The New List Editor


If you're reading this you've likely followed a link from the redesigned list editor in your library’s catalog website, and if so, thank you for reaching out to us!


The new list editor was redesigned from the ground up, after many hours of user testing, and it incorporates a significant number of suggestions from library staff about the first iteration we launched in the spring. Some highlights:

  • a paradigm shift to separate privacy from completion state (draft or published)
  • autosaving as you work. You don't need to worry about losing your list if you accidentally close your browser and you don't have to worry about spamming activity feeds
  • visually appealing, automatically generated collage of cover images at the top of the list
  • a new list type for readalikes: If You Liked...
  • new visibility types

Why did we go in this direction?

Lists in BiblioCommons are meant to serve one primary purpose: providing curated recommendations that are shared in the platform. Our goal was to provide a place where you can share your expertise and subject knowledge with the community at large. This is part of our vision to provide a digital space that is engaging and helps to build a community of readers (and movie buffs and music lovers).

However, our analysis of how list were being used showed that a percentage of users were created creating lists as a method to track the items they were reading or were going to read. Our users were essentially creating Lists instead of using Shelves.

With the data we had at hand and a goal of promoting curated lists in the BiblioCommons platform and in the libraries you are a part of, we launched a months-long journey to address these issues. It was an iterative process that took into account our goals, standard design principles, feedback, and a lot of user research.  

We strive to deliver software the libraries and patrons fall in love with, our hope is that the new list editor becomes an indispensable tool that everyone can fall in love with. 

As a side note, we recognize that shelves are in need of love; the good news is that we are undertaking an initiative to make shelves responsive, accessible and amazing. We hope to have something for you next year!


What's New

Drafts vs Published Lists

A draft is a list that is in progress. Drafts are visible only to the list creator, and they will only appear on My Lists for the list creator. 

Published lists can be visible to everyone in the system, only certain people, or only the list creator. You determine that when you publish the list. In the legacy editor, a list was public unless you checked the Keep private checkbox. In the new editor, a list is a draft until you publish it, and you determine who can see it when it's published. 

When you first create your list, you are creating a draft: 

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 3.12.11 PM.png

It appears in the My Drafts block on your My Lists page. Once the list is finished, you publish it, and the draft is deleted. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 3.12.35 PM.png

On your My Lists page, the list is deleted from the My Drafts block and appears in the My Published Lists block.

If you choose to edit that published list, a new draft is created and your changes are saved to the draft version, but those will not appear on the published view until you publish it again:

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 2.39.00 PM.png

Note that before you can publish a list, it must contain at least four items. Lists with fewer than four titles remain as drafts.

List Visibility and Privacy

When you are ready to publish your list and make it available to the world, you need to confirm where you want that list to be visible. 


Everyone: the list will appear everywhere. That includes list search results, on the bib page, on the homepage carousels (Recent Staff Lists and Recent Lists), etc. This is the default, because lists are meant to be shared.

People in a Specific Location: this option limits the locations where your list will appear, and is variable by library.

Visible by Link: useful when you want to share the list through your own means. This type of list doesn't appear in search results, on the bib page, on the homepage carousels, on the embeddable widgets, or on the activity feeds.

Me Only: A list with this visibility will never appear to anyone else, no matter what.  Previously created private lists will have this visibility, and display on the My Lists page with a lock icon.


My Lists Page Improvements

The My Lists page has been divided into two sections: My Drafts and My Published Lists.

Drafts are lists that have never been published, or have been published but modified since publication. They are visible only to the list creator:


In the My Published Lists section, you'll notice that some lists display Unpublished Changes. This means that the list has been published, but you also have a more recent version with changes in the My Drafts section.


The My Published List block has an additional column, Visibility, that displays who can see the list. You determine this when you publish the list. 

Cover Image Generator

We generate a cover image that we refer to as a lattice. A lattice is a grid with up to nine images.

Initially, the lattice design will only display when viewing or editing a list. Eventually, it will be used across the entire platform, including list widgets, search results, and carousels. 

Closing Notes

If you have specific things about the list redesign you'd like to share with me, you can submit feedback through the toolbar on the list editor. I'd love to hear from you. 

Thank you,

Yasmary Mora, Product Manager / BiblioCore