[Web4lib] Labeling on Websites (electronic resources)

Louise Alcorn Louise.Alcorn at wdm-ia.com
Fri Jun 5 10:49:28 EDT 2009

Hi Cecily.
We've really struggled with this ourselves [ http://www.wdmlibrary.org/
] We use "References/Tools" which I kinda hate to describe our lists of
subject-grouped reference links.  We also avoided the word "research",
but I'm not sure we've hit on anything that works. We have mouse-over
menus on our website, and all the meaty stuff is under "Library
Resources" which annoys me.  Unfortunately, since we were using a web
design company (I hope to take this back over in a couple of years),
much of the menu-ing had to be decided all at once, and cannot be
changed at present.  

We did a lot of "Quick Links" to obvious stuff (catalog, calendar, etc.)
to improve navigation.  It helped a bit.  We also struggled with how to
group our downloadable audiobooks and video collections from outside
vendors, and put them under "Downloadable Media"...which almost works.
I think we were more successful with our "Using the Library" and "About
the Library" sets of linkages, as these were more straightforward.

If someone has a really useful, effective term(s) for all those
wonderful pathfinders and links we all create, I'd love to hear it!

Louise E. Alcorn
Reference Technology Librarian
West Des Moines Public Library
4000 Mills Civic Pkwy
West Des Moines IA 50265
(515) 222-3573      louise.alcorn at wdm-ia.com

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org
[mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Cecily Walker
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 4:02 PM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [Web4lib] Labeling on Websites (electronic resources)

Hi All,

We've been having a bit of discussion on a a couple of the web teams I'm
on regarding labeling and terminology on library websites.
Previously, I spent all my work time in private enterprises, so coming
back to the library space has certainly been a learning experience.

What we're dealing with now is how to label electronic resources and
research guides. We want the label to be as succinct as possible, and
ideally, it would give off enough of an information scent so that the
public would be able to tell what sorts of things they might find after
clicking that link.

At present, our website navigation includes "Research Guides &
Suggestions By Topic", as well as "Newspapers, Articles, Encyclopedias &
More". There are obvious problems with any label that includes the word
"more" because it's a very vague term. Because we're a public library,
the word 'research' doesn't test all that well with our population
because they don't always consider what they're doing to be research. We
switched from "Electronic Resources" to the new terms because we found
our patrons just didn't really understand what electronic resources

So I'm curious - how do you label these items on your website? I know
that this is one of those things for which there is no perfect answer,
but curiosity has gotten the better of me.


Cecily  Walker, MLIS
Web Services Librarian
Vancouver Public Library
cecily.walker at gmail.com (personal)
cecily.walker at vpl.ca (work)

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