Category Archives: Systems

University Library Web Update | September 2017

New Web Development & Feature Release Schedule

Beginning this semester, the web development team will update the website on a monthly basis, on the first Wednesday of each month. Previously, new releases went up every two weeks. We hope that the new schedule will allow more time for testing and feedback. Here’s what’s planned for this semester:

  • October: Bug fixes and improvements to some smaller issues, including:
    • adding proxied URLs for database results in the Library Search
    • using Browzine to power journals search results in the Library Search
  • November: System updates (no new features)
  • December: Update to improve how our hours display

Preview upcoming changes on the staging site.

Upcoming Projects

The Discovery Services Advisory Group has been working on a new “Advanced Search” prototype that we will begin testing this semester with faculty and graduate students.

The “bento” style search currently on the home page was designed to address the needs of users looking for a quick, Google-like search; the Advanced Search feature would address the other end of the spectrum, providing lots of options to initially filter a search for users looking for specific formats and known resources.

More information to come!

LibGuides Workshops

Thank you to everyone who attended, and for your feedback on future workshops! A total of 12 people responded to the survey of LibGuides authors. Popular topics for future workshops included:

  • Best practices for instructional design (8 votes)
  • Using analytics and data to make decisions (6 votes)
  • Using images in your guides (6 votes)

Suggestions for future workshops included:

  • Examples of LibGuides that use best practices (either UIC or other institutions)
  • Review of how to perform specific editing tasks, including resizing images

In addition, some respondents noted that early summer would be a better time for a LibGuides workshop.




University Library Web Update | July 2017

Journals search interface improvements

Tuesday, 7/11

Take a look at the new journals and e-journals search after it is live on Tuesday, July 11th (also linked from the home page search box). It will feature a cleaner interface, and a responsive design that works better on tablets and phones. Just note, the new interface will not be available before Tuesday July 11th.

The search functionality isn’t changing, with one exception: e-books will no longer appear in the journals search. This change is based on feedback that the Discovery Services Advisory Group (DSAG) received from faculty.

We are trying out the new interface for a trial period before classes begin in the fall. Please send any feedback you have to You can read more about the new interface in the documentation for the E-Journals Portal 2.0.

Directory enhancements

July and August 2017

The Library staff directory will feature new filters to locate liaisons and Library faculty, improved search, and a new departments listing page. The first round of enhancements will go live on Wednesday, July 12 and additional features will go live in early August.

New subject categories for Subject and Course Guides and databases


Subject and Course Guides and the Databases list feature new subject browse categories, selected based on extensive research and interviews from Kavita Mundle. Now students, faculty and researchers will be better able to find the right databases to search.” Please check them out and share with patrons.

UIC Photo Services changes focus

During fall 2016, the Library will discontinue its original photography service.  Any photography sessions already scheduled will be completed, but Photo Services will not accept new photography requests.

Other services listed on the Photo Services website (such as reproductions from Special Collections and University Archives and orders from stock photography or previous assignments) will be maintained.

If you have any questions please call (312) 413-7463 or email

New Library website debuts August 9

The new library website will launch on Tuesday, August 9!  At that time, the old website will no longer be available. You can preview the site until August 9 when the only the new site will be available at

Why is there a new Library website?

  • The previous site was not designed to work for phones, tablets, or small screens. The new site is optimized to work on devices of any size.
  • Accessibility and technology standards have changed dramatically since our last site was launched in 2009. The new site will work much better for people with different abilities.
  • The Library will be able to make changes and improvements more rapidly on our new platform.
  • Based on feedback from UIC students and faculty, we knew we needed a site that makes information easier to scan and digest, so the new site features concise content and less jargon.

What if I get complaints from library users?

In any project where there are big changes to what people are used to using, there will be some complaints. Emphasizing the benefits of the new site–that it works better for different screen sizes and for people with disabilities–will go a long way.

Any library faculty or staff should feel free to send a message on behalf of any users to Be sure to collect the users’ contact information if they would like a response.

What can I expect on the day of the launch?

  • Google indexing of the new site will take some time. You may see the old site in search results for up to one day.
  • With the new site, we’ll be moving to LibChat as our chat platform and updating the chat widgets across our web presence.
  • LibGuides will get a new look and feel to match the new website.

What can I expect after launch?

