Salt Lake County Library Services
- SiteExecutive Web content management software
- End User, API and Developer Training
- Reduce site development cost and complexity
- Eliminate Web content publishing bottleneck
- Highly reliable, secure Web presence enabling 24/7 library services
Salt Lake County Public Library Services (SLCPLS) serves a population of over 783,000 residents through its 18 brick and mortar branches, satellite locations and Website. It is the largest library system in Utah and is ranked 5th in the nation by the HAPLR index among all large library systems. In 2010, the library estimates its patrons will check out over 15 million items in person and online.
Over the years, the design of the library’s Website had grown stale. Likewise, the site’s architecture and content management capabilities were also lacking, making the site hard to support and impossible for untrained users, such as librarians, to update. At the same time, the site was becoming essential to the library’s day-to-day operations. With over 750,000 monthly page views, most of the library’s 600,000 patrons were using the site for research, managing their accounts or learning more about the library’s events, branches or services.
To meet the needs of patrons and staff members, library executives authorized the re-development of the library’s Website. The new site would be built on a user-friendly content management system (CMS) to give librarians and other subject matter experts control over site content.
Art Lang, the library’s Web Services Manager, led the team responsible for facilitating and managing the redevelopment project. As with most public institutions, the library went through an RFP-based procurement process to identify and select its new CMS.
Key selection criteria included:
- Ease of use for content authors
- ColdFusion-based development environment
- Configurable approval workflow
- Version control with roll-back and auditing
- Support for secure, high-availability deployment
After evaluating a number of commercial and open source CMS applications, the library selected SiteExecutive. The decision was made based on a combination of factors, notably the product’s ease of use, ColdFusion platform, proven performance and price.
Corresponding with its purchase of SiteExecutive, SLCLS also invested in a Web redesign, which was executed by Rolling Orange, a San Mateo, CA-based Web design firm. The task of building out the site, often handled by the Systems Alliance professional services organization, was performed by Lang and fellow Web developer Ernest Bourne -- both had received five days of SiteExecutive training.
After several months of development, the new library Website launched in February 2010. While the site gets kudos for its new user interface, it has also been a hit with the 20+ librarians and other subject matter experts who update the site with minimal IT intervention. The library is taking full advantage of this ease-of-use by expanding its Web presence with new Child and Teen Websites.
Commenting on his experience with SiteExecutive and Systems Alliance, Art Lang said, “The Salt Lake County Library Services Website plays an increasingly important role for our patrons – it’s a 24/7 virtual branch they can access anywhere. With SiteExecutive, we’re meeting their needs, providing a highly effective Web presence that is reliable and easy to maintain.”
Lang continued, “Our experience working with Systems Alliance has been great. From their hands-on training to the SiteExecutive support team, the entire organization has been focused on our success.”
Lessons Learned and Next Steps:
Deploying a new CMS for the first time can be a challenge. Art Lang suggests people should not underestimate the level of effort and complexity of rolling out a new CMS and new design simultaneously – especially for organizations like SLCLS moving from a table-based design to CSS (divs). Systems Alliance provides several options for clients needing assistance with site migrations, including:
- Training for developing CSS/div-based design templates
- Project management for site migrations
- Complete site migration services, encompassing design, planning, deployment and acceptance testing
With the stress of launching the new site well past, the library is rolling out enhancements for the site. Working off a list of patron and staff requests, which include secure online payment process, mobile functionality, personalized book lists, new RSS feeds and numerous other suggestions, Lang and Bourne will be busy for the foreseeable future making this virtual library even more indispensible. Fortunately, by leveraging the SiteExecutive platform, API training and Systems Alliance professional services team, they’ve got the tools, knowledge and support they need to succeed.
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