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New website: have your say

By Robert Drinkall, on 9 July 2014

Dear colleagues,

On 1st September 2014 a new version of our public website will launch after many months of collaborative effort.

We’re nearly finished and are still fine-tuning but during July we’d like everyone to have their say about its design, content, structure or any other aspect of it which you feel you want to tell us about.

The new version of the site can be seen here:


Key changes compared with the current public website are:

New UCL Library Services homepage

New UCL Library Services homepage

  • We’re now using  UCL’s Silva content management system
  • You can edit your own pages
  • We’ve organised the content by audience

Please can I encourage you to take a look and leave us your comments?

Please can I also ask you to:

Many thanks,

Rob Drinkall

(on behalf of the Web Steering Group)

40 Responses to “New website: have your say”

  • 1
    Hearing_Library wrote on 9 July 2014:

    I would like the search box to default to the catalogue rather than ‘all resources’

  • 2
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 9 July 2014:

    Thanks for this Dom. I’ll pass your comment on to the Digital Libraries team because although the box is on the new website, its contents are really their area.

  • 3
    Kit Snape wrote on 9 July 2014:

    If you follow the NHS route, you don’t get the benefit of the ‘sites and opening hours’ link. While our readers sometimes need some encouragement to visit other UCL Libraries, they do so. Information on the other sites and their opening hours is as applicable to NHS users as it is to any other user.

  • 4
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 10 July 2014:

    Thanks Kit. The structure and content for NHS users is set out differently as the focus is on services provided primarily, in the context of the Service Level Agreement with 6 NHS Trusts, by the biomedical libraries that are listed in the right-hand column. There is a link to UCL’s other libraries at the end of that list as well as the constant link to Libraries and study spaces in the left-hand menu.

  • 5
    Sarah Lawson wrote on 16 July 2014:

    Kate B has pointed out that it would be more helpful if the image used at: http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/sites and http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/sites/neurology was of 23 Queen Square – which is where we are located, rather than the current image which is of the Hospital frontage.

    Also, there are no “neuros” in the A-Z list – http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/az – e.g. neurology and neurosurgery, neuroscience – despite most other subjects being listed.

    Finally, will there be a link to subject/site librarians under the Who’s who page: http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/about/who and also a link to the site libraries page on the Contacts page: http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/contact-us ?

  • 6
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 16 July 2014:

    Hi Sarah.

    Thanks for this. We’ve added some A-Z entries for you and we’ll change the image to the one you attached.

    Regarding links from the Who’s who, we’ve reduced what’s in there in Silva because it’s hard to maintain in the way it’s done on the current public website.

    The thinking in terms of site libraries is that the left-hand menu has the persistent link to ‘Libraries and study spaces’ in it which is always visible.

    Do you think the Who’s who is where users will go to find subject librarian contacts? It’s useful to hear opinions about site navigation.

  • 7
    Sarah Lawson wrote on 16 July 2014:

    Thanks so much for adding those neuro entries in.

    Yes, I can see that maintaining the site/subject librarian list as it stands is a bit labour intensive – and as you say, the Libraries and sites link is more visible than the Who’s who section.

    I’m assuming that it was decided at some point not to have subject support as a menu item down the left, so this is equally visible, as it’s at least one click away from the home page (assuming you even know there is a subject support list)?

  • 8
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 16 July 2014:

    Hi Sarah,

    Yes, the subject support entry was put in the left-hand menu automatically by Silva but the group subsequently agreed that the discovery route for it should be via the audience sections so we took it out of the menu.

  • 9
    David Reeves wrote on 16 July 2014:

    A minor point that I’d like to comment on is that the website doesn’t appear to be ‘responsive’ in that if viewed on mobile/tablet or small browser, the sites layout isn’t changing which as you probably know is somewhat of a cornerstone of modern web design.

    Did you decide to not implement a responsive design or does Silva not allow that?

    Thanks a lot and well done on the new site which looks great (on desktop!)

  • 10
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 16 July 2014:

    Thanks David. Unfortunately the version of Silva UCL uses is not responsive as you’ve discovered. UCL Web & Mobile Services is currently investigating ways of implementing a responsive design so we are awaiting the outcome of that.

