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November 23, 2010 [posted]

Books with New Looks: The Bookshelf Redesign

The books in Bookshelf have been given a new look as part of a redesign that is taking place in several stages. The Bookshelf redesign goes beyond cosmetic enhancements; it includes infrastructural improvements to facilitate the discovery of information at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

The first (and completed) stage is the redesign that improves how all book pages are displayed. The table of contents page of every book now displays the book's bibliographic data, such as the book title, author, publisher, and copyright information. A thumbnail display of the book cover shows prominently and an abstract or excerpt from the book is displayed above the table of contents. On the right side of the page, related PubMed® citations and history of recent activity may display (see Figure 1). Where available, links to other NCBI resources, such as Gene and OMIM, may also display. These new panels mark the ongoing work to create rich links between NCBI resources and to maximize discoverability of related materials.

In common with PubMed, the blue NCBI header and search bar are displayed at the top of all pages, and at the bottom of each page the standard NCBI footer links to many NCBI resources. Click on “Bookshelf” (upper left on any page) to return to the homepage.

Once inside a book, all pages have been given a more balanced and clean layout. The text of the page is more readable through improved page layout, typography, and standardized headings. Figures can be quickly previewed: a large version of the image pops up over the page when you mouseover the thumbnail (see Figure 2). Clicking on the thumbnail opens the image in a new window and allows you to see the title and caption for the figure.

From the interior pages of a book, searching within the book is the default, however, you can expand the search to the whole Bookshelf, or search any of the other NCBI resources by choosing a different option from the dropdown menu next to the search box (see Figure 3).

One of the main goals of the redesign was to improve navigation, and this has been achieved in a number of ways.

On every book page, brief bibliographic information is available, and you can click on the "Table of Contents Page" link or the image of the book cover to return to the first page of the book (see Figure 4).

Use the "Go to" menu to access links to other sections within the page. The titles of sections within the page are also listed on the right (see Figure 5). Each section also has a top link to quickly take you to the top of the page.

There are several ways to access the Table of Contents Page from within the book (see Figure 6):

  1. Click on "Contents" for a preview of the table of contents.
  2. Click on the "Table of Contents Page" link.
  3. Click on the image of the book cover or the "Table of Contents Page" link that appears below it.

Next and Previous buttons at the top and bottom of every page allow you to quickly move forward or backwards through the book (see Figure 7).

The URL for each book or book unit, such as a chapter, includes an accession identifier. Links to books created using the previous URL format will be preserved through redirection.

A copyright link at the bottom of each page takes you to a copyright page that links to all the publishers' copyright information pages.

The next steps for Bookshelf include a new homepage and a redesigned search interface; a new browse tool; and new pages highlighting new and featured content. Stay tuned for more information!

Bookshelf has added many new titles in the last year. Be sure to sign up for the Bookshelf RSS feed, to stay in the loop about design updates and the new books and resources available in Bookshelf.

By Laura Dean, Rebecca Orris, and Marilu Hoeppner
Bookshelf, Electronic Literature Services
National Center for Biotechnology Information

Dean L, Orris R, Hoeppner M. Books with New Looks: The Bookshelf Redesign. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Nov-Dec;(377):e9.

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