  • More changes will come in the fall, as we continuously update the site based on feedback from students, faculty, and staff.
  • Planned updates over the next year include:
    • Bento search (read more about bento search in this article:
    • Directory improvements, including filters by subject or liaison areas.

Where can I find ____from the old site?

The Help section of the site contains information about library services including:

  • Course reserves
  • Library instruction
  • Interlibrary loan and article delivery
  • Refworks, and other tools for citation management

You can also search for services by keyword or filter by topic area on the Help search results.

The Collections section will help you find additional tools to search library resources–including the Classic Catalog, located on the Books & Media page.

Chat is available from any page on the site. The directory is searchable by employee name or keyword (for liaisons)–so you can look up title, liaison area, or search for “liaison” to pull up a full list of liaisons.

If you have any questions, please email

Website Redesign Update #10

Help us plan a usability test!

The Web Advisory Group and additional Library faculty and staff will conduct usability testing on our beta site in July 2016. This will help us to identify any final changes we need to make before the site launches in August 2016.

We need your help identifying tasks students and/or faculty and staff at should be able to do on the site! Think about:

  • What are the most common questions you get on the service desks? Over email? Or chat?
  • What do people tell you they can’t find? Or that they aren’t sure how to do?
  • What are some stressful situations for our students, faculty and staff that you’ve helped with?

Enter in your suggested tasks or scenarios into the Task Brainstorming Spreadsheet by Monday, June 6th. You’ll also see some example tasks in the spreadsheet that can help get you started.

Email if you have any questions.



Website Redesign Update #9

Home page search design

The Discovery Systems Advisory Group (formerly the Summon Working Group) conducted usability testing with students with the wireframes, focusing especially on the home page search.

Based on the results, the group finalized the design that will appear on our beta site, which will be available for faculty, staff, and student input this summer.

Read the full wireframes usability report

View the wireframes

Web content

The Web Content Team has completed the initial drafts for all of the content for the site. We’ve asked the Steering Committee members to collect feedback from their departments.

The team is using a tool called Gather Content to draft content, which will be imported into WordPress in May. You will need to log in to Gather Content to view the drafts.

View the instructions to log in and view content

Also, I want to recognize everyone all of the library faculty and staff who lent their advice and expertise. If you see these people, thank them for their contributions!

Web Content Team

  • Alejandro Castro
  • Sandy De Groote
  • Isabel Gonzalez-Smith
  • Rosie Hanneke
  • Dan Harper
  • Amber Hoppenworth
  • Linda Naru
  • Tara Wood

Content consultants


  • Jen Bordy
  • Paula Dempsey
  • Peggy Glowacki
  • Val Harris
  • Glenda Insua
  • Becky Lowery
  • Scott Pitol
  • Tracy Seneca
  • Sonia Yaco


  • Jamie Dwyer
  • Jay Jurek
  • Kevin O’Brien


  • Karen Luna


  • Janet McMahon
  • Leslie Wedel


  • Ryan Rafferty
  • Jenny Taylor


Website Redesign Update #8

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on both the mockups and the wireframes! We’ve incorporated your feedback, and development has started on the front-end display of the site.

A few frequently asked questions came up. Those of you who left your email address and requested a response should have received an email. If you didn’t leave an email however, I wanted to make sure your questions are still addressed. Here are the answers to some of those questions.

Mockups FAQ

What is with the Latin/Spanish?

Mockups (which show the visual design of a site) and wireframes (which show the layout and organization of the site) often use placeholder text, called lorem ipsum. It allows designers to focus on colors, fonts, and other display elements without having to also generate a ton of content.

Where is the Services page?

In our usability testing, the existing Services section of our site was problematic:

  • We have a lot of services, making them difficult to navigate to in a traditional hierarchical menu.
  • The differences between “Services” and “Collections” in the primary navigation was not always clear.

Instead, we’re using the Help knowledge base – a collection of over 100 articles, tagged by location and topic, that will connect users to information on how to use our services, resources, and collections. Help articles pertinent to particular locations or collections will also appear on the pages for those collections or locations.

What are Top Tasks? How are they selected?

These are the sections of the site where our Help knowledge base content appears. “Top Tasks” may be relabeled based on usability testing. They’ll be selected manually for each page to ensure they’re consistent throughout a semester – there were some concerns students might be confused if the Top Tasks change throughout the semester based on usage.

