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Information Architecture Section: Research

Why spend the time and effort to create a website that isn't used? All planning must start by exploring the information need.

Quality web resources begin with research in the area of context, content, and users.

Optional Reading - Read Chapter 10: Research in Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd edition by Peter Morville & Louis Rosenfeld.


A library website is a virtual library service that should be no different than a fixed library facility, a clean well-lighted place filled with services and information for library users - Eric S. Anderson in HTMLW: How to Manage the Library Website

What do you see as the critical components of your web-based classroom, school, or library? Your website should reflect your mission and the needs of your users.

Before you jump into choosing content, you need to make decisions related to your website's mission. Your website "statement of purpose" should align with your overall school or library mission or philosophy. Consider the role that your website plays in relation to the "big picture" of your program.

Many websites have their mission statements on an "about this site" or "background" page. Do some exploring and look for website mission statements on school or library websites that you admire.

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Explore the statements below. These kinds of purpose statements can be found on many sites. Use these to help you formulate your own statement of purpose.

* Provide a "library without walls" that can be accessed 24/7, anytime, anywhere
* Promote life-long learning, reading, and literacy
* Provide access to quality, developmentally appropriate Internet resources for children and young adults
* Encourage positive, productive in- and out- of school experiences for children and young adults
* Support the sharing of student work
* Provide access to quality, informational and instructional Internet resources for teachers
* Support the curriculum needs of teachers
* Provide access to quality Internet resources for parents
* Provide access to quality Internet resources for community members
* Provide access to school and community information
* Promote school and library resources
* Provide access to library resources such as the online catalog and databases
* Provide anytime, anywhere access to reference assistance
* Address the information needs of a diverse community



Architects spend lots of time thinking about their clients needs before they design a house. They think about how the house will be used now as well as in the future. For example, right now the house might need lots of bathrooms for teenagers. Down the road, a first floor bedroom for an aging parent might be the priority. Consider the immediate needs of your website as well as the long-term priorities.

Once you've explored all the possibilities, you need to determine the best approach to your website. What are the key elements of the website? What are your priorities? What information is most important for the success of your website? What is the content of the website?

According to Eric Anderson, web developers should keep three simple ideas in mind: (1) keep it current, (2) develop as much local content as possible, and (3) make it interactive for your users.

Let's explore the following areas: analysis, types, informational materials, instructional materials, promotional materials, communications, services, publishing, school library topics and general library topics.

Content Basics

Before you jump into content creation, it's a good idea to review your writing skills. Use the following guidelines to help you create effective web content.

Content Analysis

In the area of Information Architecture, the word content has a specific meaning. Content is tangible information that can be collected and contained. Content objects are discrete chunks of information that are organized and managed. This content can be unstructured or structured. For example, a database contains structured content. Most websites contain both unstructured and structured content.

Content Objects

A collection of content objects that share the same structure is a called a content area. For example, your website might contain a content area on local legends which contains a set of content objects. In other words, you might have an introductory page called Local Legends and ten linked content objects that each contain a title, the local legend, the sources of the legend, a photograph, and source.

Grouping content together is important in helping users access related information. Users are more efficient when they can locate materials using a familiar organizational scheme such as alphabetical, chronological, geographical, grade level, or topical listings.

Creating Content

You may wish to create your own original content. This is often the case with the growing number of digital libraries. You may be scanning primary source documents or working with children on writing projects. While some people prefer to develop long-term projects, others find small-scale, short-term web development projects more manageable.

In school libaries, small-scale, short-term projects are a great way to get started with projects. Rather than commit yourself to a years worth of activities, design projects that take a couple days or weeks. With some experience, you may dive into a semester long project. Consider small scale projects such as hot lists, treasure hunts, sharing, and informational projects first. Then, work on developing instructional materials, WebQuests, case studies and other projects that involve lots of planning and development.

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Go to Journey North or StoryTubes. How could these be used as part of a short-term project in a school library?

Go to StoryCorps. How could this be used as part of a short-term project in a public library?

Go to ALA. Think about ways to involve patrons in special programs.

Types of Content

There are many types of content that can be included in your website. How do you choose? Consider essential, special, dynamic, interactive, and duplicate content elements.

Essential Content

Start with the basics. What pieces of data are essential? In many cases people start with things such as their policies, procedures, center rules, and other administrative stuff. However ask yourself, will these pieces of data bring patrons back to your site? If not, be sure to include other information that will bring return visitors. If it's a school site, maybe you'll post homework, standards-based activities, or student projects. If it's a library site, maybe you'll share local events and information of interest.

