop (or Advance or Pretreat: name to be decided). To be covered:

  • introduction (and refresher) to the CMS
  • making and editing subject and course guides
  • handling images

A Hamilton and W Denton will run this, and possibly enlist others such as Adam Taves.

ACTION: A Hamilton and W Denton to plan this event.

There was general discussion of what had been presented at the last meeting. M Robertson agreed that asking department heads was the best way to proceed to find out what training about web tools would be useful for staff around the system. Opening up the sessions to students (when it would work) is a good idea.

ACTION: A Hamilton to query department heads about what training their staff would like to get better with web tools. (CMS? Google Docs? Etc.)

A St. Onge, “3. Develop and enhance our online resources and services, and educate users about them.”

A St. Onge went over her plans for this area and everyone discussed them. The central concern here, fitting in with her work as Archivist, Digital Projects and Outreach, and that the archives and special collections are a core part of the library’s research collection , is a “seamless online exhibit component.” We are no longer planning on using Islandora, but instead will use Omeka for the Mariposa project, and this will be the platform future exhibits will go on.

ACTION: A. St. Onge and others will be doing a lot of work on the Mariposa project and Omeka for the next months! She will keep us up to date on how it goes.

Finding out what people want from a CMS can be rolled in with the CMS documentation and training that will happen soon. It’s easier and quicker to talk to people about the CMS once than several times, and the training sessions will be good places for people to say what they like about the current CMS, don’t like, what they want, and so on.

ACTION: A St. Onge, A Lupton, A Hamilton and W Denton to discuss how best to find out what people need and want when managing web content for YUL.

The special features on the home page will used to promote teaching and learning resources, learning objects, YorkSpace, the Archives and Special Collections, and more. There will be instructions to make it easy for people create these small promotional campaigns.

W Denton suggested that it could be possible to tie together online exhibits with VuFind. Gunther Plaut’s personal library is in special collections, for example, and each item is visible in VuFind. Yet there is nothing to tell someone looking at an item that it is part of a special collection. If there were a page about the Plaut collection, the link could be added to all of the records for the items. The user would be able to go from an item in a special collection to a web site about the special collection: where it came from, why it was important, perhaps some digitized examples, etc. With VuFind it will now be possible for us to tie together the descriptions of items in a special collection with online exhibits about the collection itself.

M Robertson suggested a two-sided approach to improved web-based promotion:

  1. Guidelines on how to promote news and events on our web site through existing channels (how the home page special features are scheduled; how to get something in Library News; etc.), and also outside our web site (YFile, YLife, Excalibur, etc.). These could be the start of a library-wide marketing and promotion handbook.
  2. Creating and implementing new ways of web-based promotion. The content management of these can be done through the usual channels once they exist.

ACTION: A St. Onge and W Denton to work on these.

W Giesbrecht, “1. Improve the user experience.”

The major plan here, and the only one there was time to talk about, is a discussion/feedback forum. There was a general discussion about how this could work, how it might be used to spur discussion around special things such as a special online archival exhibit like the Mariposa project, what kind of monitoring would be necessary, etc.

M Robertson said that there was an assessment angle to this, because comments, feedback, and suggestions from any such forum would help the library understand more about how it is doing and what could be improved. He suggested that the Assessment Committee be involved.

ACTION: Everyone to talk on the mailing list about online forums and discussion systems they like. Send links, and don’t feel restricted that the discussions must be in question-and-answer format or anything else. All examples and suggestions welcome.

Library Forum update

ACTION: W Denton to briefly summarize the above plans for next week’s Library Forum.

For the next meeting

  • A Lupton to discuss his plans for assessment.
  • A Lupton to give a demonstration of MULER.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 PM.

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