In a joint meeting with Michelle Misner and Ben Vershbow, we spoke about two impressive operational units responsible for the website of the New York Public Library.
Michelle Misner manages the web team that programs the homepage of the NYPL. Usability is their guiding principle – the members of the web team think of themselves as “user experience designers”. The team of six is largely made up of staff with backgrounds in librarianship, but it goes without saying that the team also possesses all the necessary programming skills. The homepage encompasses pages for children, online exhibitions as well as the library intranet. In order to gauge the user friendliness of the homepage, both quantitative and qualitative data are measured; all content and submenus are evaluated based on usability criteria. A sneak peek at the new homepage convinces us – the library’s vast spectrum of offerings, information and services is presented both clearly and intuitively.
Ben Vershbow manages NYPL Labs, an experiment-friendly team of six web developers and product managers with backgrounds in design, art and theater. The team builds innovative web services from the content of the Digital Gallery. For the project, “What’s on the menu?”, they crowdsourced the transcription of hundreds of thousands of dishes from 160 years worth of New York menus. The crowd is also put to use for projects such as Map Warper, an interactive mash-up of historic NYC maps and personages with current maps, and Stereogranimator, in which users can create and share 3D images based on the library’s stereographic material. With such technologically innovative and exciting projects, it’s no wonder that they’ve managed to interest thousands of volunteers in City history. Many of the projects are developed in close collaboration with specialists from historical collections - digital humanities at its best!
Friday, 21. September 2012
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