Tag Archives: information-architecture

Academic Papers folksonomies hierarchies information-retrieval information design knowledge-management Knowledge-Organization-Systems metadata Papers personas pick-lists social-bookmarking Taxonomies user-centered design

A user-centered redesign of the Kent State SLIS site

Note: This was originally created for an information architecture class – the project was to redesign the Kent State School of Library Science web site. You can also see a usability study of the site.

Executive Summary

The current Kent State University School of Library Science (SLIS) does not meet the needs of the department. This project outlines a plan and strategy for designing a new site. The new site will better communicate the department’s image and core attributes to the outside world and better meet the needs of users. This report covers the entire process, from research and project goals, through the development of a new design and how to measure success. Major recommendations include the use of a simple content management system (CMS), a new navigation structure and graphic design, and a few new content elements such as news, video, and podcasts.


This report will cover the overall strategy for the redesign of the Kent State University SLIS web site, including the site’s audiences, the vision for the site, and analysis of the content and maintenance. Finally, recommendation are made for the content, information architecture, and design of the new site. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a coherent analysis and plan for the SLIS department to execute. The result will be a site that better projects the image of the department, better serves the users, and, if possible, makes the staff’s job a little bit easier.

Site content has been updated, but the organization and design of the site has been the same since 2000. The web has changed a great deal in the last 5 years, and the Kent SLIS site look and feel is not exactly cutting edge. The faculty and staff have voiced a desire to update the site, and there is anecdotal evidence that at least some students find the site lacking. Any new design must better address the needs of the site’s audiences and should better project the image of the department to the outside world. Also, the process used to update the current site is slow and unwieldy. The new site will solve three main problems: poor ease of use, an image that does not fit the department, and difficulty updating the site and communicating with users.

The process followed in creating this report has included requirements-gathering meetings with SLIS faculty and staff, content analysis of the current site, analysis of server logs, brainstorming sessions with Information Architecture Knowledge Management (IAKM) students, analysis of similar sites, academic usability research, the creation of persona, card sorting exercises, wireframing, prototyping and other techniques. The report will recommend additional steps such as formal usability testing be taken as well.

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Ontology for Radiological Terrorism Research


The ontology was created from the Radiological Terrorism Research Thesaurus, specifically constrained to the portions under the term “material sources” and “consequence management” (now called response). Other classes not found in these areas, but referenced by fields in these areas, are included, but not developed—this includes Organization, Event, Expertise, Person, and Material and their subclasses.


Terrorism is an incredibly important issue, and agencies within the US and worldwide need to meet the challenge of compiling and organizing research in a number of fields in order to counter this very real threat. In addition, agencies have been criticized in the past for not sharing information, or maintaining knowledge organization systems (KOS) which are incompatible with each other. Work is often duplicated, and often vital information will be unavailable to some agencies even though it has already been archived by others.

Clearly, there is a need for a large-scale KOS that can be used to organize information efficiently and correctly, allow for complex analysis of information, and allow for easy knowledge sharing between agencies. The most flexible and powerful KOS, and therefore the most appropriate, is an ontology. Classes, subclasses and relationships are developed and then appropriate fields are created for each. This allows for faceted search and display, automated search, hierarchical organization of information, and interoperability with other systems.


This is just a sample of the larger, more complete ontology. The complete ontology would be useful for virtually any person or agency dealing with anti-terrorism, counterterrorism, intelligence or consequence management. The ontology will allow risk assessment officers, for example, to see a list of every high-level material source in the United States and Canada and their coordinates. Medical first responders could use it to catalog and retrieve proper treatments for specific bioterrorism agents. And if widely-adopted, it would greatly reduce the barriers to efficient knowledge-sharing. If the Department of Energy we to license a new Uranium mine in Montana, the information would be immediate available to risk-assessment officers, instead of requiring time for the paperwork to make its way over to the Department of Homeland Security.


View and navigate the ontology