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Go to San Mateo County Library. Which materials would you consider essential?

Special Content

Consider those things that will make your website unique. Why will people from your community as well as from around the world flock to your pages? What unique content do you have to offer? Maybe you'll work with the drama teacher or local playhouse to develop an archive of original skits or reader's theatre materials. How about a virtual field trip to the desert, farm, or river? Get community members and students involved with content development.

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Go to Denver Public Library Digital Collections. It's a partnership between the Denver Art Museum, Colorado Historical Society, and Denver Public Library to create a collection of historical photographs.

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Go to Columbus Metropolitan Library Local Databases. These databases were developed by the librarians at the CML.

Dynamic Content

People return to websites that are constantly posting new ideas and information. This may include new web resources, current local events, or updated materials. As a rule of thumb, your website should contain at least five new content objects or pages per month. In addition, you should develop a plan to enhance or update pages too. Think about how your website will grow with this type of attention!

Consider incorporating elements that will evolve over time. What are your teachers reading? Maybe you'll maintain a list of teacher-recommended books and movies. How about an oral history page that contains interviews with the elders from the community? Each month a new person could be highlighted. Maybe you could focus on library promotions such as resources related to banned book week or Asian-American month.

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Go to Methuen Media Center. They provide a wide range of pathfinders for use by students, teachers, and the community.

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Go to Great Neck School Library and notice the up-to-date information such as newsletters and "what's new".

Interactive Content

Get your users involved with your website. Ask students to submit their poetry or drawings. Get library patrons involved with online discussions or posting audio book reviews. Include online registration forms and a guestbook for comments. Conduct periodical surveys online to gather data from web library users. Post interesting Internet adventures on interactive learning activities. Bring your website alive through opening a two-way communication channel. Consider links to Facebook and Twitter.

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Go to The Unquiet Library and explore the interactive elements.

Duplicate Content

Although you'll want to make your website unique, many of your resources may duplicate those found in other places. For example, most library websites contain a list of popular online reference resources. Although you may choose to develop your own link lists and pathfinders, consider linking to the materials developed by others. For example, you consider linking to Library Spot or Teacher Tap: Online References. Consider how you can make Internet resources and links you own by personalizing materials for your library.

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Choose one of the following sites. Look for the five types of content described above:
Libraries @ Lovett
Multnomah County Library in Oregon

Develop a priority list of needs related to your website. What are the essential information elements that will contribute to the success of your website? What are the special elements that will make your website unique? What are the flexible or expanding elements that will bring users back to your website?

Informational Materials

Website are often filled with administrative paperwork such as policy statements. Other websites focus on providing links to resources found on the web. Although both of these materials are important, quality information may also include original projects. Ask yourself: what unique materials and information could you share with the world? What's not available on other websites that you could contribute?

Background Information

About Library. Many library websites have a page that contains background information about the library. Look for information about the library name, mission, philosophy, and history. Many sites link to related agencies or departments. They may also contain updates such as information about construction or gifts.

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Go to Columbus Metropolitan Library and Allen County Public Library. Explore information about their library.

Disclaimer. Your website should contain a statement of content responsibility. Normally the statement indicates that the library is not responsible for the content of external links. It might also include information about acceptable use of resources and use of filters.

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Go to the Internet Acceptable Use Statement from the Baltimore County Public Library for an example of an acceptable use policy.

Frequently Asked Questions. Many online libraries contain a section called FAQs that provide the answers to frequently asked questions. These question and answer pages can focus on issues related to center services (i.e., circulation, renewals, facilities hours) or explore common reference questions.

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Go to FAQs for the Penn Libraries and the Library FAQs from Ithaca College Library.

Geographic Information. You'd be surprised how often libraries don't identify where they are located. For example, they might not include area codes or zip codes. Although many of your users may be local and know how to find your library, Others may be new to the community or visiting from somewhere else in the world. Be sure to include your location, address, directions and/or a map.

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Go to Chicago Public Library. What resources do they provide in terms of geographic information?

People. Who works at your library? Who are the volunteers? People enjoy learning more about the personnel. Information about personnel also assists users in determining who to contact. Include information about personnel, board members, positions, responsibilities, and when possible photographs showing happy, productive librarians and patrons.

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Go to Newberry Library and Academy of Art University Library. Notice their information about staff.

Go to Provo City Library Staff Reviews and see how they involve staff in making patron connections.

