WebTeam Meeting  Minutes:   19 August 2003

 Present:   Ray Uzwyshyn, Jeff Barry, Bryan Jones, Isabel Arias, Andrew Copnick, Holly Ackerman, Cheryl Gowing, Carrie Leslie, Jennifer Cella, John Renaud 

Absent:  Maria Estorino

 Today’s meeting was a discussion about the future role of the Web Team.   The format was that of discussion.  There were no motions or votes during taken during this meeting.

 Jeff Barry began the conversation by asking us to think about where we have been with the web site, where we are going, and where we want the web site to be in a year.  Jeff traced the origin of the Web Team’s activities, from the creation of the first web team for the major redesign in 2000, through the reconstitution of the team to serve as an editorial board in Spring of 2002, and finally through its role for the last eight months, since the appointment of Ray as Web Services Librarian. 

 Topics of discussion were:

 What do we need the WebTeam to be doing in this academic year?

 By autumn 2004, what should our web site be like?

 Further points brought to the floor by Ray:

  • Announcement that he has just finished a template design and the web site will have a new look in September.
  • What will our conceptual redesign entail?  What are our categories of taxonomies?
  • How will this relate to our conception of the larger academic library environment in which we live?
  • Should we be focusing on more global issues or library specific web services?  Can web services branch out, so that the Library becomes a point of access within the university?
  • In a year, we would like a reconceptualized web site.  How will this work socioculturally and academically?

 Jeff noted that Library web sites have evolved.   We are at a good point to say, “Is this all it can be?”  “Can it be more?”   What do are users expect (they are younger and more used to interactive technology.


Holly addressed the inter and intra institutional aspects raised by the prospect of reconceptualizing the site.  For example, the major project on the Cuban rafters with which she is engaged could grow into a larger e-project on post 1980 Cuban immigration.  She proposed as one example that students writing on this topic could assemble documents and laws electronically and link to these from an online essay, yielding more interaction.

 Jeff concurred, noting that this is an important shift away from the traditional focus.  He asked, “Can the Library create topic specific, content rich web sites – this is part of the role of Digital Library initiatives.”  He further noted that collaboration with faculty is encouraged.  Further, a goal is to have such good quality information on our site that others link to it, so that our sites would come up first, for example, in a search in Google.

 Jeff readdressed the issue of prioritization, noting that this bigger picture discussion, which gets us away from a conversation about where a particular link should go, is important.  He recognized a good question, which was “Can we reconceptualize the subject guides?

 Andrew noted that part of this reconceptualization should include taking advantage of OpenURL functionality, beyond basic linking.


Jeff asked, “What should different involved groups focus on?”   He proposed that eventually we create an administrative professional position to take over the maintenance of the links.  Cheryl and Andrew concurred with this idea, noting that it would move us to a web management system.

 Jeff advocated that we identify a structure in each department (regarding “ownership” of pages) to avoid a bottleneck going toward the web services librarian.

 Ray noted that this type of shift of authority would be effective for him.  Andrew said that this kind of restructuring would work for him as well.

 Moving back to the question of reconceptualization, Bryan noted that from a standpoint of usability, students do not go to databases and indexes.  Holly concurred that we do see that kind of pattern.

 Jeff noted that this is related to user behavior and the driving factors behind it.


Ray wondered if the function of the web team should shift to gathering data and having a dialog with the wider community.  This in turn would mean a shift from a consultative role to a role of conducting usability studies.

 Holly said that one focus group could study what new users do, and pointed out that there could be 2 or three activities that we do annually to get information.

 Bryan noted that the faculty has a lot of misinformation, and that a study could address this.

 Cheryl stated that the process should not go way.  Holly concurred, noting that usability should be a stable component of the job description of the Web Team.  Holly further noted that we establish the distinction between an 1) administrative decision, 2) a decision that Ray will make as web services librarian, and 3) those matters for the Web team.  Jeff indicated that he is comfortable with Ray’s judgment in regards to sorting through those issues.  

Holly mentioned that we should think about how to expand the role of the Web Team with in the community.   Jeff addressed this, indicating that we both need to work with some technical people and open discussion of some issues to broader participation.   He asked, “What are some first steps?”

 Bryan noted that to come up with those first steps, we really would have to answer the question, “Where do we want to be in a year?”

 Cheryl indicated that part of this should include a crash course in what to do about usability. 

 Holly proposed that each of us submit an agenda for the coming year. Ray concurred that this would be a great idea, and could be used to generate priorities at out next meeting.  He said that he would like use to turn back to some of the articles on web design and usability that we have read for a second look, extracting what we can use for Richter.

 John said that he would send out an email, to which everyone can reply with their agenda items.  Agendas should be submitted by Tuesday, 26 August 2003.

 The meeting adjourned at 2pm.  The next meeting will be on September 16th, 2003 at 1pm.


Posted by
John Renaud, jrenaud@miami.edu

Last Modified
25 August 2003