Paths & Hierarchies

37Signals’ blog recently featured a discussion of path vs hierarchical navigation. As many of the commentators noted, hierarchies and paths both have their uses and a mixture of both based on need and site are often useful. For many websites, creating paths is a relatively straightforward process. For UF’s Digital Collections,
we create paths by allowing users to sort their results and to link to similar from the results, but most notably by organizing all of the collections into thematic collections (historical children’s literature, newspapers, Florida photographs) and by providing starting points into more manageable sub-collections through these groupings. We also create direct links from other relevant content pages (Wikipedia, Amazon, OCLC, publisher pages, instruction and research websites). These navigational landing pages help create entry points into each of the collections and, through them, to all of the collections.