QOTD: hiding things on the library website

Libraries struggle with how to present multiple digital materials on their websites. Here is The Oldie magazine on the rewards and frustrations of using public library websites.

First, get to know the catalogue; the entire regional catalogue is available for you to look at from home. You can search for a book, tape, CD or video by author, subject or title. That in itself is not too amazing, but the best bit is that you can then reserve the book and have it delivered to the closest library to you. They will send you an email when it is there, and off you go. Excellent. You can renew your books online, too. Secondly (and this is the fantastic bargain I mentioned), most libraries now offer the most wonderful opportunities for using the finest reference books online. It's an astonishing resource, but none of them, in my experience, promote it for what it is: the best new service to their customers for years and years....
This is a remarkable deal, and it should be headline news. But most libraries seem shy about it, and make the service hard to find on their website, sometimes very hard. It's a disgrace.
For example, Norfolk call the section `Online Subscriptions', Essex call it `Answers direct', Manchester has `24-hour library' and Leeds only mention it in passing on their catalogue page. My own library (Suffolk) has it hidden away under a small link called `Cyber-library', of all things. [The Oldie - SUPERBYWAYS]
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Comments: 2

Dec 11, 2006
Leo Klein

Well, on the plus side, this might mean we've gotten beyond the stage of 'Electronic Resources'.

Dec 13, 2006
Dean Smith

At Austin Public Library in Texas we bought a sidewalk sign. Every month we (I) paint a new advertisement for a "featured database". Database use has tripled! Not the highest-tech way to disperse info, but it got some results.