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Library Website


1. Introduction: The website is a distinct location on the internet, identified by an Internet Protocol (IP) address and can be accessed by using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request. The website consists of all interrelated webpages residing at the IP address. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the pages organizes them into a hierarchy. The home page is the first page which loaded automatically when one enters only a domain name as URL in a web browser. To take the visitors to other pages the home page carries hyperlinks, so that one can jump between pages by clicking on a link. The homepage may be the only or the first page of a website, or may be act as a guide to various carefully planned sections of a large professionally designed website.
Websites are written in, or dynamically converted to, Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and are accessed using a software package called a web browser. WebPages can be viewed on computers or various portable devices like Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)s, cell phones, etc. that have internet-capable functionality and a functional internet connection.
A library website is a distinct location on the internet, identified by an Internet Protocol (IP) address and can be accessed by using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request and provide information, services or facilities to the user over the web.

2. Factors for Contents Identification: The content of a library website will be very much like the content of a traditional library pathfinder. The following factors can be considered in design and development of contents for library website.
a) Consideration of Five Laws of Library Science: The five laws of library science is the base of content identification for any library related website. It will give a direction regarding what kind of information should be incorporated into the website and what not.
b) Observation of Librarian and Staff: Observation of the librarian and library staff regarding how the students or patrons use the classroom, center, or library; how do they use the Internet, how much time do they spend on particular pages, do they actually read off the screen or do the scroll, click, and print? etc. can be important for content identification. Other subject specialist librarians with an understanding of the goals of the libraries can also be asked to provide lists of materials for inclusion in the website.
c) Studying Popular Websites: The librarian should also spend some time exploring some best library websites currently available on the web. The librarian can also consult Awwwards (http://www.awwwards.com), CSS Design Awards (https://www.cssdesignawards.com), CSS Winner (https://www.csswinner.com), Web Awards (http://www.webaward.org), etc. to study world best website in different subject area.
d) Conducting a Recent Survey: Talking with the library user to know how do they use the web? What things make them frustrated? What do they think is missing from the web? What local information would be useful? How would they prefer information to be organized etc. is important for contents identification. The librarian also needs to find out things like the reading level of their users and their language preference. Are there any groups in their community that have special interests such as the elderly or children? What kinds of services would the patrons of the library like to see online? Should the primary purpose be informational, instructional, or promotional? The librarian should make a choice among the answer of such questions.
            The librarian should also see what people look for by checking out social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Ask.com, blog, discussion forum related to library, Google groups, Yahoo groups, news sites such as Google News, Blog, things people ask on Yahoo answers, Amazon, and so on.
e) Recent Probable Keywords: Most people use search engines to look for the websites. So, what keywords they used might be an important thing for the librarian to consider. The librarian can get this from Keyword Discovery (http://www.keyworddiscovery.com), Google Ads: Keyword Planner (https://ads.google.com/aw/keywordplanner/home), etc

3. Types of Contents: The webpage developer must give their visitors what user want, not what s/he himself want, then only the user will love to visit the site and will appreciate it. It will also make the user recommend a particular website to their friends. There are many types of content that can be included in the Library website. How does librarian choose? The following gives a light in this regard.

3.1 Based on Depth of Information: Based on the depth of the information, the content can be-
a) Bibliographic Sources: The website should provide links to catalogues, bibliographic indexes, directories, citation indexes and other finding tools.
b) Reference Sources: The website should acquire dictionaries, encyclopedias, glossaries, thesaurus etc for reference purpose.
c) Information Sources: Books, journals, maps, images, statistics, and other media that meets the user need should directly be accessible from the website.
            In a public library website there might be links to student, teacher and parent sections or there might be special sections for children, adult and elder.

