All posts by Debra Kurtz

New Website Coming Fall 2013!

Duke University Libraries is redesigning our website to improve your online experience!


What will change?

We’re improving access from all devices.  The homepage, headers, footers, and navigation will undergo the following revisions:

  • Faster access to the most commonly used resources
  • Optimized display for most screen resolutions
  • Greater accessibility for users who rely on assistive software


Will anything remain the same?

The catalog and other search interfaces are not part of this redesign, so their functionality will remain the same. These interfaces will, however, adopt the newly redesigned headers and footers used throughout the site.


When will the change take place?

We are targeting Fall 2013 to launch the redesigned site.


After the new site is published, will I be able to get to content on the old site?

After the new site is in production, we will archive the old site in DukeSpace, the university’s open-access repository.


How can I get involved?

As we develop prototypes of web pages, we will post screenshots on this blog for you to review and send comments. We will also periodically test screens in-person at the Bryan Center and other campus locations. We will announce these opportunities for you to participate a week in advance so you can join us in the Bryan Center and help guide the redesign.


We look forward to working with you to improve our library website. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Debra Kurtz, Head of Digital Experience Services

New Netbooks at Perkins Next Fall

nvidia-ion-lenovo-s12_4_600 Before finals Information Technology Services (ITS) polled patrons at the Perkins Reference desk to see which netbook they preferred the Lenovo s12 or the slightly smaller Lenovo s10e.   9 of 10 surveyed said they preferred the slightly larger s12 over the s10e because the larger keyboard was easier to use and the 10 inch screen display was clearer.  Some also felt the wireless on the s12 was faster.  Overall the larger model was easier to use while not compromising portability. Based on these findings, we will likely purchase the s12 to replace the current pool of loaner laptops next fall.

Patrons were also asked what software they would like on these laptops.  Most said they would need Office and a Web browser but there were also requests for Adobe products and EndNote. What software would you would like us to include on the build?

Complete Survey Results

Perkins Loaner Laptops

Written by Debra Kurtz

Enhanced Homepage goes Live Monday

The Digital Projects Department is pleased to announce that the enhanced homepage will go live before classes begin on Monday.  Thanks to all the Libraries’ staff who helped collect and interpret user input.  The focus of the Libraries’ homepage is first to facilitate research, teaching and learning and second to promote our services and resources.

Here is a brief summary of enhancements based on that focus statement:

  1. Digital Collections are now searchable from the homepage via a new tab in the ‘Search Our Resources’ section.
  2. Links were reviewed and edited down to only those most used as was identified by statistics and a circle maps exercise.
    • Links to services and resources are given priority and located in the top portion of the site.
    • Help links (How Do I?…) are located under links to resources and services.
  3. News headlines are now each aligned with a corresponding image.  Clicking an image will bring you to the related story.  Two news items display at a time; more can be accessed without leaving the homepage by clicking the left & right arrows.
  4. Recent posts from the Libraries’ various blogs (including the professional school libraries) are displayed; use the left & right arrows to browse through posts without leaving the homepage.
  5. In an effort to give greater prominence to the Libraries’ exhibits, an image and link for a current Library Exhibit is visible in the lower right portion of the screen.

You can preview these changes at the following URL while the DPD works to put them in production:

Duke Libraries' Homepage Enhancement

We will review these changes this fall and make adjustments as necessary.  Please watch for invitations to participate in assessment activities for the Libraries’ web resources.

Have a great semester!

Catalog (Beta) Improvements!

There were three significant enhancements and three minor enhancement and/or fixes made to the Catalog (BETA)interface in the past two months, and we also have some additional updates about upcoming features to the system.  If you have any concerns or questions about the Catalog (BETA)catalog interface, please send us a message via the feedback form.


Hold/recall requests can now be placed from within the Catalog (BETA) interface.  You no longer have to jump to the Classic Catalog to place hold-requests and you will only need to sign-in once per session to place as many hold-requests as you like.

“My Reserves,” Tab.  This tab provides you with listings of your current reserves materials.  The tab requires you to sign on to see its contents, and only provides you with your course reserves information.  This is a strong departure from the “classic” catalog’s “reserves” tab in that it doesn’t require you to remember (and correctly spell) your course numbers/instructors/titles, and provides total course reserves information on a single page.  We are hopeful that this approach will provide dramatically improved functionality.

