Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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October 2014 Project Updates

Since July I have only been on campus Tuesday through Thursday, and that schedule continues until January. However, I’ve still got a lot going on. It’s time for my monthly project update!

Knowledge Base

I’m currently creating an audit of all the common pain points our users run into when they use our online tools so that we can create useful, relevant self-service help and better understand what kinds of things belong in our knowledge base. I was also working on building an application that would integrate the knowledge base, chat, and email ticketing, but I’ve learned that Springshare is developing the same tool, so I’m focusing on content and letting them build the tool.

Kristin and I are also working out the details of how this new tool will integrate into the workflow for UX folks.

CMS 4 Migration

For at least the past 5 years we have been running the same version of GVSU’s home-grown Content Management System (CMS) for maintaining the website. A lot has changed in the past 5 years, and the Web Team has responded by creating a terrific new CMS (Version 4) that makes maintaining content easier and ensures that content adapts to any device. Our workflow for updating content is extremely inefficient right now, because everything has to be written and updated in HTML to take advantage of our style guide, but that causes bottlenecks since I’m the only person who can make the changes. This means sometimes our pages get out of date, like the Jobs page, because I’m not involved in new searches and am not aware of when changes have to be made. CMS4 will allow me to focus more on governance of the content and less on content design and making updates because I can open up content management to the folks who know the content.

Before we move forward I’ll be doing a complete inventory of all of our content, trying to understand how often it needs to be updated and reviewed, who owns it, what is appropriate for the content, and what the life span of the content is (no content lives forever). I’ve been working on new content style guides to help folks who might want to maintain their own content, and am working with Institutional Marketing to get back to a more “stock” installation of the CMS, since we’ve acquired a number of custom functions over the years that make updating our site a challenge.

I’m still in the early stages of this project, so look for more updates here soon.

Database Trials

I’m working with Jeff, Erin, Mary Morgan, and Sarah to get a few database trials up and running. Once we have the content and links from providers, Mary will set up EZProxy and I’ll get the web page up, and Erin will get an ad up on the website. As before, the trials page will also include a space for folks to send in feedback. Look for that early next week, and we’ll run the trials through the month of November.


I have been checking in with folks individually to see if help is needed, but will still offer more scripted “help sessions” if the need arises. (So far, I’ve had very few questions on LibGuides 2, and no duplicate questions. Unless that changes, I don’t sense a need for more formal training. Let me know if you disagree.)

We’re also working with Springshare to improve the way assets work, especially database assets. As it stands now, here are some of the upcoming changes (targeted for mid-November):

  • Ownership of assets has been very confusing and is effectively meaningless. Assets will no longer be “owned” by anyone.
  • when you reuse an asset on your guide, you will be able to change most of the information, including the title, description, whether the link opens in a new window or not, etc. the only thing you can’t change is the URL, since that’s what makes the asset unique. ERMS will continue to manage database assets, so that default descriptions and links are up-to-date. Eventually we still hope to replace our home-grown database A-Z list with the LibGuides list.

Special Collections Website/Preservica

This project had been shelved for some time while we worked out what would be replacing CONTENTdm. Now that we are migrating to Preservica, Max, Nancy, and I are drawing up new plans of how to integrate the new CMS4 Special Collections site with Preservica (Digital Collections), Archives Space (Finding Aids), and the OPAC (books).

Usability Testing

You may have noticed that we haven’t had a formal usability test yet this semester. Until I have a better sense of the timeframe for migrating to the new CMS4, I didn’t want to put too much into working on old layouts and systems, especially with the limited time I am on-campus. I plan to start regular tests up again in January. In the meantime we do continue ad hoc tests on the changes that we make to get quick feedback from students and faculty. (Basically this means that when a problem comes up, we might go out and talk to some students in the library, gather data, and try out a new design solution. We then immediately test it informally with students in the library.)

Weave Journal of Library User Experience

Not part of my Web duties, but the journal Kyle, Pete Coco, and I started nearly 2 years ago published its first issue earlier this month. Have a look and tell us what you think, and share it with your colleagues.

In addition to all this, at home I’ve been busy with these two!

Sissy and the bean
Obligatory kid photo

That’s October! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.