3.2 Based on Thought Content: Based on the thought contents, the library webpage content may be of the following types-
a) Essential Contents: WebPages should start with the basics i.e. About Us, Library Staff, Library Collection, Library Services, and Contact Us and so on.
i) About Us: Many library websites have a page that contains background information about the library. It is the page that provides information about the library name, mission, philosophical and historical foundation of the library, objectives, history, functions, opening and closing time, parent institution/ organization of the library, development plans, library departments, cooperating institutions, library network, computer equipment, virtual tour, statistics, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and so on. They may also contain updates such as information about construction or gifts.
ii) Library Staff: The Library Staff page can include the name of the staff working in the library, their designation, contact information, a passport size or group photographs, a hierarchical structure of the staff, their responsibilities and so on.
iii) Library Collection: A list and description of all collections and their special features may be included. It may also provide links to the resources and services which can be accessed by one and all. Under this category the dictionary, thesaurus, glossary, encyclopedia, electronic books, open access journal, electronic databases, directories and resource guides and searching tools may be included. It can also list out the non book material, government and official publications, local information, special collections, and so on.
iv) Library Services: Book reservations, online book renewals, electronic document delivery service are just a few of the services now offered online by many libraries and therefore be included in a particular website.
v) Contact Us: Location of the library within the parent organization, within the state and within the country as a whole (geographic), its complete addresses or “Contact Us” information (physical, phone, fax, email), embedded Google Map may be useful to the users.
b) Announcement: It is good if one will be able to consider links to local news as well as global news sources related to library or current information in the field. This may include new web resources; current local events, and new acquisitions, lists of new materials arrived at the library, upcoming events, and current job notification. If the web developer want visitors to look at the special announcement, then it is better to place them in the home page itself. The websites may also provide Email and RSS subscription option for the updates from the website.
c) Interactive Contents: The users are learning best by doing. For getting the users involved with the website it must contain a two-way communication channel. The librarian should ask the user to submit feedback or query or other similar things, should ask them to involve with online discussions or posting book reviews and so on. It will also be better if the website include a comment section in all of its pages or online registration forms, a guestbook for comments and such others. Email has become a popular tool, guest book, ask-an-expert, chat room and group, forum (by using blog technology, social networking, etc) should also be added to the library to get the feedback and to build group activities for modification of the site so that it is tailored to the user need and purpose. The websites should also be a starting point for a discussion and collaboration with other similar institution / organization / libraries.
d) Local / Unique Contents: The library should consider those things that will make their website unique. It is better to post or share local events and information of interest and so on. Online help to the users should be structured to provide guidance and do the practice by themselves.
e) Legal Issues: Intellectual freedom, licensing policy, copyright, citing sources, content disclaimer, and plagiarism are just a few of the other issues important to libraries. One may wish to include resources related to these topics also. A disclaimer sentence is also necessary stating the statement of content responsibility, copyright, use statement; not responsible for external links, etc.
f) Others: Besides the above, the library website can also have the name, address, email id of the website developer to report the problem faced by the user of the website, date of origin and updates of the website so that other can cite the website properly. The collection development policies may also be included. The public library website must contain link for online donation under support us or make a donation.
The website can also have a site search facility. Implementing search services like Google’s custom search (https://cse.google.com) might be something the libraries wants to do. The inclusion of Sitemaps may be considered must so that the site is indexed by Google and other general purpose search engine properly. Many websites also link to related libraries or organizations.
Webpage contents can also be identified based on its position in the webpage such as header information, middle contents, footer information and so on. Footer information will include developer’s name, address, email, date of origin and updates of the website, support us /make a donation, sitemaps and so on.

