Libraries launch redesigned, mobile-friendly website

The Libraries will preview their newly redesigned website to the public beginning on April 12, 2017 . The site, located at library.syr.edu, complies with new University branding guidelines and design elements. It has been in development since late fall 2015.

The project’s primary goals were to create an accessible, responsive design that will automatically resize for any type of device being used. This capability is increasingly important as information access migrates to the mobile environment.

The full launch of the new site is being planned for sometime after mid-May.

Project team members include Daniel Rice, project manager, Cindy Barry, web specialist (now working for the College of Visual and Performing Arts), Pamela Thomas, web and emerging technologies librarian, and Pamela McLaughlin, communications director.

An early and crucial part of the redesign process was to conduct a thorough analysis of the existing site’s usage. Those findings enabled developers to place the most heavily used resources prominently in the new design. This user-centered approach downplays internal organizational silos, which can obscure important informational content.

The project engaged stakeholders from across the Libraries. Web staff reviewed usage data with content owners and affirmed the core content for the new site. To keep staff informed of progress over many months, the project team maintained a blog that highlighted current activities and engaged staff in providing feedback on specific questions and touchpoints. The team also hosted an all–staff open forum and provided periodic updates for the Libraries Management Team.

During the early part of the spring 2017 semester, Learning Commons librarians Tarida Anantachai and John Stawarz conducted hands-on user testing with a group of current students and faculty members. Using a variety of types of devices, individuals were asked to complete a series of tasks on the new site using the “talk aloud” protocol. John and Tarida captured the testers’ actions, as well as their comments about their decision-making process, difficulties they encountered, and general observations about the site. A number of adjustments were made to the design, presentation, and navigation based on their discoveries.

Work on the site will continue until the production launch. Feedback is always welcome at syr.libsurveys.com/web-feedback.

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Libraries’ spring exhibition: You Are Here: Expanding the Concept of Place

Syracuse University Libraries’ spring exhibition, You Are Here: Expanding the Concept of Place, opens with a reception on April 20 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the gallery on the sixth floor of Bird Library.

Through a selection of rare books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, photographs, and other artifacts from Special Collections, this exhibition re-frames common notions and accepted definitions of what ‘place’ can be by connecting specifically to the Syracuse community: as in the geographical relevance of the Erie Canal, the conceptual destination of the Underground Railroad, or the student experience specific to Syracuse University.

The exhibit and reception is presented in collaboration with and partially sponsored by the Syracuse University Humanities Center as a part of the 2016 Syracuse Symposium on Place. It will remain on view through mid-August.

Also on view at the Goldstein Faculty Center, the Crouse Hinds Administrative building, and the Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City, is The Lost Spaces of Syracuse University, an exhibition exploring the evolution of Syracuse University’s many buildings and spaces over our 147-year history. From the University’s early years in an office building in downtown Syracuse, to the campus boom of the post-World War II era, and the current development of the Campus Framework, each of these periods of change has added to the list of the University’s “lost buildings.” This exhibition of materials and photographs from the University Archives showcases the legacy of some of these lost spaces.

In conjunction with the Libraries’ exhibit opening, Dr. Brice Nordquist (Writing Program) and Dr. Emily Stokes-Rees (Museum Studies) will present the results of their Delmas-funded Special Collections Research Center Faculty Fellows projects. In its inaugural year, the program provides stipends to selected faculty who incorporate the use of special collections in their classes and enable their students to handle, analyze, and interpret SCRC’s rich primary source materials.

Students in Nordquist’s Rhetorics of Futurity: Utopia, Sci-Fi and City Planning course engaged with materials from SU’s collections of utopian, science fiction, and city planning materials. Students in Stokes-Rees’s Ethnographic Curatorship course had a hands-on curatorial experience with plastics collections and developed a new installation for the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room, located on the sixth floor of Bird Library.

Syracuse University Press awarded NEH/Mellon Humanities Open Book grant

Syracuse University Press, a division of Syracuse University Libraries, is one of eight institutions to be awarded a grant in the Humanities Open Book Program, jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant program will make outstanding out-of-print humanities books available to a wide audience by recreating them as open access ebooks.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

“We are delighted that Syracuse University has received this grant, which supports core library values such as open access to scholarship and quality academic publishing,” said Dean of Libraries David Seaman.  SU Press will digitize 23 titles from its Irish Studies and New York State series. The new ebooks will be available through multiple platforms, including Project MUSE Open and Syracuse University’s SURFACE repository.

