Library Terms That Users Understand [eScholarship]

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This document is intended to help library web developers decide how to label key resources and services in such a way that most users can understand them well enough to make productive choices. It compiles data from usability studies evaluating terminology on library websites, and suggests test methods and best practices for reducing cognitive barriers caused by terminology, and provides an extensive list of resources.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. Jargon is one of my biggest concerns about library website design. We use all these terms just assuming that our patrons understand them without checking that they do.

Digital First Aid Kit: where to turn when you’re DoSed or have your accounts hijacked – Boing Boing

- Cory Doctorow

Digital Defenders Partnership logo
A group of NGOs, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offer a suite of tools for diagnosing and mitigating the kinds of attacks faced by dissidents and independent media all over the world, especially when they threaten the powerful.The Digital First Aid Kit includes a secure communications layer, as well as sections on hacked accounts, DoS, seizure of devices and malware attacks on your site and network. You can modify and share the kit, downloading it from github, where it carries a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Digital Library

Watercolor of a purple flower.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (
Bequest of Miss Louise Veltin, 1937
John La Farge

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has created a collection of digital reproductions of artworks that it has been able to verify as out of copyright. They are marked on the individual record pages with an “OASC” (Open Access for Scholarly Content) graphic below the image. There are the basic non-commercial, educational, or fair-use limits and a lot of use information including how to cite them on the FAQ.

Copyright-free image archives

You inevitably need images for something, a new design or a blog post, and while the web is full of photos, most of them aren’t for reuse or only in limited ways. This is a collection of places to find copyright-free imagery you can use however you need.

  1. The British Library’s Flickr collection

    The British Library’s Flickr collection

  2. The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections

    The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections

  3. pixabay


  4. Photos Public Domain

    Photos Public Domain

  5. SplitShire


  6. freerange


  7. PD Photo

    PD Photo

  8. free stock photography

    free stock photography

  9. Gratisography


  10. - Public Domain Pictures – Public Domain Pictures

University Websites: Top 10 Design Guidelines

In preparing a new full-day course on designing university websites, we conducted a range of user studies. In total, we tested 57 higher-education sites with users in the United States, Canada, UK, and Taiwan. We recruited prospective students, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as parents of prospective students. Users were asked to think aloud while performing exploratory tasks

Congress requires publicly funded research to be publicly available

The new Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which Congress passed yesterday, contains an important — and fantastic — provision: it requires that scientific research funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education be placed in a free online repository within 12 months of their publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

- Congress requires publicly funded research to be publicly available - Boing Boing Cory Doctorow

Cozy Cloud


Cozy Cloud is a french startup funded by the Mozilla startup accelerator. Cozy is open-source software they’ve released that let’s you host your own personal cloud-based services. You set it up on your server and have access to a calendar, photos, files, address book, RSS feeds and pretty much every type of cloud-based service that is supposed to synch with your computers and mobile devices.

The proposal is that by hosting your own information, it is more secure than using services. It also makes it easier to control your information by keeping in one place you can more easily get it out of and giving you the ability to destroy the whole installation with one command.

If you don’t want to manage your own server, they offer a hosted service  in beta.

What the Library of the Future Will Look Like –

Recently, the Pew Research Center found that 90 percent of Americans would be upset if their local library closed. But the survey also found “52% of Americans say that people do not need public libraries as much as they used to because they can find most information on their own.”

That’s why libraries need to adapt. People want them—but want them to be better. Instead of a warehouse of information, libraries need tools for use by the commons—a Netflix of things.

“We’ve been in the information business for 3,000 years,” Hill says, waxing philosophical on the role of the librarian in society. “If there’s anything we do well, it’s deliver information, and information is knowledge. I think if anybody is positioned to help build workers for this new information age, it is the library.”

America is in love with its libraries: Pew report – Boing Boing

The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a new report today entitled How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities PDF, that shows a very large majority of Americans value libraries, viewing them as critical to their communities and vital to providing services that ensure equality of opportunity for people who would otherwise be at a terrible disadvantage in life.This is in contrast to a few privileged blowhards whove opined that the library is an obsolete institution in the age of the Internet — and worse, an unaffordable luxury in a time of austerity and recession. The mission of libraries is to help the public navigate information and become informed — a mission that is more important than ever. As Eleanor Crumblehulme said, “Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.”

- America is in love with its libraries: Pew report - Boing Boing Cory Doctorow