4. Principles for Designing a Website: The web was born to make information sharing easier; therefore, we must ignore unessential contents like banners, graphics and animation, etc. We should focus exclusively on the information users are looking for. In designing the website much stress need to be given to the home page, as it is the first and foremost page the user will likely or forced to visit. In designing the website all other future growth and development should also be considered. The following guiding principles are suggested for the development of a website-
a) Self Describing: A website should have enough information for completing a specific task. It should direct where to start, and with the sites information architecture, in particular with interpreting the categories and their labels.
b) Maintaining Identity: Correct usage of names, logos and seals must be followed and it should be consistent across the site.
c) Targeted and Timely Response: User interfaces should be designed to get users started in the direction most likely to result in success for their current need. The system should provide a response time that is acceptable to the user.
d) Integrate Various Information Sources: Wherever appropriate, webpages should provide, to each level of user, a single interface that transparently integrates separate resources (e.g., dictionary, glossary, encyclopedia, etc).
e) User-centered Design: The webmaster along with the designer of the website always needs to remain committed to the primary goal of the user i.e. providing the user the tool necessary to use the online resources to succeed in their information seeking. Design need to be focused on how the user will use the system. To have a proper user-centered design in place, the following should be taken care of-
i) Provide clear Instructions on use: Help button should be easy to find; the help instructions should be focused on the concrete steps to be carried out and be brief.
ii) Jargon-free: The interface should speak the users’ language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than using jargon, acronyms, and system-oriented terms. The names of library services and systems or their explanatory labels should reflect what they do.
iii) Consistent Identification: Standard language and terminology should be used throughout the website to refer to the same activity or item.
iv) Refer User to Human Assistance: The website should be able to refer a user who needs more help to a person.
f) Maintain User Task Context: The user interface should keep users informed about where they are in the session and as much as possible, help them keep their place in the web-based user interfaces.
g) Maintain Setting Visibility: The objects, actions, and options should be visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another.
h) Continuously Evaluated and Updated: To keep the website looking fresh and up-to-date it constantly needs to be reviewed and new capabilities need to be added.
i) Keeping Broken Links to a Minimum: All necessary steps like checking broken link automatically and periodically should be taken to reduce the number of broken links.
j) Provide Support for Multiple Browsers: The website need to be accessible to a number of different Browsers and versions.
k) Comply with Copyright Policies: The website should comply with all policies and guidelines of the institute, country and the world as a whole.
l) Comply with all State and Federal Regulations: The website should comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) (http://www.ada.gov) and Section 508 (http://www.section508.gov) requirements.
m) Comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: The website should comply with the web content accessibility guideline as outlined by the W3C (http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505/full-checklist.html).
n) Simple, and Clean Navigation Option: To assist users the interface should provide useful, consistent navigational tools / bars that represent the most-used navigational features.
o) Searching Option: The website should provide a single search box for all resources in the website. It may also provide tips for improving search results to assist users in locating the information.
p) Browsing Option:  A hierarchical, supplemental, or contextual browsing approach should be provided to user.
q) Sitemaps: The website should provide Extensible Markup Language (XML) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML) variant of the sitemaps for the user and the search engines.
r) Facilitate Comment and Feedback: Users should be able to easily report problems they encounter with website, databases, applications and search engine. Feedback forms should be widely available.
s) Data Security and Integrity: All those intending to place information on the website should test it for data security and should seek approval from the authority.
            The web page developer should also have a clear idea of the features that improve a website, and those that degrade its quality. The improving features may include, but not limited to- easy to navigate, logical in structure; and pleasant appearance. Characteristics to avoid include- unclear means of navigation, crowded pages, etc.