Virtual Tour. If you can't visit the place face-to-face, it's nice to go on a virtual tour. For example, you can explore a center through photos, text, and/or audio and video. Also consider virtual tours of local areas in your community such as parks, museums, and historic sites. Consider partnering with a local community group or school.

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Go to Lewis-Clark Library TourBirmingham Virtual Library Tours.

News Issues, and Information

Blogs. Blogs have become a popular way to provide current information and a discussion forum for patrons.

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Go to the The Unquiet LibraryLibrary of CongressLibrarian in BlackNo Shelf Required, Public Library of Brookline.

Current Events. From announcements to library news it's important to maintain a current events aspect to your website. Also consider links to local news as well as global news sources.

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Go to Denver Public Library and notice their news highlights on the front page.

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Go to Seattle Public Library Calendar and Los Angles Public Library Calendar and explore their online calendar.

Issues. Intellectual freedom, copyright, citing sources, and plagiarism are just a few of the issues important to libraries. You may wish to include resources related to these topics.

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Go to the Library of Congress and check out the Copyright Office.

Materials and Resources

Directories and Resource Guides. Many libraries provide directories and resource guides including reference links, kids links, organizations, and search tools. As you explore websites, notice how these materials are presented. How are they organized and annotated?

Electronic Books. E-books have become popular resources in many libraries. Your library may simply have information about e-books and links to online resources. Or, you may actually circulate e-books.

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Go to Ebooks from New York Public Library and Clevnet from Cleveland Public Library. Explore their online book services.

Electronic Databases. A wide variety of electronic databases are now available online. Although some of these resources are available to all users, many have licensing restrictions. For example, their use may be limited to in-library use or they may allow home access within a certain area or online service. Some libraries require patrons to use their library card number and password to access electronic databases.

Some libraries are creating original databases using locally obtained information such as historical documents or photographs.

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Go to Columbus Metropolitan Library Databases and explore their reference options and top databases.

Government and Local Resources. Local, state/provincial, national, world information can be found at many online libraries.

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Go to Voter's Guide from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Allen County Library Genealogy Center for examples.

Online Catalog. Access to print, electronic, visual, audio, and video resources is provided by a web-based catalog. In some areas, patrons can even order materials through the web for home delivery.try itTry It!
Go to AquaBrowser from Allen County Public Library and Library Catalog from Multnomah County Public Library.

Periodicals. Many online libraries provide annotated lists of print and electronic newspapers, journals, and magazines. Some even provide links to magazines or access to electronic subscriptions.Like electronic databases, some of these materials are restricted to local library users through password access.

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Go to Magazines Online from Multnomah County Public and Magazine and Newspaper Collection from Naperville Public Libraries. Explore their selections.

Reference. Many people use the library to answer reference questions. Many websites provide annotated list of online and print resources for information, data, and statistics.

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Go to Databases and Reference Tools from Santa Clara Public Library. Do you think the way they have organized their online collection?

Resources. Online libraries often provide lists and guides to traditional resources (i.e., audiobooks, videos, CDs, books).

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Go to Video Room from Wheaton Public Library and Audiovisual from Carmel Clay Public Library. How would these resources assist online users?

Go to the Audiobooks from Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Public Library. 

Go to the Oregon Digital Library Consortium Library2Go.

Special Collections. Photographs; virtual field trips and museums; audio and video collections are just a few examples of the types of online special collections available through libraries. These collections are often partnerships with local community members and museums.

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Go to National Agricultural Library and explore their collections.

Go to the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library from Duke University. 

Go to the University of Washington Libraries Digital Colletions.

Subject Guides. Many libraries provide starting points for topics related to specific groups (i.e., children, teens, teachers, librarians). These resources may be lists of resources or whole sections of a website devoted to a particular group such as kids or teens.

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Go to Guides from Multnomah County Library. Notice how they are organized by subject.


Pathfinders are starting points and study guides for topics that include print and electronic (i.e., web, audio, video) resources. Hotlists use "higher order thinking skills". Don't just ask students to go to the site and write down facts. Design activities that ask students to analyze information and make decisions.

Rather than just providing one site, you may wish to provide a series of sites for a particular project. Carefully select sites that provide insights into particular aspects of the project, then develop activities to go with each site. It's also a good idea to provide a brief description of each site along with the activity so students know what to look for in the site. Get students involved with the development of your pages.

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Go to Student Guides from Lakewood Public Library. Explore their pathfinders.

Go to 42explore. Explore examples of how hotlists can be organized.