“Syracuse University Press welcomes this opportunity to make available digital editions of widely-reviewed and cited early histories of New York State, along with noteworthy books from our Irish Studies series that remain relevant to today’s scholars and students,” said Alice Randel Pfeiffer, director of Syracuse University Press.

“We are honored and grateful to the NEH for this chance to bring important books of humanistic interest back into conversation with current scholarship, and to make them openly available to a global community of readers,” said Suzanne E. Guiod, editor-in-chief of the Press. “Significantly, this grant will allow us to further our collaboration with Syracuse University Libraries in developing Syracuse Unbound, our joint open access publishing initiative.”

“This award presents an outstanding opportunity for SU Press to resurface and vivify important works from its prestigious backlist, said Terry Ehling, associate director of Project MUSE. “Project MUSE looks forward to working with the Press to ensure that these books are discoverable, usable, and potentially transformative to scholars now and in the future.”

ABOUT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Syracuse University Press was founded in 1943 by Chancellor William Pearson Tolley as a means to publish and disseminate scholarly research and to extend Syracuse University’s reach and academic reputation. The Press has gained national and international acclaim by publishing award-winning and ground-breaking books. With more than 1,700 titles in print, the Press supports the central mission of the University to teach, to support research initiatives, and to disseminate scholarship. The Press also prides itself on publishing carefully edited and beautifully designed books that enhance the intellectual life of general readers.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.

This project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Special Collections Research Center plays central role in University’s new graphic identity

goudy-sherman_1The Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries is pleased to announce that Syracuse University’s new branding utilizes a Goudy-inspired typeface derived from original materials in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC).

William La Moy, curator of rare books and manuscripts in the SCRC, has spent the last several years researching the deep relationship between Syracuse University and revered American printer and designer Frederic Goudy. La Moy’s research revealed an important piece of University history and, ultimately, led to a distinctive new typeface to represent the University.

In 1934, Syracuse University School of Journalism Dean M. Lyle Spencer knew of Goudy’s importance and thought it would be a good idea for the new journalism program to form an association with an important American type designer. Spencer approached Goudy, who lived in the Hudson Valley, and he became interested in the fledgling program. Along with being asked to join the faculty and become a consultant, Goudy was awarded a medal for typographic excellence by the journalism school and given an honorary degree.

Recently, as the University looked to enhance its brand identity, in collaboration with New York City design firm Pentagram, designers exploring the University’s history visited the Special Collections Research Center to view Goudy’s Sherman typeface. The typeface was gifted to the University by Goudy’s niece and is largely unknown, having been used only in a few private press publications in the 1910s. The metal type has been housed in and safeguarded by SU Libraries for decades. “It is not only beautiful, but it has the lightness, the serviceability, and the range to serve a broad spectrum of publishing needs,” explains La Moy.

“Typography plays such a central role in branded communications,” says Rob Rayfield, executive director of digital and creative services in the University’s Office of Marketing and Communications. “Its effect and the impression it carries requires careful consideration when identifying a font to align with an institution’s identity. Sherman seemed to be patiently waiting in our archives to emerge and fill the role it’s so perfectly suited for at Syracuse University.”

“The Special Collections Research Center is delighted to contribute to Syracuse University’s new visual identity,” says senior director Lucy Mulroney. “The use of unique historical collections for the creation of a distinctive new typeface for the University speaks to our mission to support scholarship, creativity, and entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Chief Curator Andrew Saluti is currently developing an exhibition with La Moy that will highlight the University’s history with Goudy, his impact on typography, and his legacy as embodied in the University’s new typeface. The exhibition is planned to open in fall 2017 in the Special Collections Research Center in Bird Library.

Syracuse University, in partnership with Pentagram and production company DressCode, created a brief documentary video on the creation of the new typeface. “Goudy and Syracuse: The Tale of a Typeface Found” features La Moy, Michael Bierut of Pentagram, and type designer Chester Jenkins of Brooklyn, co-founder of Village Type.

Syracuse University has also issued a news story about the discovery, Hidden Treasure in Special Collections Embodies Syracuse University Spirit, written by Kathleen Haley.