5. Webpage Formatting Guideline: Adhering to the following general guideline will help to build a useful website.
a) File Name: The file name should not have any space and special character. The file names of a webpage, if possible should be very short, and should represent contents and are of memorable value.
b) Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): CSS can create and control the style of the page (colors, sizes, spacing) as well as the layout (the position of text, navigation, graphics). It is also a time saving mechanism in building WebPages. So, whenever possible CSS should be used in the webpages.
c) Responsive Design: Responsive Web design (RWD) aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience-easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). In case of websites that don’t use up all of the available space, liquid design should be introduce to fixes the problem by making the layout fit to the screen.
d) Colors and Fonts: The following can be treated as a general guideline about colors and fonts.
i) Font: The types of fonts that work best on websites are sans serif. To make the text attractive to read, the webpage developer can use different sizes and colors for headings, subheadings and paragraphs giving plenty of space in between.
ii) Background Colors: The rule of thumb is to build a website with dark text on light colored background or white background.
e) Links: People learned early on that links were the blue, underlined phrases one can click on. Visited links were purple. All other text is black. So if possible, webmasters should be consistence in maintaining this guideline.
f) Navigation: The home page should act as guide to all the first level web pages. It is better to build a horizontal menu bar with 7 to 10 options maximum in the homepage. Creation of a left hand side menu to list options at first level pages is a good idea. All other pages should point back to the home page and any other important “first level” pages. If possible, it is better to avoid drop down menus.
g) Browsing: The website must provide browsing using a hierarchical or contextual approach.
h) Loading Speed: For any educational site loading speed is foremost important thing than anything else. The website designer can cut load times to a minimum by taking out any graphic that doesn’t add to the user experience, by using CSS instead of font tags to style the text, etc.
i) Graphics:  The webmaster should accept the fact that words is the core reason people visit their website. Graphics should be used only when they are essential to communicate something that is not possible to with words alone.
j) Sound: In incorporating sound in the webpage, developer should be sure that sounds attract rather than distract from the content. Again, if sound is necessary to include in the website, kindly don’t make set it to auto play.
k) GIF Animation: The webmaster should choose animations that contribute to the theme, otherwise they should be avoided.
l) Technical Standard: Website should used existing standards related to hardware, software, graphics, Email, and almost everything related to the Internet.

