Saturday, November 17, 2007

Invitation to beta test

So I've been a little busy at work -- which has cut in to my blogging time. Every minute I'm not teaching/prepping for class, at my "other library" or tending to my family I'm working on Mario. I guess for the next couple months I could call myself Princess Peach -- with all the fiddling I've been doing on Mario...wait that sounds bad. Scratch that -- perhaps I'm more Bowser -- wait that's not much better. Oh forget it -- on with the post.

Anywho, Mario is the beta website for work. We are currently in, what I'm calling, "Closed Beta" with staff. That is until January -- when we go "Open Beta" with the patron public for 2 months. For the past year we (that would be my colleague Kevin and myself) have been learning how to use, configure and ricadoo Joomla. We've tested it (with various levels of success and headache) on the Big Read and Red Dirt Book Festival sites. And we have been slowly prepping staff to be able to contribute to a CMS by using a wiki for staff sharing of information (again with various levels of success and headache).

My work's current site was cutting edge back in the day -- or at least I pretend -- to get me through the scotch-tape fixes and updates we are doing until Mario comes up out of those internet tubes. Working with Joomla has required Kevin and I to think differently about developing a website for a medium to large size library system -- and to critically analyze the online library needs of patrons in our area and the trends regarding people's use of the internet and the virtual library's role in meeting their instant gratification information needs. And based on that we are going to try some things that people will either love or hate

Luckily some of what we are going to do will happen in Phase 2 of our site development - Phase 1 is basically getting the most used and required by law items out -- Phase 2 is where we add a lot of the fun stuff.

But having said all that -- I want to ask you, the LibraryStories readers, to help with the beta testing. Many of you are library professionals or use libraries heavily and even though you don't work for my library system you still would have valuable insight. So please, stop by Mario and to drop me a line using the comment form there on what you think. The other contact information on Mario is for staff dont' worry about those email addresses.

Right now we are working on content and functionality -- not look. So please pardon the nekkidness of Mario -- we'll put his overalls and cap on towards the middle of December when it get's colder. Also, if you happen to be a patron of my work -- please know that most of the "Services" (ILL, Ask a Question, etc) are not working from Mario yet. We'll have those up in January -- all the current "Services" information is a place holder or template under review. So please please please dont' submit anyting you really want through the forms - because that ain't working

Alright, I'll patiently wait for the avalanche of criticism. Oh and Thanks! :-)

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