The system now uses an enhanced login process, with auto-logout timing for all users.  You can log in using either your  NetID or your library card number from a single log-in screen that defaults to using your NetID when available.  All users’ sessions are also now timed so that they will end after a certain period of inactivity (currently, a half-hour of inactivity for logged-in patrons, an hour for non-logged-in users).  Unlike the Classic Catalog, the auto-logout feature does not refresh the browser page and steal the computer’s focus; instead, the system performs the logout in the background when a user next tries to access the system.

Implemented Google Analytics for browsing statistics (completed February 4, 2009).  Since early February 2009, all web traffic in the integrated search environment (Endeca, Metalib, etc.) has been logged by the Google Analytics tool for future analysis.

Syndetics book-cover-images now served up via the “Limelight” network (completed March 5, 2009).  Implemented appropriate URL changes to provide Syndetics cover-images through Syndetics’ Content Delivery Network (Limelight); hopefully this will increase cover-image display/response rates as the cache-system gets progressively more data.  Note that this does not affect the response speed (or failure rates) of other Syndetics enriched content, such as Summaries, Table of contents, First Chapters, etc.

Catalog interface no longer errors out when going directly from a results-list page to a full-record page (which was not part of the results-list) and then trying to search again on the unchanged terms and index that produced the original results-list.


There is good and bad news on the diacritics front.  On the negative side, after extensive testing of the thesaurus-based solution in Catalog (BETA)version 6.x, the Search TRLN Operations Committee ultimately came to the conclusion that even the performance enhancements in the newer version of Catalog (BETA)were not sufficient to mitigate the performance problems introduced by using a custom-built thesaurus to provide full diacritics-searching support.

On the positive side, additional extensive testing on a “normalization” strategy appears to provide a stable, performance solution to the long-standing issue of diacritics-searching support.  Even better, this solution works on the existing version of Catalog (BETA), which means that a solution is not tied to upgrading Catalog (BETA)on the Search TRLN servers.

Currently, there is no specific date set for implementing the solution, but it is likely to take place in early April 2009.  At that time we can hope to say with assurance (really!) that the Endeca-based catalog can handle diacritics searches.  Thanks to every one for their patience in this important aspect of the system.


Incorporation of “My Library Card” functionality into the interface
Incorporation of “shopping cart”-like features in the interface so that you can manage multiple catalog (or article) records at once

Doodle: Easy Scheduling

Imagine: You have to organize a group meeting with several people who have busy schedules.

Person A: I can’t meet on Wednesday, can you meet Thursday?

Person B: I can’t meet on Thursday, can you meet Friday?

Person C: Ughhhh…there has got to be a better way to organize meetings!

Try Doodle. Doodle is an online tool that makes it easy to schedule group meetings and other appointments. Doodle is simple, quick, free and requires no registration.

You can also use Doodle

from your Mobile (beta)

in Facebook

in iGoogle

New – Google Analytics on Library Web Site

Beginning January 19, 2009 the Duke University Libraries will use Google Analytics to gather statistics on portions of its web site.  The Libraries will use the information gathered to improve web services for its patrons.  Google Analytics employs cookies to define user sessions , which allows for the  collection of important data about how our patrons are using the Library’s site.  Google Analytics uses only first-party cookies for data analysis.  This means that the cookies are linked to the Libraries’ website domain(s), and Google Analytics will only use that cookie data for statistical analysis related to your browsing behavior on the Libraries’ websites  According to Google, the data collected cannot be altered or retrieved by services from other domains.  If you choose, you can opt out by turning off cookies in the preferences settings in your browser. For more information on Google Analytics, please visit Google’s web site.

New Catalog Interface

The Library has published a new interface to the catalog that performs faster and is easier to navigate thanks to a faceted browsing feature similar to those found on retail sites such as Amazon and Home Depot.

Things to keep in mind:

  • When you search the form in the “Search Our Resources” box results will display in the new catalog interface with the exception of GoogleScholar and E-Journals. The latter will continue to load in the (old interface) Resource Finder due to system limitations.
  • All links to will be redirected to the new catalog interface but will continue to display the classic search screen.
  • There will be links to the Classic Catalog from new catalog interface and from the Libraries’ homepage.
  • There will be a link from new catalog interface to a comments/suggestions form by the end of the week.

A feedback form will be linked to from the new interface by the end of the week. Try it out now ( and let us know what you think.