If you haven’t yet heard, we’re about to launch an updated, totally redesigned and mobile-friendly version of our library website. In preparation for its reveal, I thought I’d look back over the decades to see how the library homepage has evolved. Our website has gone through many incarnations since its inception in 1995. The first version I could dig up (shared here before) featured just ten links and a punchy hot pink welcome in to students in 1998.
By 2000, the library had begun offering “Pathfinders” or guides to library and other online content by subject (sound familiar?). Before the dominance of Google and its search, such directories and curated lists were the best hope of navigating the already vast sea of information.
This version is also the first to include an image, giving us peek into the technology of the day. Remember CRT monitors and floppy discs? 2001 brought GIFs and an expanded online collections. One of the “hot” offerings was DIALOG, a text-based Boolean search database that could only be accessed on-campus. Proquest and Ebsco can still prove confusing, but they’ve come a long way since those days.
This version stuck around for a while, with minor updates, into 2007. One addition was Central Search, precursor to QuickSearch and our first “meta search” that allowed you to look for books and articles in one place. I don’t think “Googlize” caught on, but you can see Google’s massive impact even here.
Next comes the first iteration of a design that many of you may remember, used throughout Touro College web pages. Most of the items on the page will be familiar to current users, though the role of librarians as indexers of the internet remains intact in the subject directories and portal listings. In the wake of the heyday of AIM and MSN, 2008 was the year that the libraries first offered chat reference, answering questions via instant message. In 2009, library staff worked to put together the first Faculty Publications book and online database. As bandwidth increased and video conferencing technologies improved, the libraries began offering online workshops for faculty beginning in 2010.
2011 saw the continued influence of Google with the introduction of a centralized tabbed search box, offering access to QuickSearch, the catalog, databases, and eJournals from one place. Later that year, the library got (mildly) hip to social media and added links to their Facebook and twitter presences. Streaming video content, and a new tab on the search box, were added in 2012.
This version has much in common with the library website you are probably most familiar with, but it was January 2013 that brought the demise of the sidebar, an updated header, and a new blue and orange color scheme. The TC Library Blog (which has gone through several redesigns of its own) published its first post that February.
The latest version of the website will go live shortly, but here’s a sneak peak! For more on the redesign process, what changes we made, and why, look for part two of this post, coming soon.
What do you think about the new site?