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Revised Harvard Libraries Portal Launched on June 25

On Wednesday, June 25, the Harvard University Library (HUL) Office for Information Systems launched a revised "portal" page for the Harvard Libraries site ( This revision addresses design and usability concerns that had arisen since the portal was initially launched. At the same time, it increases flexibility, simplifies maintenance, and provides a short-term solution until mid-2004, when HUL plans to introduce a completely new library research portal based on MetaLib software from Ex Libris.

The revised Harvard Libraries portal:

  • retains the portal's original "drop-down" navigation system (to preserve visual and navigational consistency), but clarifies it by exposing all drop-down menu items on the lower half of the portal page;
  • improves the use of "real estate" by emphasizing text over graphics;
  • facilitates ease of maintenance by replacing static graphic elements (such as the original drop-down menus) with easily editable text;
  • provides additional room for news, announcements, and featured resources;
  • adds two new informational links: "Finding Materials at Harvard," a basic guide for Harvard library users, and "FAQ for Visitors," which answers six of the most commonly asked questions by those outside the University;
  • provides a stronger visual and informational connection to the University's home page at; and
  • uses a "stretchable" template adaptable to computer screens of virtually any size.

Comments on the revised portal top page (or on either the new "Finding Materials at Harvard" guide or the "FAQ for Visitors") should be addressed to the Harvard Libraries Portal Interface Committee (

The revision of the portal was accomplished in a collaborative effort of the ULC's Public Services Committee, the Portal Interface Committee, the HUL Office for Information Systems, and the HUL Office of the Director.

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 23, 2003.