By JOHN SAYERS
A new look and feel for the top-level pages of the Library's Web site was evident to users when they signed on at www.loc.gov on April 19, the day that the Library launched an upgrade of major portions of its site.
In an announcement to Library managers, Chief of Staff Jo Ann Jenkins said that she initiated the project to address comments and concerns of users—including members of Congress—that the site appeared dated and suffered in comparison with the best government and commercial Web sites.
Along with the main home page, a newly overhauled section featuring webcasts of lectures and symposia, a new giving/development site and a section about poetry programs and collections at the Library were launched. "The Library Today" news and events page and "About the Library" also have new looks.
Most notably, new pages designed specifically for key Library audiences—kids and families, librarians, publishers, researchers, teachers and visitors—have been created. These sites add new features, links and functionality to their predecessors and include consistent navigation to make it easier for users to find what they want on the site.
All of the new sections were retooled for ease of use and operational consistency, and all are compatible with the federal Section 508 standards for accessibility (including the new "Accessibility" section). The team assembled to implement the upgrade included Library of Congress staff with extensive experience in library sciences, information architecture, human factors, audience analysis, graphic design and communications.
The project was coordinated by the Web Services Division of the Office of Strategic Initiatives along with the Public Affairs Office.
Although this upgrade includes only a few critical top-level pages, the Library is developing requirements for a comprehensive overhaul of the its entire public Web presence, as well as providing oversight of the Library's internal Web sites designed for all staff.