Over the last few weeks I have been working on making some long overdue updates to the Library Technology Guides site. Changes target design, organization, and technical implementation. While I have continuously added new content to the site, there has been little time for reworking the design, which had been in place for almost a decade. The new design should improve its usability, especially for new visitors.
A number of improvements were made to the technical infrastructure for the site. Library Technology Guides is based on a content management system that I developed in perl. This project has also involved programming some new capabilities into that underlying platform in addition to moving the site to a new server environment.
I hope that these improvements will not only make the site a bit more attractive, but that they will also result in better usability and faster performance. Some of the major changes include:
- Server replacement. The site now runs on a substantially faster server which should boost overall performance.
- The server operating system is now Microsoft Windows 2008 R2.
- Other upgraded components include MySQL, MySQL ODBC Connector, and ImageMagick.
- The primary url for the site is now librarytechnology.org instead of the previous www.librarytechnology.org.
- The site now implements HTML5
- Layout managed through CSS, with tables used only for forms.
- A new navigational menu has been implemented to replace the list of links that were previously offered through a column on the left side of the page. The new navigation provides significant improvement in browsing to content on the site. The menus were created using the Superfish jQuery plug-in. Additional improvements using jQuery will be phased in over time.
- The database of libraries on the site is now called "libraries.org" instead of lib-web-cats. The former name was always a bit cumbersome. I have acquired the libraires.org domain, which redirects to librarytechnology.org/libraries.
- Directory entries in libraries.org have been enhanced with schema.org microdata. Google's rich snippet validation tool shows the structured data exposed.
- The basic search page for libraries.org has been redesigned.
- The initial search performs a general keyword query spanning multiple fields.
- Checkbox selections provide a convent way to search by specific library types. By default school libraries are deselected, since the very large number of these in the database which easily overwhelm results.
- A panel of additional search options (Type, City, County, State, Country) is hidden by default, but can be opened by clicking on the +.
- The advanced search, which provides query options for almost all fields, such as by the technology products implemented, continues to be available to registered members.
- The persistent link for library entries now follows the form: librarytechnology.org/libraries/library.pl?id=1.
- The previous link format will be redirected.
- Member login process has been improved. Passwords are now stored as a salted hash, consistent with standard practice.
- Pages related to login and password maintenance are now secure and encrypted.
- Session processing has been improved for better performance and lower resource use.
- Changes in content and organization include:
Marshall Breeding Jul 26, 2014 15:10:28 Link to this thread