  • 11
    Agniya Dremach wrote on 18 July 2014:

    The new “Stores request form” is very nice, however it would be useful if the form itself mentioned that users will not be emailed to notify them that a request has gone through, an item is on its way, or an item has arrived; that items are held only 1 week; and that items arrive next-working-day. I know that this information is mentioned in the information pages for the Stores service, but many users might not see those. Most people get to the request form via the link at the bottom of the Explore page and will therefore not see the information. If the “confirmation” page for this form is also changed, could it be clearer than the current one? I do sometimes have users confused whether their request has actually gone through. I think this is because with the current form, the results page actually “skips down” and you have to scroll back up to see “Request registered”.

  • 12
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 18 July 2014:

    Thanks Agniya. A lot of the information you mention at the start of your comment is actually there in an ‘accordion strip’ but it wasn’t displaying for technical reasons. If you check again you should see it now. The confirmation screen scrolling problem should be resolved with the new version of the form.

  • 13
    Hearing_Library wrote on 24 July 2014:

    One minor aesthetic point – a change to another UCL standard colour would freshen things up – like the lovely green of the blog page. I find the pale blue rather drab!

  • 14
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 24 July 2014:

    Noted – thanks Dom.

  • 15
    Gill Furlong wrote on 30 July 2014:

    I agree about the colour scheme for the banner, the light blue gives a really drab look. What about a vibrant gold, or similar, to go under the black? it would really stand out then. The light blue in the text could remain, it’s elgant in that context. Also the red used for the Search button to me denotes “stop” or “warning” – what about a more friendly orange?

  • 16
    Heather Chesters wrote on 24 July 2014:

    Comments on behalf of the ICH Library Training Team:
    The initial page is clearly laid out, but we think that it would be good if users could easily see which training sessions are being run at particular sites. Would it be possible to include this? We think that the list of training sessions, with variant titles for similar sessions, is likely to be confusing for users who wish to book training. It is also not clear that users need to contact their home library for 1-to-1 support.

  • 17
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Thanks for this Heather and the ICH Library Training Team. I’ll pass your comments on to the group who are involved with the Skills training and guidance content.

  • 18
    Magali Perrey wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Checking this page and the main photograph, my first feeling was that it does not sell the issue desk well. The customer is waiting at the issue desk and there is no staff at the issue desk only 4 at the back working on their own stuff, nobody to serve him.

  • 19
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Thanks for this. We’ll look again at the image we’ve used.

  • 20
    ucl_crucitwit wrote on 25 July 2014:

    The new webpages look impressive – two very minor points:
    1. Is there a link to the various social media accounts for all the different library sites from one page as there was previously?
    2. Apart from the A-Z and the following bread-crumb trail UCL “Home » Library Services » Documents and PDFs » Printable guides” will there be a quick link from the new homepage to printable guides to refer to or show usesr at Enquiry Desks

  • 21
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Many thanks. In answer to your two questions, I’ll explain our current thinking and we’ll review this at the end of the consultation:

    1. We haven’t created a social media page for the new site because we feel that users are more likely to look for social media presences within a social media site itself.
    2. We haven’t included a quick link to printable guides because we feel that the discovery route for them is via the web page(s) they relate to.

  • 22
    Polly wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Hi, I like the layout of the site – it seems really clear and not too crowded. I wondered where the link to the databases is going to be? Apols if this has been explained.. Is it going to be from ‘journal articles’ in the Electronic Resources section? Just wondered if ‘searching for journals articles’ or ‘finding journal articles’ would work? Or too long?

  • 23
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Thanks Polly. The databases page is currently linked from the right-hand menu of the Electronic resources homepage which you can access via the website’s main left-hand menu or by clicking the ‘…read information about our electronic resources’ link within some of the ‘Electronic resources’ audience tabs. I’ll pass your comment on to the e-resources team though and we’ll review the situation.

  • 24
    Polly wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Oh, thanks Rob. Must admit, I hadn’t spotted that link when I looked first time round. I went in via the ‘students’ bit which I think students might do too initally…

  • 25
    Peter Field wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Hi Rob. I totally agree with Magali’s comment about the image labelled ‘reader at assistance desk’. Also, I think the image ‘staff member giving lecture’ illustrating Staff tab is a bit old-fashioned. Also agree with comment from Hearing about colour scheme.
    Please could you add an entry to the A-Z list for Pharmacy linking to our local webpages: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/pharmacy/facilities/library. Thanks, Pete @ Pharmacy

  • 26
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Thanks Pete. We’ll look again at the images we’ve used and note your comments about the colour scheme and A-Z entry.

