Today I’m looking at the web site for the University of Washington Libraries, because they’re one of the first WorldCat Local sites and, I admit, I kinda have a crush on WorldCat. (It’s slick. It’s clean. It has all sorts of augmented content without overwhelming me with it. And…and isn’t my library supposed to be a portal to connect with information, not just the information we happen to have? If my library doesn’t have something, shouldn’t they make it easy for me to find it anyway?)
So a couple things I am really liking about the UW web site…
Trendy, front-and-center single searchbox gateway to the catalog. Oh, and it’s purple.
Surrounding content, again, copious without being overwhelming. It’s in boxes. Nice clean boxes.
“Shortcuts” is a great title for one of those boxes. Not jargon. Makes it sound like they’ve thought about what people might want to get to quickly, and made it easy. (Hopefully based on some actual usage; no way to tell…)
Obvious access to things everyone cares about, like library hours and how to pay fines (you’d be surprised how hard it can be to find some places’ hours).
Widgets! A whole box full of widgets! Did you know there’s an app on Facebook that will format your bibliographies for you? Genius. And they made widgets so you can embed stuff in your own blog or browser or iGoogle. Beautiful.
And up top, a little “click to talk with a UW librarian” box, with a picture of someone who looks like a central-casting librarian — and completely hilarious hover text. (Unintentionally hilarious? I hope not.)