Hollis Gets a New Look, Address
In addition to its physical renovations over the summer, Harvard also underwent some virtual changes. The HOLLIS website, formerly known as HOLLIS Plus, has a brand-new look and an increased number of resources.
HOLLIS stands for "Harvard OnLine Library Information System."
Try the old website, and a sleek new page announces, "HOLLIS Plus is no longer in service. Its replacement, HOLLIS, can be found at http://lib.harvard.edu."
According to Caren E. Smith, development team manager at the Office for Information Systems, "The URL was changed from 'hplus' in part to reflect the external name change [the system is no longer called HOLLIS Plus], but also to provide a standard name."
The website changes often as resources are added monthly, Smith said, but this summer brought with it a whole new look as well as a new address for the resource.
The URL change was also intended to help Harvard meet the standards developing among universities.
"At more and more universities, the library site is called 'lib.university.edu' or 'library.university.edu', and either of these works for HOLLIS," Smith said.
The site has gone an extensive front-end design change. Instead of black text on a white background with blue links, the simplest and most common look, especially for beginning sites, HOLLIS now comes in brown and crimson, with useful buttons and pull-down menus at the top and a consistent seal on all pages.
"The new HOLLIS has a more intuitive interface," Smith said.
However, there have also been substantive changes inside the site. According to the website, when HOLLIS Plus was created it had only 17 electronic resources. Now, with over 1,300 resources, designers decided that the method of organization needed to be more than just alphabetical.
"It's now possible to limit just to 'biology electronic journals,' instead of scrolling through the entire list of electronic journals," Smith said.
The site offers features designed for students' convenience, she said.
"The 'Libraries: Hours' link presents an overall list of hours for all the libraries, so if someone just needs to find a library to work in on Sunday morning, we've made it easier," she said.
Another feature of the new site is the ease of accessing other libraries' sites.
"People may not realize that individual libraries provide many links on their own pages which are not listed at the HOLLIS site," Smith said. "The search feature provides a means for finding those additional resources."
Some students said they missed the site's familiar incarnation.
"It's prettier, but not necessarily easier to navigate," Lisa J. Wilde '01 said of the new site.
Wilde said she uses the site mainly for its online resources like the Oxford English Dictionary.
"It takes more clicks to get there now," she said.
But Smith said that overall student and staff reactions have been positive. And librarians have been prepared to help students.
"We were able to install the system in the window between summer school ending and the law school term beginning, so librarians were able to become familiar with the system before large numbers of students returned," Smith said.
But this is not the end of the process; more change is in store. While Smith does not foresee a redesign of the site in the near future, changes to the HOLLIS library catalog are planned, according to the library website.
"As part of the HOLLIS II Project, Harvard will replace the HOLLIS Catalog with a new entirely web-based public catalog system. When HOLLIS II becomes available, HOLLIS Web will be discontinued," the site reads.