  • 27
    Benjamin Meunier wrote on 25 July 2014:

    I think the webpages are a big improvement, especially the new pages for students/staff/NHS/Visitors (e.g. http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/visitors).

    However, I think that the main home page suffers from having the large directory on the left-hand side, which dilutes the information and makes it less clear than the current homepage (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/). Most of the links on that list are duplicated on the page. It might be worth trimming down the links and incorporating 2-3 of them in the right-hand column, so that the homepage keeps a clear look.

    The new “In Focus” feature in the centre of the page is good with the large images. I’d suggest having the tranparent title bar at the top of the image, so that it catches people’s attention and is visble to users without having to scroll down.

  • 28
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 25 July 2014:

    Thanks for your comments Ben.

  • 29
    Margaret Stone wrote on 28 July 2014:

    Is it the case that you can’t easily link to page components within ?’accordion strips’ so that they are automatically expanded? For example, if I wanted to provide a hyperlink to the ‘Reference Management’ section of http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/training/guides, I couldn’t do so?

  • 30
    Chris Carrington wrote on 28 July 2014:

    Hi Margaret,
    Yes unfortunately that is the case with accordion strips inside Silva. We will look to see if there is a work-around.

  • 31
    Andrew Watson wrote on 29 July 2014:

    A small point under “Browsing the Library Catalogue”

    Title – e.g. tale of two cities (omit a, the, le etc.)

    For clarity, this ought to be “(omit initial articles: a, the, le, etc.)”

    as subsequent articles should be included in a browse search. (i.e “Cat in the hat”, not “Cat in hat”)

  • 32
    Chris Carrington wrote on 29 July 2014:

    We’ll pass this to the Explore team to consider, thanks

  • 33
    Andrew Watson wrote on 29 July 2014:

    I think that the site is a great improvement – particularly the disappearance of the fluid “Discover Library Services” banner which needed quite a bit of manual dexterity (not to mention a very well-behaved mouse!) to negotiate successfully.

    I’ve found everything I’ve looked for quite quickly except one thing: I miss the link to “Catalogues” that used to be under “Using the Library”. Although Explore is prominent on the home page, it doesn’t bear the word “Catalogue”, and non-UCL people dotted around the globe wanting to search our Special Collections or Archives may be flummoxed. “Library catalogue” and “UCL Archives” are listed under “Explore” in the “Electronic resources” tab which, if you’re looking for a 13th century manuscript, seems misleading. Could some reference to “Catalogues” be restored to “Using the library”?

  • 34
    Chris Carrington wrote on 29 July 2014:

    Thank you for your comments Andrew.

  • 35
    James Clark wrote on 29 July 2014:

    A small point: it would be good if the information button (i) which links from the Explore search box in the home page to the About explore page were retained in the new version; it is not there at the moment

  • 36
    Gill Furlong wrote on 30 July 2014:

    1. When a newcomer looks at the Library Services front page, and is hoping to find a directive to catalogues for older materials, including manuscripts and archives, there’s nothing in the strap line for “Explore” to help them. Can I suggest that as well as “books, journals and online resources”, the words “manuscripts and archives” are added? After all, we are saying that “Explore” covers everything. This would also mirror the emphasis given elsewhere to Archives (see comments no. 2, 3 and 4 below). If the objection is that there isn’t enough room, then can I suggest that the middle panel is widened? It looks a bit squashed in in any case.

    2. Electronic Resources: UCL Archives is hidden under this tab, which isn’t at all helpful when you are looking for a medieval manuscript or letters from Hugh Gaitskell. The word Catalogue could usefully be added somewhere here.

    3. The principle of the link on the left “Special Collections, Exhibitions & Archives” is excellent, but the wording and links could be improved for clarity. Can we have a revised order and emphasis, ie “Special Collections & Archives; Exhibitions” (see next comment for links).

    4. Clicking on “Archives” leads to a description of other archives collections in UCL’s libraries, which is very misleading and confusing. I suggest the main text for Special Collections is re-titled “Special Collections & Archives”, has an additional sentence at the end (following on from “George Orwell Archive”) which says “Important archival holdings are also found in several of our specialist libraries “ and make the last two words the link to the paragraph about the other libraries.

    The paragraph currently entitled “Archives” could be located next, and the Exhibitions paragraph last in the trilogy; it could also be re-titled “Specialist Archives”, or something similar.

