Case Study Baker Library at Harvard Business School

Baker Library, part of the Harvard Business School (HBS), provides information services, resources, and expertise for the whole HBS community. To help professors, scholars, and students most efficiently, the library's website relies on the latest in data modeling and digital innovation.

Encouraging Exploration and Research

Baker Library wanted a redesign that would push their online presence beyond a standard repository of data. To accomplish this goal, the iFactory team focused on creating a site that encouraged discovery and exploration.

iFactory used our Discovery, Information Architecture, and Design expertise to reimagine and rearchitect the entire Baker Library experience. As part of that process, we redesigned the site to be responsive, improved the search functionality, and added personalization features, none of which Baker Library had before. The site was built in eZ Platform, a Content Management System (CMS) that combines open-source innovation with the reliability of a commercial product.

The finished website was added to the Hall of Fame at Library Success.

Project Highlights

Discovery and Design Strategy

iFactory began the Baker Library project with a comprehensive Discovery phase, where we learned about the client's user requirements, business drivers, and success metrics through a combination of interviews, surveys, and other tasks.

Before starting the Design phase, iFactory developed a Design Strategy, which generated high-level principles for the site's visual design that mapped back to earlier strategy findings and played a role in later design deliverables.

Harvard Business School Baker Library Design Strategy

Improvements to Site Search

Unlike Baker Library's previous search features, the new search user functionality and design encourages exploration and helps users save what they find. To further refine search results, iFactory enabled the ability for librarians to tag individual results and created a featured content section, offering immediate access to relevant information. A new faceted system also allows users to sort through search results. When users find what they're looking for, they can bookmark any search result so it appears in a bookmark folder.

Harvard Business School Baker Library Search Results

Role-Based Personalization

Since Master's Students, Doctoral Students, Faculty, and Visiting Scholars have different research goals, iFactory developed a brand-new interface that allows librarians to create custom experiences for each user type. The primary navigation orients new users to landing pages curated specifically for their user group, and the content on that page can be bookmarked into a personalized folder system. Users can also bookmark special collections, research guides, forms, and other tools.

Harvard Business School Baker Library Personalization Services


Baker Library has a collection of over 150 databases, all of which are critical to students, faculty, and staff. The project required iFactory to make these databases easier to find and browse.

Using a taxonomy provided by the Baker Library team, iFactory designed the database landing page with Content Facets such as Topic, Industry, and Geographic Area. These facets appear and disappear depending on whether or not the facets contain search results, making it easier for users to access the results and bookmark any database they would like to explore later.

Harvard Business School Baker Library Databases Image

Built in eZ Platform

Baker Library selected eZ Platform as its CMS because of its ease of content development and robustness of the software. Built on an open-source Symfony framework, the eZ Platform features include:

  1. Multichannel and multidevice support
  2. Flexibility in cross-channel content repository
  3. Multilingual, multisite support

iFactory is an eZ Platform development partner.

eZ Platform Logo

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