6. Prerequisite for Website Design and Development: To design and develop a website, the following prerequisite are needed-
a) Operating System: An Operating System (OS) is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. One can use any one from Windows / Macintosh / UNIX machine to create Webpages, but the speed of the computer’s modem or Network Interface Controller (NIC) should be at least 28.8 Kbps, and faster is better.
b) Web Browser: A web browser is a computer program that interprets HTML commands to collect, arrange, and display the parts of a webpage. Browser contact a Web server, send a request for information, receives the information and display the information on the local system. According to StatCounter (https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share#monthly-202001-202004-bar) during the period of January 2020 to April 2020, usage share of desktop browsers is Chrome (63.85%), Safari (18.08%), Firefox (4.5%), Samsung Internet (3.33%), UC Browser (2.21), Edge Legacy (2.18%), Opera (1.89%), and Internet Explorer (1.63%). People can get Google Chrome (http://www.google.com/chrome), Safari (https://www.apple.com/in/safari/), Firefox (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/) or Microsoft Internet Explorer (https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/internet-explorer.aspx) browsers free from the internet.
c) Internet Access: Internet access connects individual computer terminals, computers, mobile devices, and computer networks to the Internet, enabling users to access Internet services. One can either connect through the local network of the school / college / office / business house or even through the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) of Mobile connection. The data cards are also becoming popular.
d) Programming Language: A programming language is an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. A web page is created using a language called, HyperText Markup Language (HTML). eXtended HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML) are the new standard for webpage creation which are replacing the old fashioned HTML tags. Active Server Pages (ASP), Java Server Pages (JSP) and /or a host of other dynamic web-scripting languages can also be used to generate web pages.
            Whenever possible, the data transferred from the Web server to the browser will be in the form of XHTML documents. By adhering to the XHTML standards the website developer can reap all the benefits of XML, namely, separation of presentation from content, compatibility with future Web standards, and the ability to reformat content for different purposes and reading devices.
Dynamic HTML provides for user interactivity and real time element updating within webpages (i.e., pages don’t have to be loaded or reloaded to effect any changes), mainly using the Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript, support for which is built-in to most modern browsers.
A website also requires software known as an HTTP Server such as Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS), Apache, nginx, Google, etc.. Often websites may include content that is pulled from one or more databases or using XML-based technologies such as Rich Site Summary (RSS).
e) HTML Editors: An HTML editor is a computer program for creating webpages. Generally, the following types of editors are available for creating a webpage. They are-
i) Plain Text Editor: One can write the HTML tags within a plain text editor, such as Windows Notepad. People who are familiar with HTML can also use text editors such Norton Editor, EDIT or Macintosh Simple Text Editor and then insert the HTML commands to get the desired output.
ii) WYSIWYG Editor: What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) HTML editors provide an editing interface which resembles how the page will be displayed in a web browser. Google Web Designer (https://webdesigner.withgoogle.com/), Notepad++ (https://notepad-plus-plus.org), Quill (https://quilljs.com), Komodo IDE (https://www.activestate.com/products/komodo-ide/), Summer Note (https://summernote.org/), Brackets (http://brackets.io/), etc are good examples in this category.
iii) Online Editors: Now-a-days many web hosting service provider, provided the facility of generating webpage using their own softwares. They are easy to use. Such tools include – Blogger (http://www.blogger.com), Google Sites (http://sites.google.com), HTML Online (https://html-online.com/), etc.
f) Domain Name System (DNS): The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. DNS is an essential component of the functionality of the Internet. A domain name for the website is a must. Domain name is alphabetical form or easy to remember form of an IP address that is assigned to you in the form of a website with some Top Level Domain (TLD). DNS translates the numerical IP addresses like 68.73.129.32 to easily memorized domain names like lislinks.com needed for the purpose of locating computer services and devices worldwide. Domain Name Server (DNS) is the host. If it will not host and resolve the DNS, it will display an error like DNS address not found. If the domain you would like to purchase doesn’t have much demand, then the annual price of a domain name will comes in between Rs.300 to Rs.1000. Google Domains (https://domains.google) GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com), eNom, and Tucows Domains are some of the domain registers companies in the world.
It may be noted that people who design and develop their website by using Blogger (http://www.blogger.com), Google Sites (http://sites.google.com) and such other platform, a free sub-domain is provided by the company but this usually isn’t ideal for businesses and should probably be avoided and to host it in a custom domain, the developer need to purchase it from them or from any other company.
g) Internet Hosting Service: An Internet hosting service is a service that runs Internet servers, allowing organizations and individuals to serve content to the Internet i.e. it allows individuals and organizations to keep their files in a computer that is connected 24 X 7 X 365 and make it accessible to the whole world via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients and the clients can run anything they want. Hosting services are most often used for hosting Websites but can also be used for hosting files, images, photos, videos and other similar content. Go Daddy (http://www.godaddy.com), Ionos (https://www.ionos.com/), Hostgator.com (https://www.hostgator.com) are the top hosts in the world. However, when you choose a hosting service provider, if possible kindly select the same company from which you have purchased your domain. It will make your task a lot easier when you try to link your domain to your hosting account.
It may be noted that people who design and develop their website by using Blogger (http://www.blogger.com), Google Sites (http://sites.google.com) and such other platform, need not to spend on hosting as these companies host the information completely free of cost.
h) FTP Client: To make an HTML page part of the publicly accessible World Wide Web, one needs to transfer the HTML documents to a web server or upload the site by using FTP to a computer that is connected to the internet 24 hours a day. The FTP program should be available at the workstation, i.e., the user’s PC. An FTP client program sends a request to an FTP server asking for exchange of information and transfer files. The server in turn verifies whether the user is authorized to send or receive files and responds accordingly. Transferring of pages by using FTP client varies from one network to another depending on the network structure and server set-up. If one run his/her own web server, this procedure is simply a matter of copying the file to the right directory folder. Otherwise one can use FileZilla, CuteFTP, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Macromedia Dream Weaver, NerObjects Fusion, Adobe PageMill, Netscape Navigator, etc to upload the HTML files to the web server. One can also find many FTP program as shareware to be used for some days freely at Shareware.com (http://www.shareware.com).

7. Conclusion: Libraries of all types provide guidance to the user on evaluation of information sources before its consultation for a work. Same thing is followed in the website too. So, it is very much important that the website that is designed and developed for the library clearly mention the name of the author or developer of the website, date of publication / updation / revision within or below the webpage content itself. Again, people return to websites that are constantly posting new information. In addition, the librarian should develop a plan to update existing pages. The contents need to be updated regularly; no content should be left un-updated for a longer time.



How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanBadan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links (http://www.lislinks.com) - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the UGC NET Guide (http://www.netugc.com) and LIS Study (http://www.lisstudy.com) website.

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