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by Monique le Conge Hello and Good Bye! ‘eleome back to BayNet's newsletter! Even \ \ ] though my term as President is nearly over, Thaven't been able to greet the membership this way, and I'm happy to do so now. Many of you may be wondering what BayNet has been up to in the past year. In addition to our very interesting program with Alison Head (see the article about it for more information), the BayNet Board has been looking at long range planning for the organi- zation. In early December, the Board met at the San Francisco Public Library to discuss our role in the California library landscape. Also invited were those representing other regional membership organiza tions. One of the main points of our conversation was, "Is BayNet necessary and vital to the regional rary community?” Our answer was a resounding, es!" With the variety of speakers and hands-on workshops, tours, and networking opportunities, we all agreed that BayNet should continue its work as ‘well as coordinate its services with other organiza- tions in the greater Bay Area, So where are we going? Richard Geiger, Vice- PresidentPresident-Elect, has a fantastic Annual Meeting planned. I hope to see you there. We are developing a survey of our membership to know what kinds of programs you want and need, and where you'll travel to attend them. If you have a spe- citic idea right now, please let us (Monique: mlecon-, Richard: rgeiger@sfchroni- know. BayNet's programs offer additional education and development opportunities for our members. We'd like to offer a couple of programs next year, in addition to the usual lively Annual Meeting. Look for an e-mail notice of the survey in the upcoming months. A Program Committee is forming, too, so that volunteers can coordinate train- ‘Spring 2002 ing and locations. Our focus will be offering topics not covered by other organizations. We don't want to reinvent the wheel, but offer something extra to all of you A Tour Committee is also forming. Tours have been popular, and it's my hope that they will once again be held regularly. Our tours allow us all inside a variety of libraries. Often they are libraries which we would- nit see any other way. Is there a library you'd espe- cially love to see? Does your library have a special feature or collection that you'd like to share? Again, please let Richard or me know. We'll have the com- mittee make the contact and arrange for a tour, if pos- sible. Finally, BayNet's role in allowing us to network with other professionals from a range of libraries is impor- tant to us all. We learn from each other and translate what we lear in our own environments. To this extent, if you can help in any way, we welcome your suggestions and expertise. We are a volunteer, mem= bership organization. We need all of you to help us with our plans. BayNet is a viable, inieresting group that continues to grow. [look forward to our future! On a related topic: Like all volunteer organizations, changes in the volunteers who are able to help out can sometimes mean that we need to wait, patiently, until a new volunteer comes forward to help. Thanks to Sara O'Keefe for her great work as the past editor of the newsletter. Keeping us all in line and soliciting on-time articles was a task that Sara did with grace; ‘my sincere appreciation to Susan Garbarino for step- ping forward to assume that position now, too. What you hold in your hands is her first production! ‘Continued thanks to Anne MeGillicuddy for her great ‘work on production, too. We all appreciate it In this Issue: President's Message Exploratorium Learning Studio Research Intranets Non-Roman Text on Web Pages by Gilles Poitras Exploratorium Learning Studio With the great ethnic diversity in the Bay Area there is a large percentage of the population that reads in languages that do not use Roman letters. And itis not jjust public libraries that serve this community, spe- cial and corporate libraries often also have patrons who could be better served in their own languages including with web pages. Creating web pages with non-Roman text for many of the major writing systems of the world is not ad ficult thing to do. You can even produce pages wi a mixture of Roman and non-Roman text. For exam- ple I have been doing this for several years now with my Anime Companion Supplement pages. hup://! ‘What you will need is this 1. Content In spite of what some designers may think content is, the most important thing on a page. 2. A translation of the content: If your content is originally created in English you will need to have it translated. Have your translation checked by more than one person for errors, this is especially important with any language other than English as it is likely that fewer staff will be able to spot errors while casually reading your pages. 3. Someone who can type in the language: Ideally this will be a staff member. Having to hire someone every time you wish to update or correct a page can be expensive and slow. 4, An OS that will support the language: Current versions of the Macintosh and Windows support many different languages. For the Macintosh Spring 2002 (OS 9 and higher) insert the system software CD- ROM disc and do a custom install for as many of the Language Kits as you wish. Notes: Macintosh OS X already has Japanese loaded, you will need use the keyboard control panel to turn on typing input. For Windows you may have to down- load the fonts and other software from the Microsoft web site, 5. Web editing software: Not all web page editing software can support non- Roman text. You need to be able to choose the proper font to cre- ate your web page in. Any text editor that will allow you to chose the proper font will do, For my pages I use paid version of BBEdit, an extremely power- ful text editor available only for the Macintosh and very popular with professional web page developers. hutp:/‘www.bbedit.comy 6. The proper metatag for the language you are using This metatag tells the browser which