Between the Library Society of the World and Michelle’s post today and the general DIY awesomeness of the biblioblogosphere, I’ve been getting a distinct “we could get a barn and put on a show!” kind of a feeling, albeit mostly about the virtual world. And that in turn has made me think it’s about time I posted about my latest project.
As anyone who has ever looked at the code behind my website will know, I taught myself html in 1999 and had forgotten most of what I learned by the time I got around to recreating the site sometime in 2004. Taking Internet Fundamentals and Design last summer brought me somewhat up to date, but there are still wide gaps in my knowledge. (Someday I promise to go back and fix all my horrid tags and add metadata and, oh, update my ancient resume and. . . well, someday.)
But I never like to let ignorance stand in the way of getting things done accomplished. (Just think, if Columbus had done so–well, I guess fewer people in the Americas would have died from imported illnesses, which would be good–never mind.)
A few weeks ago I decided I was sick and tired of our current county library website. And I was sick of the general inertia about changing it (should we hire someone? what should it look like? should we form a committee? [actually, no one ever suggested that–but you get the idea]). So I thought, the hell with it, I’ll mock something up using wordpress.com, which I also used to make the cap tax website (though in that case we never used its blogging capabilities). I showed it to a few people, and they said, hey, cool. I showed it to my director, explaining that once I had an actual WordPress installation, I could do a lot more. I’d been expecting to ask forgiveness for my general impudence, but instead I was given permission to proceed.
I did, with a lot of help: I got my friend Mitchell to do a WordPress installation for me, since that is one of many things I don’t really know how to do. (Actually, I got him to install WordPressMU, because I was having delusions of aadl.org like grandeur.) Aaron Schmidt pretty much inspired the whole idea. Steve Lawson answered approximately 900 stupid questions (and may get a few more). Dorothea Salo pointed out (via Twitter) that my faceting on the research page was, to put it mildly, nonexistent. Marc Stratton from the Wyoming State Library sent many e-mails clarifying how to make links to the catalog. A random stranger from Publib
whose name I’ve forgotten whose name is Don YarmanÂ and who works for the Delaware County Library in Ohio showed me how to make links to various EBSCO databases. I stole some bits and pieces from websites here and there. Remaining mistakes are, needless to say, my own.
Now it’s about ready for the alpha masses. I’ve got a few things yet to do:
- add metadata
- actually learn CSS (going through the CSS file and randomly changing colors until you get the background you want is not really the best way to get stuff done)
- decide how to incorporate the del.icio.us account I’ve made for the Meeteetse school
- figure out how to use the MU part, if I decide to go that route (though I’m thinking at this point that that’s overkill)
- get the header image to look better
- I’m still not really happy about the Research page, but who is happy about the way they present their databases?
- surely there’s more
Today my director showed it to a Thomson Gale person who was supposed to be giving us information on how to create direct links to our Virtual Reference Library (me: “uh, actually, I already did that”), and he was apparently impressed. The biblioblogosphere, though, is a tougher audience. So, have at it: here’s the site. There’s not much there yet, but you should get the idea.