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Continuing the Conversation: Creating Subject Guides for a 21st Century Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on September 21, 2011 - 9:08am

We just wrapped up the ALA TechSource Workshop Creating Subject Guides for the 21st-Century Library with Buffy Hamilton. We had some fantastic discussion during this event, and because the session was so jam-packed with content, Buffy wasn’t able to answer all of the great questions participants had. Below are some questions for continued discussion. Buffy will be responding in the comments--whether you attended or not, feel free to join the conversation!

Questions

  • Can you give a specific example of curation?  Would Yahoo Pipes be a curation tool?
  • I'm not familiar with social citation; can you explain how it works or name some services?
  • How much does a subscription to LibGuides cost?
  • What exactly do you mean that curation is the new buzzword?  Can you define it or is it really self explanatory?  Creating digital collections?
  • Your Lib Guide must be mobile-device aware, as well, yes? More and  more the subject guide will be accessed via a mobile device.
  • Can you speak to the usability considerations? I know libguides tends to fail usability tests...

The Preliminary Readings from Today’s Event

 

Resources from Today’s Event

Click Below to Download a PDF of Buffy’s Slides


Comments (1)

Social citation; can you

Social citation; can you explain how it works or name some services?

Here is a great overview from the University of Florida Center for Instructional Technology and Training:
“Social Citations refers to websites that allows the users to store, sort, classify, share, and search through a collection of citations stored on the Internet. Social Citations function much like Social Bookmarking. However, this software is aimed towards academics and allows the user to post a citation for an article found on the Internet. These citations can be organized into predefined categories or a new category defined by the user. This allows academics researching or interested in similar areas to connect and share resources.”
http://www.citt.ufl.edu/toolbox/toolbox_socialCitations.php

Examples of Social Citations:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/clt/2011/03/02/review-of-social-citation-tools/

How much does a subscription to LibGuides cost?

Contact Springshare for pricing and a free trial at http://www.springshare.com/libguides/ .

What exactly do you mean that curation is the new buzzword? Can you define it or is it really self explanatory? Creating digital collections?

Learn more about curation :

http://blog.scoop.it/en/2011/09/13/lord-of-curation-series-howard-rheing...
http://www.scoop.it/t/real-time-news-curation

http://www.scoop.it/t/content-and-curation-for-nonprofits

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMPSL-1qMG8

http://www.scoop.it/t/curation-for-learning

http://www.delicious.com/theunquietlibrary/curation

http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/screencast-challenge...

http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/comparing-database-p...

Your Lib Guide must be mobile-device aware, as well, yes? More and more the subject guide will be accessed via a mobile device.

LibGuides automatically generates a mobile friendly version; also see http://guidefaq.com/a.php?qid=3489.

Can you speak to the usability considerations? I know libguides tends to fail usability tests...

Great question! We have not conducted any formal usability tests that many of the academic libraries employ, but we feel the verbal feedback and the usage statistics support our use of LibGuides as our platform of choice. In reading assorted usability tests on the web, most reports seem to indicate it isn’t LibGuides itself that is problematic but rather the design and layout of the content. I found this particular report insightful and helpful in thinking about how to maximize the design, layout, and structure of LibGuides: http://libraryassessment.org/bm~doc/Tawatao_Christine.pdf . Right now, with only two librarians and now no clerical help of any kind, formal usability testing on a large scale is probably not in the cards for us since most of our time is spent on instruction and collaboration with teachers and students.

Bonus question:

I work with scientists in a research library and plan on buying Libguides this year. Any tips on doing a subject guide for professionals?

I think you’ll find some great tips from Springshare on their portal for special libraries; here are a few examples:

http://www.springshare.com/libguides/special/

http://kplibraries.libguides.com/home

http://st-johns.libguides.com/home

Bonus question: What resources do you recommend for learning more about social scholarship?

http://umcp.academia.edu/ChristineGreenhow/Papers/332589/Social_Scholars...

http://liblogs.albany.edu/library20/2007/10/information_literacy_in_the_...

http://liblogs.albany.edu/library20/2007/04/social_scholarship_on_the_ri...

http://www.slideshare.net/lcohen/the-promise-of-authority-in-social-scho...

http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2007/06/authority-of-a-new-kind/

http://digitalscholarship.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/strategies-for-promot...

http://chronicle.com/article/The-New-Metrics-of-Scholarly/5449

Lisa Spiro finished her disseration a few years ago, so this page is a little dated, but here is how one Ph.D. candidate used Pageflakes as her “information dashboard” to share her research experiences and tools (note the use of Zotero): http://www.pageflakes.com/lspiro/ .

Bonus question:
Wondering how high maintenance 2.0 subject guides are after they are created. More or less than traditional?

I find they are much easier to maintain because RSS and embed codes are organic---once you embed the content, it automatically updates itself. Once you have the infrastructure set up, the embedded or streamed content pretty much takes care of itself.

Bonus question:

How do you wean them from browsing RSS back into learning direct search skills? (Since precise database searching is an increasingly key workforce skill, with Microsoft Access, customer databases, SQL, etc.) Many of my Millenial friends got database-searching jobs out of college.

I don’t think it is a matter of weaning as I see RSS as an entry point into an information source and not a direct replacement for search. RSS simply provides a stream of the latest content to bring the latest information to one’s fingertips, but ultimately, you do get into the “stream” to search.

Since I don’t use Access or SQL, I’m probably not qualified to speak as to how information database searching skills translate to these kinds of databases; however, based on my minimal knowledge of those business world databases, I’d be curious to see what specific search skills for something like Academic Search Complete relates to searching these kinds of databases.

Bonus question:

How do we serve up useful info directly via RSS feeds and such and also teach people how to find sources so they can create their own learning dashboards?

Choosing RSS feeds from a variety of sources for a specific subject guide is a great way of giving learners an entry point into those information sources. Because you are introducing them to these sources via RSS as well as additional instruction you might provide virtually or f2f, you are giving them a “base” so to speak of information sources that will grow their familiarity and comfort level with those sources. With practice and guided assistance, learners eventually develop a knowledge base of information sources and learn which ones are appropriate or their “go to” sources for different information seeking tasks.

As far as the dashboard platforms themselves, I do provide initial direct instruction along with “how to” handouts and screencasts/tutorial videos to get our students started. Along with our subject guides and exemplars created by previous students, our students have models to emulate for their own PLE.