font to display. You, or somesne assisting you, may have to experi- ‘ment before finding the proper metatag for your text For historical reasons in some languages there are several encocing systems for computers to display non-Roman text. Some metatags may work with your browser and OS but not with others. Once you hhave found the correct one it should work with all systems, ‘The metatag for Japanese I use on some of my pages is: CON- Other metatags I tried worked for Macintoshes but not for all Windows machines. Locating the proper metatag for the language you are using. How do you find the proper metatag? The way I did it was to check several pages that displayed properly ‘on my computer and displayed the source code so I could copy the tags. Then I created several test pages and asked others to look at them. This eliminated all but one that worked for everyone. A good source of foreign sites to search for metatags is the Golden Gate University Library country pages. hup://! rescountry.htm! 7. Compatibility with different browsers on differ- cent platforms. This is both important for determining the proper metatag and for checking for certain coding errors that can cause display problems. If your code meets the proper HTML standards there may be a problem with the browser and should be reported to the devel- opers so they can correct it in a later release. I rec ‘ommend starting with the current version of a brows- ct and later checking with previous versions as in some cases, such as Netscape, there were significant Bay Area Library and Information Network "Spring 2002 problems with earlier versions. One can safely assume that any person who intends to regularly view non-Roman text on the web will be using @ browser that can do so. 8, Error-free HTML code. This is not something that can easily be done by eye as various typos can creep into code and be hard to spot. Several web page editing programs have syntax checkers that will simplify this. Be aware that some popular web design programs ignore fine points of HTML and may result in some problems with pages that inelude non-Roman text. For the Mac BBEdit does an excellent job of locat- ing problems. Even if you don't use BBEdit you can have someone who does check the code for you. An alternative is iCab, a commercially available brows- cr that also does a very good job of checking for errors and reporting where they are. FREE BayNet Annual Meeting FREE Wednesday, May 22, 2002 9:00 - 11:30 am Featuring Howard Besser, Associate Professor at UCLA's Schoo! of Education and Information Studies, speaking on "The Case for an Information Commons: Responses to the Current Copyright Environment.” Besser will discuss major efforts underway by library and public interest organizations to change the public discussion around copyright from one that marginalizes librarians to one that puts librarians at center stage, as custodians of our information heritage. Howard Besser isan expert on image and multimedia databases, the social and cultural effets of information technolo- 2, digital library issues (particularly around standards, longevity, and intellectual property), and the development of new ‘ways to teach with technology, including web-based instruction and distance learning. ‘This FREE event will be held at the World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter Street (near Grant), San Francisco. Parking is available at the Stockton Street Garage or BART from Powell Street, Please RSVP to Richard Geiger, Research Director, San Francisco Chronicle Library, or 415-777-6001 Research Intranets by Jo Faleon Alison Head, speaking to her usual standing-room- only crowd, kicked off Baynet’s 2002 workshop series with a fascinating, witty and revealing look at how corporate research intranets work — and why their intended users ignore them, Introduced by Richard Geiger (Who was out of Baynet brochures again), she gave attendees a preview of her latest usability study, "On-the-Job Research: How Usable are Corporate Research Intranets?" by Alison J. Head with Shannon Staley. ‘The report, published in March by SLA, is the result of a six-month study of a variety of corporate inter- nets including Bechtel, ChevronTexaco, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Gale Group, Gilead Sciences, Sun Microsystems, and Synopsys. The study addressed two major questions: What are users’ needs (not what we as librarians hear them wanting, but what do they look for on their own?) * Do research-specific intranets help, with useful content and usable design? For the purposes of the study, "research intranets" were defined as content-based web resources offer- ing internal and external sources of information, for asking/finding information needed on the job, and promoting sharing of information. They may include links to external services/tools (like Nexus) as well A.J. Head Associates usually works with corporate clients (such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Micro-sys- tems, netLibrary, and the New York Times Regional ‘Newspaper Group) to develop better intranet sites and Web sites, using design analysis and evaluations to create user-centered information retrieval tools that can be refined with each round of testing. This survey was unusual in that it was not paid for by a company with its own agenda, but as an SLA-spon- sored inquiry for librarians. Alison's private clients Bay Area Library and Information Network Spring 2002 had problems she began to see as similar, but for rea- sons of confidentiality and nondisclosure she could- nt cross-reference them to produce a horizontal study of erough companies to track the trends. Much less publish it For "On-the-Job Research,” she envisioned the ideal client (ideal in terms of what she could lear from them), and proposed to determine what employees need/want to know from their intranets, what ques- tions go unanswered, and what the pat- tems are. And she wanted to ring a focus on information- seeking behavior, rare ii classic usability studies