Courthouse Libraries BC have just launched their new website. The revamped online presence can be found at courthouselibrary.ca and represents a completely fresh take on how the organization interacts with its user base on the web. In addition to a significantly updated design, key features of the new site include:
* Integrated search – a single, powerful search application that can search any or all of 10 different library sources (e.g. the library catalogue, their in-house “asked & answered” database, their unreported decisions database, etc.);
* Practice Portals– practice-specific hubs designed to provide practitioners’ with ready access to key resources, texts, legislation, leading authorities and recent news in a single environment. There are five practice portals initially (Civil litigation, Family law, Personal Injury, Wills & Estates, and Practice Management & Technology) with plans already underway to add more;
* User Accounts individual user accounts that can save preferences, order histories and searches;
* News filtering by practice area – self-explanatory; and
* A new blog, “The Stream” which will serve as a platform for Library staff to provide their insight and commentary on law and legal research developments relevant to British Columbia lawyers.
Also of key importance in my view is that CLBC’s extensive involvement in the development and operation of a separate (and excellent) legal information site geared specifically to the public – CLICKLAW – has enabled the organization to focus the new Courthouselibary.ca site squarely on the needs of practicing lawyers. While both sites are fully accessible to anyone, separating out the offerings to cater more specifically to their respective user bases can only result in better user experiences across the board.
Skunkworks is proud to have been involved in several aspects of this project although full credit goes to our friends at Habanero Consulting Group for the top-notch site build and to the Courthouse Libraries’ team for their vision both in engaging in extensive user consultation and research into what users wanted from a new library website and in their willingness to explore new approaches and priorities even where such choices represented fundamental shifts away from established library processes. It’s accepted wisdom in marketing circles that brave clients make for interesting work. For me, this has been a textbook example of exactly that.