This discussion session gave participants the opportunity to share experiences of web site management, to identify common issues and problems and work out collectively how to overcome them. The major themes that emerged from group discussions were:
The web site was recognised as being a useful device for bring departments together and it was noted that in some instances it might be easier to work cross-sectoraly on the web site than in reality. In order to produce an integrated web site it was felt that it might be necessary to move away from traditional organisational structures.
All groups felt that it was very important that the library had a sense of ownership of the web site. One of the issues raised was that it can be difficult motivating staff to become involved with the development of the site and it was felt that devolving responsibility and providing all staff with access to Internet and email would encourage a sense of ownership. Having more staff involved with development could also ease the problem of keeping content updated. The promotional aspects of the web were noted and a good web site was seen as a way of "getting libraries recognised as significant players" within the corporate structure. A strong sense of ownership of the web site would clearly help those who, at present, lack control over their web site and are reliant on others for updates and maintenance.
It was felt that there needs to be recognition, at all levels, of the resources, such as staff time that are required to develop and maintain the web site. Current problems include the lack of staff training and a lack of the tools required to do the job properly.
A succinct solution to the general discussion, that was met with much agreement, was that "librarians need to be whip crackers"!
Web page by
Sally Criddle of UKOLN.
Last updated on 17-Nov-1999
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