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National library web sites in Europe: an analysis

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Purpose ‐ An overview of the contents and design of web pages of the European national libraries. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The theoretical part features the concepts, problems and guidelines for design related to web sites of national libraries. Based on this knowledge, an expert evaluation was carried out, including a brief overview of all homepages of European national libraries, accessible from the Gabriel server in 2004, as well as a much broader survey of web sites of nine national libraries (Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Italy (Florence), Poland, Slovenia, Spain, UK). Findings ‐ The survey shows that European national library web sites do, in fact, have a common core of content and, in large part, follow the design guidelines, but there are still some deviations from the recommendations. National libraries of the economically better developed countries have better web sites in terms of the following guidelines, whereas national libraries of the Eastern and Southern European countries fare slightly worse. Originality/value ‐ This paper identifies the sites that set the example for other libraries to follow. Also, a list of actual shortcomings of the existing web sites is presented.

Keywords: Design; Europe; Function evaluation; National libraries; Worldwide web

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2005


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