Treasure hunts, subject samplers, and WebQuests get students involved with information they find on the Internet. Hunts focus on using specific sites to answer questions. In some cases, they ask students to search the Internet to answer questions on a particular topic or range of topics rather than providing specific sites.

WebQuests require more planning, but also involve students in the highest levels of thinking. The project could include an overview, guidelines, questions, links, and a chance to write, create a product, or answer questions.

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Go to WebQuests from Teacher Tap. Explore examples of webquest as a format for an inquiry-based activity.

Go to Identify Content for Your Class Page. Explore the resources and possibilities. Explore the following libraries and look for some of the features described on this page:
Naperville Public Library
Richland County Public Library
Washington Centerville Library
Wheaton Public Library

Instructional Materials

Many libraries provide links to instructional materials in K12 subject areas. They also may provide adult literacy or ESL materials.

Many students and teachers are working together to create instructional projects that include case studies, virtual field trips, practice, simulations, and tutorials.

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Visit West Elementary in Loogootee, Indiana uses the web as a way to teach others about what they are learning in their classes.

Case Studies

In case studies, the student is usually presented with a single or series of problems, incidents, or situations. They would explore information in the web, link to other sites, and make recommendations to solve the problem. Ask students to pretend they are buying a new car. They can use the web to price the car, hunt for good financing rates, and compare insurance coverage.

Learning Guides

Tutorials, guides, ideas, and links are often available at online libraries to assist people with study, research, and information skills. Some also provide tutorials related to using the computer or other technology. Many libraries focus on how patrons can use the process information (i.e., Big6). Some libraries also provide materials on issues and topics such as citing sources, copyright, and censorship.

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Go to Library Tutorials from Colorado State University Libraries and Yale University Library Tutorials.

Go to Brown University Library Video Tutorials.

Virtual Field Trips

These online trips can take people to places they couldn't otherwise visit. Sometimes visits are real-time, live interactive experiences, other trips are recordings from past trips or simulated field trips such as trips to the moon. Many classes create virtual field trips using the photographs they take on live field trips to places such as parks and museums.

Practice and Testing

Internet provides many ways for students to practice new concepts. There are also opportunities for testing. Many teachers use sites such as Quia to create online quizzes for their class. Piano on the Net teaches users to play the piano.


Online simulations help students apply their skills to "real life" situations by providing an environment to manipulate variables, examine relationships, and make decisions. They may be used to prepare students for a field trip or real experiment. For example, frog dissection simulations are commonly used in biology. While some simulations have a particular mission to accomplish, others are intended to help students explore a particular situation or environment. In most cases, simulations should be used as a culminating activity after students have basic skills in the concepts being addressed in the web site. Without the background skills, the simulation may become a game rather than a meaningful learning experience.


Many teachers create online tutorials for their classroom. Explore the materials from the Physics Classroom. Tutorials address a specific objective and provide new information including lots of examples and nonexamples. They also provide opportunities for students to practice with feedback. For example, you could link to an answer page. Many teachers develop homework help pages.

Promotional Materials

Schools and libraries often use the website to promote materials, services, and events.


Library website often post a list of regularly scheduled events (i.e., storytime, classes), special events and promotions. Sometimes portions of the events are even held online such as video conferences or live chats with authors.

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Go to Library New Arrivals and Events Calendar from Allen County Public Library and Calendar from Naperville Public Library for examples of announcements and events calendars.

Fairs and Shows

Book fairs, science fairs, and art fairs are commonly held in libraries. Website often post photographs, fair guidelines, and event information.

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Go to Programs from the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library and Programs from the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library. Explore the opportunities at these libraries.


Information about current projects and activities is another popular library website component. Some libraries even sponsored large scale projects.

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Go to Vision Literacy Adult Literacy Services from Santa Clara Public Library and Explore their online projects. What kinds of projects could you sponsor at your library site?

Promotional Materials

Reading activities, author visits, and film studies are just a few of the promotional events you'll find in local libraries. Many of these events and their materials are moving to the online environment.

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Go to Wow! Kids from the Denver Public Library and Event Finder from the Cuyahoga County Library and explore their promotions. 

Communication and Collaboration

The Internet is a great tool for communication and collaboration. Communication projects involve students sharing information with others. In addition to sharing collaboration projects, ask students to work together with other students at remote sites to reach a common goal.

Contact Information

You should post information about your web developer, provide an email, phone, and location contact, as well as copyright and acceptable use statements.

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Go to Contact Us from Multnomah County Public Library and notice the types of information they provide.


