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Bloomsbury Design Library

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Bloomsbury Design Library (BDL) provides information, much of it scholarly, on art, artists, and architecture from 1500 BCE to the present. It offers access to books published by Bloomsbury Publishing, and also information about certain museums and their exhibits and some images of items in these collections. The site also offers tools for educators, such as lesson plans and bibliographic guides. The site has a clear layout that is consistent across most pages and the content seems to be abundant. However, on closer inspection the content is less robust than it appears; it is repeated in various forms throughout the website. On the plus side, this makes things more discoverable; for example, someone looking for Southern African design can find it more easily in the “place” category than by searching through the entire Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design. On the downside, the redundancy makes it difficult to remember where one is on the site, as the same thing can be seen multiple times and there is sometimes a lack of sufficient breadcrumbs to show users how they got to a particular page. In addition, some of the topics have only one to three items on their pages. Though it is valuable to have access to entire scholarly books such as the abovementioned encyclopedia and the overall design of the website is clear and pleasing, the lack of varied content and the insufficient use of breadcrumbs keep BDL from reaching its full potential.

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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