Earlier this semester we received the following comment from a student about the library website:
“Question: I humbly request that the website gets redesigned. When compared to the Tampa website, our site look old and lacks ease of use functions. Our site also lacks a proxy connection to Google Scholar which is an enormous oversight in my opinion. Its just sad to me that I never come on my campuses website because it does not serve my needs as well.”
We have been working on redesigning the library’s website http://www.nelson.usf.edu/ for some time and a lot of work has already been done on it. Our biggest challenge is that we don’t have a lot of staff to accomplish all of the changes quickly. We are an independent library with no staffing support from the USF Tampa Library. Whatever we do, we do on our own with our own staff.We have a total of twenty-one permanent library staff (with two of the positions being vacant) to serve over 6000 students and several hundred permanent and adjunct faculty. That means that the website redesign is an added assignment for many of us. We have been researching standards, gathering input from users, revising the look and functionality of the site, and migrating to a new platform, WordPress. (This is the same platform recently adopted by the entire University of South Florida St. Petersburg.)
Some of the challenges of our website are ones that we cannot fix. For instance, the catalog of books and media is a catalog of the materials owned by all the USF System member libraries. When you search it, you are taken out of our site. We have no say in how that catalog functions or is designed. Likewise, the Articles and E-Journals searches take you to the USF Tampa Library site which selects and licenses all of the electronic resources on behalf of all libraries within the USF System. Selecting one of those tabs takes you out of our website and we have no control over anything you experience when you enter that section.
We are frustrated by the time it takes us to accomplish the needed changes, too. We’re working hard, however, and more changes are coming. We will be consulting with students and faculty to test the changes as we make them. In the meantime, we did put the Google Scholar button back on the library’s home page as one quick fix to respond to this student’s concerns.