Many libraries are seeking new ways to communicate with their patrons. Email has become a popular tool. Some libraries now have email lists where they periodically send announcements and other information through email. Others make use of online discussion groups, chat, and instant messaging.

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Go to Book Alert from Carmel Clay Public Library. Notice how they use email lists.

Online Clubs and Connections

Book clubs and discussion groups have always been a part of libraries. Today, libraries are extending these activities to online groups.

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Go to Online Book Club from Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and Book Discussion Groups from Multnomah County Public. Notice how they have adapted these activities for online users.

Program Archives

Board agenda, minutes, newletters, policies, and other communications are often archived online for easy access.

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Go to Annual Report from Jones Library and Columbus Library Story.

Go to What's Happening from the Allen County Public Library.

Review Sites

Book, audio, video, and Internet review sites can all be posted on the Internet. Some libraries also encourage patrons to sharing their book, movie, and game reviews online. Many libraries use blogs for this type of activity.

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Go to Beehive from the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library and explore their book reviews. Consider the benefit of this type of resource.

Go to Book Reviews for Teens from Chicago Public Library and World of Reading from Ann Arbor Library.

Virtual Reference Desk Assistance

Many libraries offer email or chat communication for traditional reference questions. Some school libraries even provide online homework help.

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Go to Ask a Librarian from Library of Congress and Ask NYPL.

Collaborative Activities

Consider a project that involves students in a forum or other type of collaboration. Students love to share their work. The Internet has the world's biggest audience for your classroom projects.

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Visit Mrs. Silverman's Webfolio. She has been doing these types of online projects for several years including Frosty Readers, Bunny Readers, and Document-Based Question projects that involved teachers from many schools.


Podcasting is a popular way to add audio to a website. Ask patrons, students and teachers to submit their book reviews. It's a great alternative to the traditional book report. Students can even add their ideas to the reviews that other people have submitted.

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Visit Hopkinton High School & Hopkinton Middle School Library's Isinglass Teen Read Award Booktalks to hear student's podcasts of their book reviews, and Library Loft Podcasts from Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County to hear news, programs, and commentary created by and for teens.

Teacher Starters

Create a story starter web page system that gets students started, then encourages them to add or expand the project. Think big. Maybe you could have story starters or activities for each theme of the semester or each person you study. You could use paragraphs, pictures, and photographs for starting discussions, stories, or writing assignments. Users could copy and paste the information into a word processor. Participants could use snail mail, email, or the web to submit additions to your project.

Interactive Projects

Start a unit, experiment, or contest and ask others to join. Post proposed lessons, results of science experiments, or scanned pictures of woodworking projects. Summarize a book, link to an article or piece of artwork, then ask for critiques or reviews. Develop a peer development project for collaborative online creative writing, musical composing, or scientific inquiry. Hold online debates on topics of interest and archive the results.

Ask the Expert

Get involved with interacting with experts. Find experts and mentors to help your class answer specific questions. For example, you might email an office worker about the use of spreadsheets in the real world. You might get a firefighter, doctor, or scientist to answer questions that could be posted on your web page.

Data Collection

Polls, surveys, experiments, and other data collection activities are a great way to actively involve students from around the world in a wonderful learning experience. Post the goal of the activity, the task(s), procedures, and timeline well ahead of the project to recruit participants. Involve all the sites in data collection and sharing. Look for activities that are unique to different geographic areas. For example, ask students along a river to conduct water experiments. Or, conduct a pricing survey in different parts of the world. Be sure to post a map and list of participants on the web project page.

Joint Venture

There are endless opportunities for classes to work together toward a common goal. Look for projects that involve interaction and collaboration rather than just sharing. Develop a peer writing activity and combine information to create a single document or ask each site to add to a collage. Select projects that encourage students to take action.

Contests and Challenges

Students sometimes work harder when they have a challenge, but don't let competition get in the way of learning. Start with a positive collaboration and move into an activity where students work together to solve a problem. Hold contests where projects are peer reviewed based on specific criteria.


Websites provide often provide service pages.


Some libraries use their website to promote the library profession and recruit new workers. For example, you'll find job postings, student librarian opportunities, and other kinds of career and job information.

Policies and Procedures

Guides, lists, documents, forms, and rules are just a few of the types of policies and procedures that people post at their library website.

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Go to Library Bill of Rights at the San Diego Public Library.
Go to the Policies page at the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library.


Room scheduling, book reservations, and online book renewals are just a few of the services now offered online by many libraries.

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Go to Get a Library Card from the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library. Notice how they use an online form to request a library card.

