Last changed 14 Nov 1998 ............... Length about 900 words (6000 bytes).
This is a WWW document maintained by Steve Draper, installed at

Web site logical path: [] [~steve] [resources] [launchpad] [this page]
Related pages: [main launchpad]     [about the launchpad]     [more links]     [example searches]

About the Launch pad for literature searches

This page is about the design of the launchpad page.

Contents (click to jump to a section)

Rationale for its design

At the moment, the launchpad is designed to suit me, and what I think I'll find useful for literature-related searches.
The longer term aim is to modify it to suit student needs.

The aim of any "launchpad" page is to be like a browser's "Home page": a page that loads as fast as possible, that users come back to frequently, and that contains a lot of much-used links that are good starting points for that user and task. Thus I want to keep the page small by including only heavily used links; and with very small explanations of what they are, since anyone who uses the launchpad much will soon know what the links mean. In fact, I've compromised. In my private launchpad I have got it down to a single screen (no scrolling), which I haven't managed for this launchpad. To get it down, I pack much more on one line, and reduce descriptions of links to about 5 letters each and have no section headings. In this launchpad, I've used headings and blank lines, and mostly have only one logical item per line. This is clearer for new users, but means not everything can be seen at one time.

The idea of a launchpad is to be designed around a task (literature searches), rather than a logical structure. I have followed this task-orientation in dividing the launchpad into sections. Thus I haven't put everything to do with Strathclyde library together, but put all the catalogues together, and all the opening-hour information together, because I expect users to need these kinds of information at different times. The tasks I have identified are:

I've included both telnet and WWW interfaces to databases, where available, because I find the telnet ones are often considerably faster (at least from my office computer) than the WWW ones, even though they are less good looking.

Help for users

  • Advice on critical reviews, including advice on searching.
  • Stephany's introduction to web searching.
  • Example searches are provided on a companion page (link at top of this page).
  • APA guide for students to lit. searches

    Help for the designer (me)

    Send me feedback by emailing me: or some other way.

    I could use feedback of many kinds:

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