List Redesign - Notes from the Product Manager

Last update: June 22, 2017

Hello, if you're reading this you've likely followed a link from the preview of our new List Creation Workflow, available to staff members at bibliocommons libraries. If you aren't one of those, then this probably isn't of much interest to you.

This early preview of the new list creation tool was meant to get feedback from users who need the tool daily to do their jobs -- mainly librarians who are responsible for creating lists to promote content from their collections.

In setting out to redesign the list creation workflow, we had a number of challenges that were borne out of the evolution of the tool over years of development. This first iteration addresses some of these challenges, but we are still working to change a number of things under the covers over the next few months.

The two biggest and most important things we've done are:

  1. adding a new list type called "If you liked...". This allows you to take a specific catalog item and create a list of similar items. Our hope is that these lists become the foundation for a new, human curated recommendation engine that will help us provide recommendations to library users based on thoughtful list creation. 
  2. adding a new process that generates a collage of images from the individual items in the list - this image is sharable on social media and provides a much better visual draw to entice people to take an interest in your content.

The workflow for creating and editing lists has changed quite a bit. Each change was based on design principles, user feedback, and research into common needs by list creators. There are a number of things that have not yet been incorporated, but which are coming soon:

  • Autosaving lists: each change you make will be automatically saved so you don't lose your work, particularly if you're on a shared staff account and someone logs you out by accident
  • Allowing better control of where a new item gets added to a list (top, bottom, in the middle)
  • Clearer control over the visibility of the list (private, published, personal recommendation)
  • Tools for multiple users to contribute to a single list or transfer ownership of the list

As we work towards these, we are also working towards new ways to expose lists in the catalog, including more attractive displays on the recent activity page, in feeds, in user profiles, and on the staff picks page. In addition, we're looking forward to showing relevant lists in search results as an alternate discovery path for patrons, given that very few people search lists explicitly.

These changes will be coming out as part of iterations on the preview over the next few months. We're reading the feedback that comes in very carefully and using as much as we can to make further improvements.

If you have specific things about the list redesign you'd like to share with me, I would appreciate an email at

Thank you,

Iain Lowe, Director of Product / BiblioCore