Make a Sticky Web Site

Article excerpt

Make a Sticky Web Site Library Web Sites: Creating Online Collections and Services by A. Paula Wilson Chicago: American Library Association, 2004 ISBN: 0-8389-0872-1 146 pages $35

No doubt your library already has some sort of Web site. It was probably created and launched with some fanfare. Now comes the hard part. How do you keep it fresh, new, and up-to-date? How do you encourage contributions while maintaining continuity? How can you make your site appeal to users who visit flashy commercial sites every day? How do you create "sticky content" that will encourage visitors to linger and explore the site? These are questions that all Web site developers and managers need to think about, but, in libraries, we usually do not have huge amounts of time or money to devote to these efforts. A. Paula Wilson has compiled many helpful ideas that will give us a head start on a great library Web site.

Wilson is currently adult services coordinator at the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District. She was formerly manager of virtual library services for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, where her duties included managing its awardwinning Web site. She has written articles for library publications and is the contributing editor of the Tech Talk column in Public Libraries magazine. Her experience has acquainted her with a wide variety of electronic library services, most of them in the public library arena. Her goal in Library Web Sites is to provide "information on the delivery of online services and collections using the guiding principles of librarianship and established web standards to help mold library services for the future."

The first few chapters deal with design issues. Wilson starts right off with a chapter on planning your Web site. Planning encompasses the creation of templates or cascading style sheets (CSS) to govern the look of the Web site, as well as standardization of graphics and terms used. After convincing us that planning is key, she touches on the vital issue of staffing: "A staff member with an enterprisewide knowledge of the library's mission and strategy should manage the library Web site. Libraries that have a successful online presence realize that the Web site encompasses all aspects of its organization." The next chapter, "Information Architecture," discusses how to construct your site and provide site maps and indexing. Wilson also mentions usability (figuring out user needs and capabilities and making your site work for them). This process includes user testing as part of the design process.

Next, Wilson leads us through marketing-that is, promoting the library via the Web. …