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Library Website Gets a New Look and New Features

subpagepic You may have noticed that the Cook Library website has undergone some changes recently. According to Librarian David Dahl, since the major redesign of the site in summer 2009, the library has been working with feedback and their own observations to improve the user's experience. The website you see today is the result of that work.

Many of the changes to the library website are cosmetic, including a new color scheme and layout that allows for more information to be displayed on the page. Some other changes include:

  • A new streamlined quick search box with icons to direct users to WorldCatTU (a resource discovery tool), the list of Research Databases, the newly redesigned Subject Gateways, or the new Help Guides portal (a collection of handouts and tutorials on how to conduct library research)
  • The link to the list of journal subscriptions can now be most easily accessed on the left hand side of the page, under the "Quick Tools" menu
  • The addition of the "In Your Library..." information box which includes updates about new resources, happenings, and other news related to the library.

Towson's subject specialist librarians also have reconstructed Cook Library's Subject Gateways. These tools allow researchers to see what the best information resources are in a particular discipline. With this redesign, now every HEGIS code at TU has its own Subject Gateway, overseen by a librarian assigned as the subject specialist for that area.

The librarians also now have the freedom to organize these Subject Gateways so that they can better meet the research needs in particular disciplines. The Theatre Arts Subject Gateway, for example, now includes links to locate electronic plays, while the Music Subject Gateway links sources for finding scores online. Resources like ArtSTOR, AP Images, and Camio databases are linked in many gateways under an "Images" section, and the Psychology Subject Gateway includes a "Test Indices" section for locating psychological tests. In addition, many librarians have provided links to the library's citation guides in their Subject Gateways and all gateways include an instant messenger chat box as well as a librarian's contact information so customers can get help if they need it.

Another new addition to the Cook Library website is the Course Gateways. These gateways have the same design and functionality as the Subject Gateways, but they contain resources specific to a particular course. Communication Librarian Joyce Garczynski says she loves the new Course Gateways because she can provide links to the handouts she gives out in library instruction sessions. Joyce added, "The new gateways are great—they are a one-stop-shop for all of the information resources that students need in a particular class."

To view the website enhancements visit: http://cooklibrary.towson.edu. From there you can check out the new Subject and Course Gateways by hovering over the "Research" menu on the upper left and choosing either "Subject Gateways" or "Course Gateways" from the list.

Written by Lisa Woznicki


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