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October 4, 2019

OSLIS Updates: Responsive Design, Accessibility, & Citation Maker

Here is a screenshot version of the announcement that includes images. 

Hi Folks, 

It’s now fall, but I want to let you know about some summer updates to OSLIS. Marlene Lee is the OSLIS Chair, and she and I worked with the OSLIS hosting vendor to implement a few enhancements. 

Responsive Design

Responsive design is basically a website’s ability to adjust its display based on the size of the device used to view the site. OSLIS is now responsive, and it behaves much better than before when viewing the site on a phone or tablet. As part of that work, we made the color themes more consistent on the elementary and secondary versions of the site. That’s most evident in the Learn to Research section and with the new buttons in Citation Maker. Also, when using the Learn to Research section in responsive mode, the Learn To and Resources boxes appear at the bottom of the page instead of to the right. To alert users who are in responsive mode to that change, there is a banner with a note that indicates to scroll.        


At our request, the vendor identified the top 5 areas where OSLIS could use help with accessibility, and we worked through those. Many of the changes will only be apparent to those who rely on screen readers. For example, Citation Maker labels were re-coded so that screen readers only read the field names instead of also reading code that indicates formatting. Another change relates to the orange color that is part of the elementary color theme. Because it does not contrast well with white or gray, we used a browner version of OSLIS orange for the Clear Form button in MLA elementary Citation Maker to make the white text easier to see. 

Citation Maker Updates

On Citation Maker, the options at the bottom of Citation Maker templates were links – options like Create Citation Below and Save as Google Doc. However, we learned that the industry standard is to use links to lead to information and to use buttons to indicate actions. Therefore, we changed most of the links to buttons and grouped related tasks. As part of making those updates, the coder was able to make citations automatically sort alphabetically as they are added to the dotted box. The coder also made it so the user can click or tap on a citation to delete it. Because of that, we removed the Sort All, Delete Last, and Delete All options. Also, when using a mobile device, the Source Type column on the right becomes a drop-down menu at the top of the screen. These changes are documented for MLA elementary, MLA secondary, and APA. You can get to the same documentation by clicking on What’s New? at the top of any Citation Maker template. (I see that the What’s New? note at the top of APA templates won’t open. I reported that to our vendor.) Here’s an example of the buttons on MLA secondary templates.         

APA Citation Maker

About a month ago, Marlene and I learned that APA will soon release the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. We will study the book and will update APA Citation Maker during the summer of 2020. That timeline is indicated at the top of APA templates. In the meantime, here is some information about the 7th edition of the APA book

If you have questions, please ask.  

Thanks a million to Marlene who went above and beyond to keep this project on track this summer. 

Thanks to everyone for using and promoting OSLIS. 


Jennifer Maurer
School Library Consultant
State Library of Oregon