Can Top Tasks be customized to a particular library/page?

Yes! The highlighted Top Tasks that appear on pages are Help Articles that will be manually curated. Individual locations can choose which articles to highlight based on your location. There are also tags for each location, so you can link to all of the articles for a particular location as well. “My Accounts” will display articles related to setting up your library accounts. Collections pages (Articles, Databases, Special Collections, etc.) will display help about using those collections.

Is there an About page?

Yes, there is a whole About section! Our About page is being written by Linda Naru, and it will feature information about our mission, vision, usage, and possibly some information about our departments (in a later phase, we plan to implement a more robust directory with pages for departments). You just saw a small sample of our pages in the mockups.

Where are the “quick links” to …. Databases A-Z? Research Guides? PubMed? Another Resource?

A key finding in our usability studies was that “quick links” (such as those that appear on the current site in the home page search box) are very confusing for students. They don’t always know what they mean, and many of our resources – including databases, journals, and research guides – need to be presented with some context. It seems like “fewer clicks” equals “saving user effort,” but that’s not necessarily the case. Our goal should be to help our users make confident decisions through elegant handoffs to the different areas of our web presence – saving them the experience of clicking around, feeling frustrated or disoriented, and giving up.

Can the search box…Have different labels? Search a different tool?

The search box on the mockups is not final. The Discovery Systems Working Group will complete usability testing and finalize the design based on the results of that testing. Keep an eye out for that in April.

Do we need an alert? What will go in the alerts?

We actually have an alert set up for our current site. These will be managed by Linda Naru, and alerts will be posted in the event of library closings, down time for essential online services, or any other emergency matters. Most of the time, the alert will not appear on the site.

Where is the chat widget (Ask-A-Librarian)?

Don’t worry! The chat widget will appear on every page. Our designer is still working on the designs for that.

Will the search box appear throughout the site?

A site search will appear throughout the site (the magnifying glass in the upper right). The home page search box will just appear on the home page; the Help search will just appear on the help pages.

Why isn’t_________ resource on My Accounts? Contact Us? Collections?

The mockups use placeholder text, so you’re not seeing the efforts that have gone into the content and descriptions for the tools, resources, and information featured on these pages. You’ll have a chance to provide feedback on content soon.

Will we have dropdown menus?

We won’t have drop down menus. One of the big issues in our usability testing was throwing out labels without context – i.e. students see “journals” or “databases” and they don’t know what that means – and a dropdown menu by nature just shows labels.


Thanks again for your feedback, and more updates coming soon!

Website Redesign Update #7

Website Mockups

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the wireframes. We now have mockups of our new website that show the site colors, fonts, and features. WAG already reviewed the first round, and Pixo incorporated their feedback. Now its time for everyone to take a look!

Please provide your feedback through this Qualtrics survey by Tuesday, March 1st.

Search Box Usability Testing

I’ve been working with the Summon Working Group to design the home page search box. We’ll be doing usability testing with students the week of March 14th. If you have access to any student groups or listservs that we can use to recruit students, please get in touch at

Web Content

The Web Content Team has been hard at work writing and gathering the new content for the site. We’ll have the first drafts of all the site content ready in mid-March.

Up Next

We’ll share the design for the site search box soon, after usability testing with students is complete. There will also be opportunities for feedback on site content. Keep your eyes out on the ULIB blog and for all-staff emails for updates.


Lessons from cloud computing: embrace failure to succeed, 2/26

The Library will view the ACM Learning Series webinar, Fail Better: Radical Ideas from the Practice of Cloud Computing, on Friday February 26 at 1 p.m. in Daley Library conference room 1-470.

Tom Limoncelli will give radical advice from his book The Practice of cloud system administration.  Promotional material for the webinar states, “Distributed or ‘cloud’ computing involves many moving parts, any of which can break or fail. Succeeding in this environment requires embracing failure, not running or hiding from it. To do this requires challenging our instincts with radical ideas.”

Topics include:

  • Create resiliency at the most economic level
  • Do risky procedures often
  • Create a blameless culture to encourage communication and improve system reliability.
    Attendees will be inspired to think differently about how they build resilient distributed systems and will see how to put these ideas into practice.