Monday, October 23, 2006

Mid-terms, web pages, & image maps

Last week was an eye-opening, preview of end-of-term madness for my new student workers. The beginning of each term is generally steady and managable with plenty of time for homework tucked in amongst the necessary duties of quick reference (I need a children's book with long vowel sounds.), laminating (Can you help me with my file folder games?), technology (I need help with the scanners/digital camera, copy machine and printer.), filling consumables (Do you have more glue?), and managing IRC purchases (How much is bulletin board paper?). In addition to regular IRC responsibilities, we facilitate a lab for the College of Education. Luckily, two Graduate Assistants are in charge, but residual questions always arise when they are not working. All in all it is a team effort that brings a little sunshine into each day.

Amidst the chaos, the IRC web page beckons me. Since I would like to load the new IRC page over Christmas break, I answered the call. Today's goal, eliminate the bad photos, adjust the so-so photos, find some good photos, and pick the best of the group to compile an image map for the main IRC page. I need five photos that illustrate the main areas available to students in the IRC. A problem with photos outside the physical IRC space is the main area of the curriculum collection, our textbook annex, is poorly lit. Instead, I chose pictures of the door (glass) into the IRC, a representative are of curriculum stacks, a composite of two IRC blogs, one shelf of the juvenile new bookshelf, and a small bank of computers. These photos will represent, respectively, IRC welcome, IRC collection, what's new in the IRC, author information pages, and a section titled Beyond the IRC. The map pictured below does not have the text or hot spots currently working on the sample page because I have work yet to do on displaying the text properly. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the words included must be readable. Right now the text is barely noticeable.

Someone recently emailed and asked me if I was hired to be the webmaster, either for the IRC or for the library at AU. The answer to that question is no, it came about as a bit of a fluke after I created a new educational resources page for the library and then the IRC web site (one did not exist until I arrived). The responsibility is filed under the "duties as named" portion of my contract. I enjoy the process, but do at times find it a challenge added to my current work in the IRC. As I have mentioned, one of the blessings/curses of working in a smaller academic library is the opportunity to do many different things. This is one of those things.

With that said I have had support from the library when it became necessary to update my skills. I have had several occasions to attend workshops (ACRL web course) and continuing education classes (OSU Dreamweaver MX instruction, see previous post). And yes, by support, I mean the library paid for each session and authorized my time away from the IRC. Also of interest, in spite of or maybe because of my status as a novice web designer, I had the opportunity to present at a CMCIG workshop (2003) and a web design panel at an OhioLINK Reference Rendezvous session (2004). Sometimes it is easier to hear someone speak without the techno-jargon that accompanies web design.

Lastly, because of my novice status I am at home this evening checking the page on my computer using older versions of IE, Mozilla, and Netscape. Much to my dismay, the words show but the links do not work on the image map and the images are evenly displayed in IE, but crooked in both of the other browsers. It seems I will be doing more than updating text at work tomorrow. (I need to look at the computer picture as well, it's rather stretched!)

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