Monday, October 26, 2009

What a tangled web we weave: integrating the web presence

Back in March of last year - trying to explain the management issues that arise with increasing web presence compexity - I drew up a diagram of MPOW's online ecosystem. (See the diagram to the left). No longer 100% accurate (in fact, our web presence has gotten even more complex with the addition of an institutional Facebook fan page & Twitter stream), it nonetheless gives you a little taste of the components I take into account when imagining the next iteration of our website (and larger web presence). One of the ppl I follow on Twitter led me to this great post about "Untangling the Library Systems Environment" today.

As I try to create a presentation that I hope will explain to my colleagues why we're moving onto a Drupal-based site, one of the things that I keep envisioning is the ways in which it can help us to (if we implement it as successfully as I hope we will) integrate our online environment. We no longer want the end-user to make their way through the fragmented, incoherent experience that our disparate online systems create. We want our users to have a sense of our library (which they arrive at via our organization's website) as the place where they can find x, y, and z. We don't want them to have to think about the fact that x came from our catalog, y came from our digital collections, and z came from a database that we'd created. Yes, we want them to be able to track down items in our physical collection, to link to images and documents from our collection that have been digitized, and to find information from that database. But no, we don't want them to have to know what the back-end looks like in order to get what they want.

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