    5. It’s not all criticism! The UCL Special Collections page looks really good, with the navigation much improved. And Catalogues is in there, which is great. The A-Z directory is much more prominent. We’ll be adding an image to the “About us” page, to jazz it up a bit more, plus we’re re-writing the blurb. I would however prefer the link to say “More information on the collections here” or “About Special Collections” or something similar, instead of the bald “About us” .

    6. We’ll be adding more images to the collection descriptions.

    7. All-in-all , it’s good that Special Collections and other specialist libraries with similar materials are much more integrated with the rest of the Library Services web pages, plus it’s easier to find your way back.

  • 37
    Vanessa Freedman wrote on 31 July 2014:

    Generally a great improvement on the current website. I particularly like the segmentation by user groups. A few comments:
    1. The font for the main text is a bit small
    2. When you click on a link and then the browser’s back button it doesn’t take you back to where you were (eg a particular tab) – is there anything that can be done about this?
    3. Is there a way of hiding out of date items from the news feed?
    4. The text above the Twitter feed on the home page ‘Tweets from a list by UCL Library Website’ doesn’t make sense – is this something automatically generated by Twitter or can we change it?
    5. I think there should be a link from to the theses pages from the student and staff sections as well as from the visitors section
    6.The text on some pages is still quite wordy and dense – there needs to be some consistency of style

  • 38
    Giulia Garoli wrote on 1 August 2014:

    Well the landing page looks better but I think that the Special Collection banner at the bottom should be removed, and I know that this is controversial. The banner is on the bottom half of the page and if you just click on the tabs or search Explore you won’t see it and even when you do it does not look good. I also not sure about the Electronic resources tab: links to the reading list searching page and to e-journals when you can use Explore. I found the Services tab confusing surely Borrowing and Photocopying are part of Using the Library. It might just be me but on the plus side it does look more modern and I don’t mind the colour scheme.

  • 39
    Gill Long wrote on 8 August 2014:

    A few comments from SSEES Library:

    On the ‘Loan periods and charges’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/borrowing/loan-periods there is no indication that the loan periods listed do not apply at all UCL libraries. For example, at SSEES we lend “standard loan” books for 3 weeks at a time, not 8 weeks. Also, we do not have 2-day loans, but we do have 3-day loans. It would be helpful to have some sort of qualifying statement, such as, “Loan periods may vary at some UCL library sites – check the individual Library’s page for more information”.

    On the ‘Classification’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/subject-support/garside/#top, reference is made to “some of our medical-related libraries” using classification schemes other than Garside, but there is no mention of SSEES library having its own classification scheme.

    On the ‘Borrowing and managing your account’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/borrowing, under ‘How do I pay my fines?’ (at the bottom of the page), it wrongly states that SSEES library accepts payments by credit or debit card. We do not have a PDQ machine at SSEES and cannot take payments by card.

    Under ‘Membership’ – ‘Members of other UK and Irish Universities’ http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/membership/uk-irish-uni there is a section for University of Westminster students, but it doesn’t mention that the special arrangement between UCL and UofW does not apply at SSEES Library. (We do not admit UoW students during term-time.)

    The main ‘Electronic resources’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/electronic-resources appears to be aimed just at members of UCL, and does not mention that visitors can access electronic resources on-site via the Explore terminals. This information IS included under Visitors – Services – Electronic resources access – but a cross-reference from the main ‘Electronic resources’ page would be helpful.

    On the ‘Libraries and study space’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/sites, the link to ‘group and bookable study space’ doesn’t work – “The resource cannot be found”

    Under ‘Visitors’ – ‘Services’ tab – ‘Facilities’ http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/facilities, it says “Sorry, this Silva Document is not viewable”.

    At the bottom of the ‘Getting help’ page http://www.silva-sandbox.ucl.ac.uk/library/help, the link to ‘Subject support’ takes you to the page entitled ‘Other libraries available to UCL users’. Surely it should go to a list of site and subject librarians instead?

  • 40
    Breege Whiten wrote on 12 August 2014:

    I think there should be a link to the A-Z list of databases under the student and staff e-resources tab.

    Sarah Gilmore (I think) came to LaSS a few weeks ago to talk about Metalib usage, I asked if it was being phased out and she said no and that it was fine to still train on it. Our department (academics and students) like using it and so we have continued to train on it. If it is staying can we have a link under the electronic resources tab, and if it isn’t staying I could do with an end date, we start literature searching training again on the 1st September and I don’t want to train new students on Metalib if it won’t be there in 6 months time.

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