done from the humarveom- puter interface worldview. HCI experts concentrate fon interaction with the machine — but what other ways do people search? Often, by asking coworkers of librarians, This survey expands idea of ‘usability’ with a libraranly attitude. Alison's covert agenda, she admits, was to "get SLA to stick its neck out," to create a real tool for librari- ans and other information professionals to get the attention of managers and leverage it. The appendix starts with "Use this report like a monkeywrench” ~ and from the examples given at this talk and at wowajheadcom, it's crammed with useful tools, compelling statistics and templates for truly usable design The research began with clarifying four underlying, concems: What are the frequently asked questions? ‘Are research intranets a source for answers? How usable are they? How can they be improved? Alison and her colaborator Shannon Staley gathered 40 example FARQs - Frequently Asked Reference Questions ~ by mining the FAQ lists of Comell, Rutgers, Boston Public Library, Internet Public Library and others for what she calls "the flavors of the questions:” what kinds of topics are researched, rather than specific inquiries ‘The next step was recruiting liaisons at seven com- panies she felt fit the profile of "ideal for what I can earn from them:" a diverse group, and not all high tech (she would have liked ten, including a govern- ment entity and a bank). These liaisons were key throughout the process ~ some, present at this talk, were introduced. They ranked the sample questions for frequency and importance, often suggesting cate- gories of search (such as maps) that the mining oper~ ation had missed, Alison and Shannon then chose the top ten questions to convert into test tasks. The subject intranets were scrutinized to make sure con- tent to answer those questions really was available, and the questions ranked for answerability Finally, the team developed tasks and tested at each company on questions its intranet could have answered. Liaisons at each company helped recruit the test subjects (five plus an alternate per company), a mix of administrative assistants, managers, and researchers so as not to skew the sample with experts or the totally clueless. So what were the findings? Tntranets were hard to use. Across seven companies and 35 users, the failure rate on ten set tasks was 56%, The benchmark in standard HCI testing of the kind pioneered by Don Norman and Jakob Neilsen is that no worse than 40% failure is “acceptable.” Intranets were underutilized: they were the default source for forms, stock quotes, and coworker contact, information, but few test subjects had a sense of what other content was available, and weren't moti- vated to explore and browse. Intranets are not always the best or most satisfying. source of information. People want a phone number, not a help screen — someone with whom they can go back and forth tll the matter is clarified. The easy questions, ready-reference kinds of things, were hardest to answer (57% couldn't find name and contact info for their company's HR. director) Current company news was very hard to find. Bay Area Library and Information Network Spring 2002 Competitive intelligence was dismal: only a 35% success at finding anything on a named competitor. Finding answers took forever, and the requirement of passwords or the need to read instructions caused many searchers to jump ship. At one company, Alison notes ruefully, “only the presence of the test personnel kept those guinea pigs plugging away at the task." Those who did jump ship went to Ask Jeeves or Yahoo, because they'd had success there on other tasks ~ never mind that those tools search a far too diverse and diluted universe of information for an in-company question, and one outside the fire- wall. But there's hope, ‘That "monkeywrench" appendix offers concrete suggestions for better design. I haven't seen it yet, though I did order my advance copy at the you-had-to-be-there discount of 25%. But those Alison mentioned include: * Chunk information by department or by function ~ get out of the ‘list of lists’ format. ‘+ Provide one-stop shopping: givetem what they need, even if it's duplicated. For example, since79% of requests are for co-worker contact, information, make it a tab that's always available throughout the intranet, rather than making users struggle to find the organizational chart. © On news sites, annotate! Add dates and at least ‘enough text to indicate how current the item is State up front if a password will be required: don't wait till the user is tantalizingly close to the answer. If a tool is hard to use and/or needs instructions, give fair warning, * On-the-Job Research” would have been ground- breaking anyway, but Alison points out that events made this probably the last chance any- fone would have to do such a survey with full cooperation of the companies reviewed. (continued on last page) The last day of data collection was 9/10/2001. Security constraints and the economic slump would make such open access and dedication of resources impossible now among commercial corporations. But she and her associates will soon be applying the same methods to the intranet of the San Francisco Public Library. Stay tuned! Excerpts and ordering information for "On-the-Job Research: How Usable are Corporate Research Intranets?” are at 7Oor BayNet c/o Jo Falcon 672 Prentiss San Francisco, CA 94110-6130 ~ Bay Area Library and Information Network Spring 2002 “The BayNet Newslene is published tee times a year The rewslerer is free wo BayNet members, Submissions from riembers are weleome, Please contact the eto: Susan Garbarino Giannini Foundation Libeary of ‘Agricultural Economies Uriversity of California, Beskeley “Memberships open to any’ library inthe Bay Area For further irformation, contact the Membership Chie Rese Falanga Explorstorium 3601 Lyon Steet San Franc isco, CA 94123 (5) EXPLORE Layout & Design by ‘Anne McGillicuddy BayNet Web Sic: pow: ayes og oF ‘wor baynetlibs com