Terminology for Library Websites: Interim Minnesota Guidelines

North Dakota State University Library - Fargo, ND.

North Dakota State University Library - Fargo, ND.

"Place a Hold," "Request an Item," "Request," "Get It!"... in other words: "Library Staff, please go to the shelf, get this thing for me, and keep it somewhere until I can come to pick it up!"

All libraries have struggled with the question of what words or terms to use to help their patrons make the best, most efficient use of their websites. In an effort to help answer those questions, the Minitex/Minnesota State Library Standards Review Task Force established a Working Group that has sought to identify terms or phrases that:

  • Could be used to standardize library webpage language to make the pages more understandable for the typical library user.
  • Could help users navigate easily to services and resources offered by libraries, such as online information resources.

Library Terminology Survey icon. Through a combination of research and an online survey, which drew more than 7600 responses from library users, the Working Group has considered the topic and prepared terminology recommendations for ten activities and services commonly included on the websites of academic, public, K-12, state government, and other libraries. (The survey, which was identified by this blue book icon, was hosted on the websites of more than 50 Minnesota libraries and library organizations.)

The Group presents its recommendations in these Interim Guidelines for Minnesota public and academic libraries and urges members of the library community to take part in their ongoing discussion of the topic.

As outlined in the report, the online survey drew significant numbers of responses from users of academic and public libraries, but insufficient response from users of K-12 media centers for the Working Group to make conclusions about the value of attempting to standardize terminology on websites for libraries from K-12 through higher education and public libraries.

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