Involvement and Volunteering

Many libraries rely on volunteers to make their program a success. Use your website to post promotions and opportunities to recruit and thank volunteers.

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Go to Support Your Library page at Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Library and notice their materials for making a difference.


Publishing projects involve students in posting information about what they are doing at their schools. Although some projects ask for critiques or feedback, most publishing projects are intended as final products to be shared with the world.

Writing, Artwork, Music, Multimedia Creations

Students can create a web project that represents a fiction and/or nonfiction original work. It could be an interactive work of fiction, a nonfiction exploration of a topic or issue, or a musical composition. Consider alternative presentation formats. You might use a "choose your own adventure" format or a linear fictional story with nonfiction links on each page. Create a historical fiction story that links to facts about the time period on a timeline. Consider something unique like information about your town or state that might be interesting people in your community.

Students can publish their word processed creative writing, poems, articles, and critiques. They can share their artwork including photographs, scans of artwork, digitized pictures of sculptures, masks, and other 3D art. Finally, they can post their Hyperstudio projects, and desktop presentations.


Use real-world experiences to bring the outside world closer to your students. Students have many exciting experiences at school. Classrooms are starting to share these experiences through the development of virtual field trips, reflection pages, and other experience-based web pages. Ask students to think about their audience. What would other people like to know about their experiences? How could they help others who might suffer through a similar experience?

Children who experience a traumatic event such as a natural disaster are expressing their feelings through web pages. Many children who lived through the Japanese earthquake or Hurricane Katrina shared experiences on the Internet.


Learning involves exploration and discovery. Inquiry projects ask students to reflect on their knowledge, ask questions, and seek answers. For example, in the Pigeon Inquiry students share their experiences learning about pigeons. Many inquiry pages are set up with the following categories: what we thought we knew, what questions we had, what we found in books and on the Internet, our data, and our conclusions. Inquiry projects can be developed for all subject areas.


Start an issues forum. Take a stand on an important social issue or discuss an environmental concern. Focus on local social activism, but link to national and international resources. Post your local projects. For example, show pictures before and after a local park clean-up effort. When you plan action projects, be sure that students act, not just write about the project.

Increasingly, students are taking action on topics and issues where they have exhibited great concern. For example, Epatrol is a large-scale project that asks students to display their artwork and opinions related to ecology and the environment.


Students have always made book reports and completed term papers. Today, an increasing number of students are publishing their work on the Internet. These research projects have often expanded to include oral histories, community projects, and lab experiments. Be creative! You might use a metaphor such as a museum, book, or a time machine to present your information. Consider a character or theme that could lead you through information throughout the project.

Information Resource

Start an information resource that could be used by others. You might design a region page, lizard page, or limerick page. It could have links to other sites as well as lots of original information. Include bibliographies and reviews of materials. Ask other people to provide input and ideas. Career information and contact center, a hobbies page, and a collection page are other possibilities.


Create an online demonstration project. It could teach a skill, describe an experiment, or illustrate the correct/incorrect procedure for an activity. This type of project would be highly visual and contain graphics, photographs, or movies that would help a user understand the concept.

Some students want to share their understanding of a particular skill or demonstrate how to make something so others could make it themselves.

Alternative Products

Develop a model that could be used by students to learn about a topic or gain ideas for their own product. For example, create an interactive travel brochure including clickable maps, a greeting in the country's native language, and lists of destinations and activities. Or, create an interactive timeline that would provide information about major historical events and biographical sketches of historic figures.

Some of the best student-produced web projects come from two global projects: ThinkQuest and CyberFair. ThinkQuest and ThinkQuest Jr. are annual web publishing contests. Students submit a project-based on one of the subject areas or an interdisciplinary area. Projects are judged on a series of categories including their ability to teach and interact with users. For example, the Faces and Figures In Art project focuses on art featuring people. It including information, examples, galleries, forums, quizzes, and a workshop.

The CyberFair project encourages international teams to work together on collaborative projects on topics such as local specialities, the arts, and the environment. The Exploravision project is an example of one of the many other contest sites. This contest focuses on science. Spend some time exploring examples from these projects before designing your own.

School Library Topics

Spend some time exploring schools currently on the web. The following list will provide some things to consider.

General Library Topics

Spend some time exploring libraries currently on the web. The following list will provide some things to consider.


Quality web resources begin with a user investigation that incorporates a wide range of tools to discover the information needs of the target audience.


Whither "User Experience Design"? by Jonathan Korman

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