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Mashing and Remixing the Library

Library websites frequently suffer from problems. Karen Coombs and Rachel Vacek from the University of Houston libraries described some of the problems and how they built their own content management system for library departments. Among the problems are:
  • Information on the library’s website is maintained by a group of people with varying skill levels.
  • Library websites incorporate information from many different sources.
  • The same information is repeated in many places on the site.
  • Users want library information at their fingertips wherever they are.
  • Library information should be integrated into the curriculum.
So after looking at Drupal, iGooglenetvibes, and WordPress, they built their own system (which now has 1,500 pages) using the six pillars of Web 2.0:
  • Radical decentralization. Sharing the wealth and control of content. Make people feel that they are in control.
  • Small pieces loosely joined. All pieces are controlled in the system, but different systems are used for different functions.
  • Remixable content. Content is used in many places on the system. Microformats are used to designate contact information, events, etc.
  • Perpetual beta. The system is always being developed and enhanced.
  • Users as contributors
  • A rich user experience.
Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator
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