Students particularly do most of their research off site and come to the library only if they need to. The library as place is becoming less and less where research is done and more and more as a space for studying or computing. A recent podcast from Arizona State University supports this perception.
Customers are no longer using library websites as their primary discovery tool. Instead of reading static web pages, library customers are now cataloging their personal libraries, organizing bookmarks, writing documents, and sharing information with others through new generation social software. What began with blogs and wikis is now the standard for sharing, collaboration, and customer involvement.
What matters more than where library content is located or organzied is if it can be discovered. As a result, libraries need to focus on making sure their resources cen be accessed in ways and in formats that accommodate the way customers are accessing information - via mobile devices, social networking communities, or search aggregators.
The focus of Peter Morville's writings of late have been on the concept of Ambient Findability. His work entitled "Ambient Findability: Libraries at the Crossroads of Ubiquitous Computing and the Internet" again covers this concept.
According to Morville, optimizing for findability involves design, coding, and writing, as well as information architecture. It has major implications for librarianship. When optimizing for findability, Morville suggests asking three questions, but the one I will focus on is "Can users find the content despite the Web site?"
It’s this question that Morville indicates findability goes beyond information architecture into search engine optimization (SEO). SEO guidelines include:
- Determining the most common keywords and phrases that users from the primary audience are entering into search engines.
- Include those keywords and phrases in your visible body text, navigation links, page headers and titles, metadata tags, and alternative text for graphic images.
- To increase page popularity ranking, create direct links from the home page, site map, and navigation system to important destination pages to
- Use RSS feeds with backlinks to encourage subscriptions and visits and to boost search rankings.
- Reduce HTML file size by embracing web accessibility standards and improve the density of keywords.
Boutin, Paul Search Optmization -- FREE!
Morville, Peter. Ambient Findabilty. O'Reilly: Sebastopol. 2005.
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