ILA Best Practices

Online Learning and the Library Site: Where Do You Put It?

Posted on: August 16, 2013

Like many libraries now, we’ve invested in a number of online learning tools:  Mango Languages, Atomic Training, Lynda.com, Testing & Education Reference Center, Learn4Life,  Tutor.com etc.  You may have things like Universal Class, Learning Express Library, Brainfuse, etc.

Like many libraries, we put these under the Research > Databases section of our site, under a tidy little category called “Online Learning.”  Fair enough, I suppose.

But they’re really not of a sort with the Ebscos and Morningstars of the online world, are they?  They’re not really research.  They are explicitly skill-building tools and I expect most of our customers either won’t look for or discover them under “Research.”  In the long run, I’ll be looking for a way to improve their visibility on our site, but I’d like some comments about your own libraries’ practices in presenting this new breed of online product.  Does the “Research” option work for you?  If not, what top-level menu category do you put it under?  Do you perhaps have a top-level menu entry just for those products?

Also, are there any libraries (Illinois or elsewhere) you think are doing a great job of highlighting those products on their sites?

When I asked a similar question on the Dig_Ref listserv back in 2012, it was suggested that I take a look at two particular sites:

  • Atlanta-Fulton PL: Note the eCampus link mid-homepage.
  • Scottsdale PL:  Note the Research & Learning menu item, although they don’t have a specific catch-all category within the R&L categories.

Also, it’s easy to just say we should put our online learning tools front and center on homepage, but clearly, lots of products and services fight for that visibility.  How do you fit online learning into your website priorities?

Also, I see this through the lens of a public librarian.  How do academic/special/school libraries deal with these products?

I look forward to the discussion!

–Bill Pardue / bpardue@ahml.info
Arlington Heights Memorial Library / ILA Best Practices Committee

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