Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Database A-Z List Migration & Usability

Work note about A-Z migration

The first usability test of the year is almost upon us! Next week Thursday we’ll have three students help us test the new LibGuides Database A-Z page, as well as a few other things on our site. As a reminder, we’re hoping to migrate off of our home-grown database A-Z list to the LibGuides one for a few reasons:

  • The homegrown system will not work with the new campus version of GVSU’s CMS. In order to migrate, campus Web Team (or me) would have to build a new one from scratch.
  • We’ve had a content strategists’ nightmare trying to keep all the database links up-to-date in LibGuides. Now, with the new asset functionality, we’ve streamlined some parts of maintaining these links1, so centralizing the database information here makes sense.
  • We have to ask the campus web team to make every little change to the homegrown system, so we can’t be as responsive as we’d like with quick usability fixes. We control the LibGuides page 100%.

I’m still working out the details of exactly what the scenarios we present to our students will be next week, but they will likely be similar to ones we’ve used before: find a database in a particular subject or find a database your professor told you to use (both scenarios are common enough in assignments given around here). I’ll likely tailor the specific databases and such to the students we end up testing, so that they won’t worry that they’re not familiar enough with the discipline to complete the task (a common concern, it seems).

I’ve already made a few small tweaks to the LibGuides Database A-Z list, mostly to make it fit better into our current look and feel (and make things line up properly since we got rid of the “search by vendor” drop down). After the test, we’ll hopefully have some more ideas for improvements, and I’ll continue doing more informal testing until the semester ends. If all goes well before then, we’ll redirect all the old database links to the new LibGuides list, and we’ll start the Spring/Summer semesters with a new A-Z list.

You can try out the new list now (No need to wait!). You’ll find it at

  1. While creating new problems, of course. Sigh.