Creating a Website:
The internet is a widely used tool for travel. A variety of online resources is available for students to plan and purchase necessary travel accommodations. However there are often problems finding, valid, safe and secure sites. To help eliminate this problem our library, in addition to a physical collection, will maintain a travel resources website. The website provides a centralized location where student can have access to recommended places to research topics such as plane tickets, passport requirements and other travel resources. It will also provide a place for the online information mentioned by the sub-genres to organize and be presented.
For example: Our website will most likely be similar in format to this Brown University resource.
Information Needs/Information Seeking Behavior:
In order to establish the necessary online content, our group will first have to establish what the information needs are from our students. Online information needs from the various sub-genres will be gathered and allow us to organize our information into an interface which is useful and well utilized by our students. One of the ways in which we can analyze the success of our website will be through questionnaires:
These poll questions can be expanded to include user commentary and allow the librarians to gain a better sense of what the students are looking for when they visit our website. The survey is also a way of testing how the students are finding the information they need. If for instance we find that the majority of our study abroad audience utilizes Kayak when searching for plane tickets we will know to include it as a recommended site. Also we could create a survey to establish a folksonomy for the items in our collection and perhaps take these into consideration when giving our collection subject headings or metadata.
Search and Discovery:
A goal of our online resource is to give the students a centralized location with trustworthy information. When a student is searching for information about their possible location abroad it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. It is the goal of this collection and website to simplify the process of search and discovery. The students will have the opportunity to browse a collection they know is filled with school approved culture guides, language guides, maps and travel books.
Also, instead of creating multiple searches for plane tickets, culture information, passports etc the website will centralize information. Our data portal will not be an unorganized list of hyper links. Users should be able to easily browse the page and find what they were looking for. In order to do this website maintenance is essential and continual feed back from our students will also be necessary.
General vs Country vs. Webography:
A distinction to note in our website will be the difference in content between general, country and webography. Within the general sections, links will be provided to appeal to a broader student audience. For example, website about adapting to culture shock, or an online translation dictionary containing multiple languages, would be placed in the general sections. Country sections will allow students to view the online resources for a specific countries. So, if there is a specific Japanese culture shock resource, or a more comprehensive German language dictionary, then these will be delegated accordingly to the country section. The webography section will contain resources which could be considered additional information. Videos, a fun game, points of interest on Google Earth, are all examples of what a user could expect to find in the webography section.
Various online travel resources that we may want to model our site after:
D’Ambra, J., et. al., Use Of the World Wide Web for International Travel: Integrating the Construct Of Uncertainty in Information Seeking and the Task-Technology Fit (TTF) Model. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology v. 55 no. 8 (June 2004) p. 731-42
Coutts, B. E. Travel on the Web; sites to help you plan your vacation. College & Research Libraries News v. 63 no. 4 (April 2002) p. 271-5
Russ, K. What’s up? Docs. Government Information@yourLibrary. Start Your Travels Prepared!. Arkansas Libraries v. 62 no. 2 (Summer 2005) p. 18-21
Burton, D. Travel.State.Gov [and] Department of State Travel and Living Abroad [Web sites review]. Government Information Quarterly v. 23 no. 3/4 (2006) p. 509-10