Redesigned Library Website: Give It a Test-Drive!

Click on the screenshot to see the new Duke University Libraries website (Duke on-campus access only).
Click on the screenshot to see the new Duke University Libraries website.

As we’ve mentioned here before, we’re getting ready to launch our redesigned Duke University Libraries website on October 14, during Duke’s Fall Break.

We’ve been documenting and testing our process for the better part of a year, and we greatly appreciate all the helpful feedback and comments our users have given us along the way. Your participation has made the process smoother and helped us make better-informed decisions about the design and functionality of our new site. Thank you!

With October 14 less than a week away, we’re ready to let the Duke community take our new website for a spin. We’re still tweaking some things and ironing out a few glitches, but we think it’s ready to share. Here’s a preview link on our development server:

(Note: This is a temporary link. Our new site will publicly go live at on October 14. All old URLs will be redirected to new ones.)

In our last post about the website redesign, we covered some of the major search and navigational differences between the old site and the new one. Here are a few additional improvements you may notice.

1. More emphasis on the search box.
Library websites are different from other university websites. This isn’t just our virtual face to the world. It’s a multifunctional tool, as well as the primary way most of our users “go to the library” and get to our resources. You’ll notice that the search box is larger and designed in a way to help you get the information you need more quickly, with fewer distractions on the page.

2. Easier access to important functions.
We’ve added a “Quick Links” section on the homepage to emphasize important information and answers to frequently asked questions. You’ll also notice that “My Accounts” is linked consistently in the header throughout the site. This takes you to a page where you can login to all of your library accounts in one place, from renewing books and viewing hold requests, to interlibrary loan and document delivery, to requesting materials from the Rubenstein Library.

3. Better integration with our physical space.
This is one new addition we think our students will really appreciate. Duke’s campus libraries are popular places. Study space is in high demand. With that in mind, we’ve created a new “Places to Study” page featuring a comprehensive list of library study spots on both East and West Campus. There are photos of study rooms and descriptions of their features. You can even filter study spaces by location, electrical outlets, nearness to coffee, etc. We’ve also made it easier to reserve a study space or meeting room with the click of a button.

4. New individual library homepages.
We’ve made significant updates to the homepages of our individual campus libraries, including Lilly, Music, the Marine Lab Library, the Library Service Center, and the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. For Lilly and Music, we’ve also added search boxes to make it easier to find materials housed in those locations.

Screenshot of the new Rubenstein Library homepage. (Duke access only)
Screenshot of the new Rubenstein Library homepage.

5. Easier access to international research and services.
Want to find materials on specific countries, like France, China, or Canada? Or perhaps schedule a one-on-one consultation with a subject or language expert? Click on our interactive International Resources map and see what resources and services we have available for different regions of the globe.

New interactive International Research page (Duke access only).
New interactive International Research page.

6. More personalized help.
We’ve revamped our list of librarians and subject experts to make it easier for you to find someone who knows your field and can answer questions about particular topics.

7. Enhanced searchability.
We’ve already talked about the redesigned search box on the homepage. But we also added some functionality to the website search in the header on every page. By using the drop-down button, you can search for books, articles, or all library materials without having to go back to the homepage.

8. Less jargon.
We’re librarians. We love acronyms, proper names, and technical terminology. But we recognize that not everyone else speaks librarianese. To that end, we’ve made a conscious effort to edit all of our site content for greater clarity, simplicity, accuracy, and web-friendliness. We hope it helps.

Again, take it for a spin and let us know what you think! And mark your calendar for October 14, when our new site officially goes live!

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