Monthly Archives: January 2012

Clean, Modern Take on the Suggestion Box

I love the “Have an Idea?” feature linked to throughout the website for the library at Cal State San Marcos. Clicking the link (which features a lightbulb icon) takes you to this “Have an Idea” page where you can submit your idea and view and vote on the ideas of others.

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Signs to Convey Quiet and Noisy Zones

The libraries at the University of Houston and Carleton College have some interesting signage to help users recognize what level of noise is acceptable in different parts of the library:

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Tech Sharecase, 20 January 2012


Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Jin Ma, Rita Ormsby, Linda Rath, Mike Waldman


Arthur led a demo of ooVoo, which is web conferencing software that the college has a campus-wide subscription to. You can use it for web-based:

  • one-to-one phone calls
  • one-to-many phone calls (conference calls)
  • one-to-one video chats
  • one-to-many video conference calls

The software includes screen sharing, which lets you show live what is on your screen with anyone you are having a video chat or video conference call with.

Another great feature is that you can initiate a phone call or a video chat with people who don’t have even have an ooVoo account. Instead, you send them a special URL that invites them to call/chat with you via the web. Once that other person clicks that link, they are asked to type in their name, and then click a button that will notify you via ooVoo desktop software that someone’s trying to reach you.

This software might be useful for:

  • faculty office hours
  • distance/online education
  • meetings with other librarians in CUNY and beyond

To get the ooVoo software installed on your work computer, you’ll need to contact the BCTC Help Desk.

QR Codes

Linda mentioned her use of QR codes on her profile page in the LibGuides system. When scanned with a smartphone, the code will send Linda’s contact information into the user’s address book. She used the i-nigma service to create the original QR code. Stephen talked about his use of to create a short URL for the library’s customized Google Scholar link:

In, each short URL that you create gets its own tracking page in your account that gives you stats on the use of that short URL and also gives you a QR code for the URL in case you wanted to share that as well.

Usability Testing on on the New Library Site

Stephen described the first round of usability testing that was recently completed on the new library site (10 students performing three, pre-defined tasks each). We watched a video from one of the tests to get a sense of what usability tests look like and to see how one student reacted to the new site. Changes will be made to the redesigned site based on this round of tests and will lead to a second round of testing.

We talked about a model of testing that web design expert Steve Krug recommends in his 2010 book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems. Krug suggests doing monthly tests with just three test participants. Instead of having a single observer watching and taking notes of what transpires between the test participant and test moderator, he argues for setting up a conference room filled with interested parties (web developers, etc. for that site being tested) who watch the tests live, take their own notes, and then convene after the testing session to come up with a list of top things to fix. According to a recent blog post by Matthew Reidsma, a web services librarian at Grand Valley State University, he’s started doing testing in this very manner and recommends it.

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