To the new learning page team -- my apologies for being so long in providing
First -- it's beautiful. It has a visual appeal that is important for casual
browsers and first time visitors.
The order of options on the screen is good, too; I was glad when I clicked on
"American Memory" and got a few paragraphs explaining the collection. I think
the headings on the new page flow more intuitively than did those on the old
page, which is helpful to casual browsers and first time visitors.
I agree with the others who have said that we miss the list of collections on
the first page, but having to click another step to get to that list is not a
What is a bigger issue, I think, is the way that the collections are organized
on the first page. The most obvious option is to pick from a category of
interest. The option to search a time frame or a medium is available, but to
the bottom and in a smaller font. The headings "Hear/Read/View" are
provocative, but not completely clear.
With the emphasis on categories of interest, the page reminded me of a generic
search engine page where you can choose a heading in the same way you choose a
section of the newspaper. While I applaud this fun, friendly, unintimidating
look, the category of interest approach is not, in my opinion, the most
satisfactory for the learner/searcher who has a specific goal in mind. If you
have a narrow topic to pursue, it is difficult to determine which of those
overlapping and intersecting categories to search in first. For instance, I
did not have the foggiest idea which button to click for the WPA narratives --
agriculture, history, languages, social sciences could all apply.
In addition, the categories don't coordinate well with the LC subject headings
we've all come to know so well, thus making a search there quite different
from those that researchers are accustomed to undertaking.
As such, it seems to me it is set up more for the person who wants to "tour"
the site casually -- an explorer rather than a researcher. I'm not sure this
is bad, especially as this may be the majority of people who go to the AM
page, but it does feel less satisfactory to me in some ways.