Library Web Site Design on a Shoestring

Library Web Site Design on a Shoestring.

I came home from the ILA Conference to find a copy of Carrie Bickner's long-anticipated book, Web Design on a Shoestring, waiting on the doorstep, courtesy of The Rogue Librarian herself. From the introduction:

“Web Design on a Shoestring tackles every aspect of web production from the point of view of a professional who needs to deliver a magnificent site but doesn't have lavish financial resources. Each chapter addresses one of those site production aspects (project planning, user testing, writing, design, content management, HTML markup, and web hosting) and suggests strategies about making the most of it on a shoestring budget.

I have tried to focus on one or two main cost-savings strategies for each chapter, and then to break down these strategies into several techniques that you can put to use immediately….

You'll find that each chapter begins with a 'Chapter Checklist.' Use these checklists as guidelines to help you move more efficiently through the chapters.

Short sections called 'Spinning Straw into Gold' punctuate the book; these sections highlight appoaches to the money-saving aspects introduced in each chapter. I have also defined terms and phrases throughout this book; skim the sidebars to familiarize yourself with new terms and concepts.”

Although you do need to have some familiarity with HTML (and even a little XHTML), it's well worth it for the busy librarian that is also in charge of the library's web site (or any web site, but there is a definite need for such a book in the library community). It's a slim volume, only 215 pages including the index, but that's because Carrie really zeroes in on the issues and provides succinct explanations and instructions.

For example, a quick skim of the “Content Management on a Tight Budget” chapter has already provided me with new information, and the CMS software descriptions are very helpful. If you're on the fence about going with a content management system, this is a great place to start.

Highly recommended!

P.S. On page 116, Carrie asks the question, “Do you need an RSS feed?” but leaves the answer up to the reader. If you have a “what's new” page or one where you post press releases (at the very least), then just trust me that the answer is yes. As Carrie notes, the more ways in which you provide access to your site, the more options your readers have for getting at that content (especially us RSS bigots).  [The Shifted Librarian]

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