Webinar: Creating Subject Guides for the 21st Century Library

http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3475

Creating Subject Guides for the 21st-Century Library (ALA TechSource Workshop) – Books / Professional Development – eLearning – New Products – ALA Store via kwout

I am delighted to be presenting a 90 minute workshop, “Creating Subject Guides for the 21st Century Library”, this Tuesday, September 20, at 4PM EST for ALA TechSource.   If you are interested in registering for the webinar, please visit the ALA Store page for more information.  Here is an overview of the webinar:

The subject guide has been a valuable tool for school and academic librarians for decades, first as a print resource and more recently as web pages and web-based documents. In this ALA TechSource Workshop, Buffy Hamilton of The Unquiet Library will show how to revitalize the subject guide as a dynamic, customizable, social resource by integrating it into the web.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the concept of social scholarship and the implications for networked learning
  • How to use free resources such as widgets, RSS feeds, mashups, cloud computing, videos, and social bookmarking to create streams of quality information
  • How to use non-traditional social media sources of information such as blogs, Twitter streams, podcasts, and YouTube in your subject guides
  • Free and subscription-based tools you can use to host these information portals/research guides

Top Ten Reasons I Love LibGuides

Over the last few months, I have received quite a few inquiries as to why I love LibGuides so much, so I thought it might be helpful to share a brief post highlighting my ten favorite features.

In no particular order, here is why I invest in LibGuides for The Unquiet Library:

1.  The ease and flexibility of creating guides: LibGuides makes it super easy to add RSS feeds, embed videos, embed an endless range of HTML or script codes (great for widgets and embedding and content), lists of links, feature books from the catalog (which could be print books, Google Books I like, or eBooks from our virtual collection), document widgets, a timeline widget, assorted Google Searches, and various polls.  While I have utilized the user link submission feature on a limited basis, I plan to incorporate it more after being inspired by friend and fellow librarian Elisabeth Abarbanel’s recent blog post, “LibGuides:  Collaborative Aspects”. Because it is so easy to add content and widgets for traditional and emerging sources of authoritative information ( social scholarship) , LibGuides is an essential tool for supporting my information literacy instruction and supporting technology integration into my library program; I can also seamlessly push my students to other library streams of information, including our blog, our databases, and other essential library resources.

In addition, if I need to create multiple guides on a similar topic for different teachers with slight variations, I can easily copy the original guide and then add/take away guide elements or I can create a new guide and add existing elements from other subject guides I’ve created using the “copy from another guide” feature.  As if that isn’t enough, I can also use and modify templates for guides (67,000 plus and growing!) created by other library professionals in the LibGuides community.  These features of LibGuides make it easy for me to generate research pathfinders efficiently, quickly, and dynamically.

2.  Social Media Integration:  my students can capture RSS feeds for guides or use the built-in “Add This” sharing feature that allows my students to easily bookmark or post a guide to a diverse range of cloud computing/social media tools.    Students and teachers can also sign up for email notification when a new guide is posted, and this email registration can be customized by tags or keywords.

3.  Subject Guide Organization and Tagging: I can create and organize my subject guide categories however I choose, and I can also tag my guides with essential keywords.    These are features that allow me to “catalog” my guides!

4.  Usage and Statistical Reports: you can choose to create a general summary report, homepage hits, or overall guide hits; you can even view a guide hit report for a specific subject guide.  I will soon be incorporating this data into my monthly and annual reports.  The reports can be generated in standard (best for viewing your browser), plain (best for copying and pasting into another application, or Excel (spreadsheet) format, too!

5.  Widgets: I love that I can create and customize my widgets to focus on one particular subject guide OR I can create a more generic widget to direct my students to our general LibGuides home page while featuring new or popular guides.  The code is incredibly easy to generate and can be placed on virtually any web platform.

6.  Superb Stability: in the fourteen months I have been a subscriber, I have experienced only one minor service outage.  I can count on the platform to be up and running without worrying about frequent outages.

7.  Customer Service and Tech Support: I have only had to call upon tech support once in the 14 months I have been a user, but when I did, they were most helpful.  The individuals in customer service are also wonderfully responsive and gracious as well!    You can also join (at no charge) The Springshare Lounge, a free network for discussions about Springshare products, including LibGuides.  The support blog , Springshare Twitter feed, and LibGuides FAQ Twitter feed also help me keep up with the latest new features and product news.  As if that is not enough, you can also participate in product webinars!

8.  Multiple Editors: if you work in a library setting in which you have a team (library professionals, students, or teachers) who may need some access to creating and editing guides, you can add multiple users and establish their editing/access rights to invite participation while protecting the integrity of your overall platform.

9.   Multiple Uses for the Platform: While I primarily use LibGuides for generating subject guides/research pathfinders, I am now using LibGuides to create organic, dynamic, and multimedia monthly reports that help me better tell the story of my library program in a transparent and effective manner.  I also love how this high school is using LibGuides as a medium for paperless monthly library newsletters!

10.  More Than Reasonable Pricing and a Product Worth Its Weight in Gold:  if you are someone like me who generates a large number of subject guides and integrates your virtual resources heavily into library instruction, then LibGuides is truly your best friend.  The price point, in my opinion, is more than reasonable for a K12 institution, and I get more than my money’s worth in terms of the value the product has in terms of helping me be an effective librarian and the way it impacts the library experience for my students (and teachers, too!).   While there may be other similar products out there for less or free, I have yet to see anything with the “horsepower” and reliability of LibGuides.   After only six months of use, I renewed my subscription for two more years—given my generally conservative bent  in purchasing any online product too far in advance, this should indicate to you how much I love and how heavily I reply on this service/product!

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, my investment in LibGuides is an investment in my library program.    I feel that the integration of LibGuides into my library program since February 2009 has played a major role in improving the quality of my library instruction and service.  I am empowered to integrate a diverse range of information sources and instructional support materials in an organized manner that works for my students and makes it easy for them to navigate the broad range of resources I can provide for a collaboratively designed research project.

If you are a LibGuides user, what are some of your favorite features?

Share

More Research Pathfinder 2.0 and Social Media: Travel Across the USA

My latest research pathfinder, Travel Across America USA, came together rather quickly, but it is one of my favorites to date.  Although I did not get to collaborate as much as I had hoped with the teacher on the project as of this evening, I feel confident we will conference next week and make any adjustments that may be needed since we have worked together, and he is really enthusiastic about using Google Docs and now moving on to Google Sites.

In this project, the students essentially must research and collect information about travel destinations between Juneau, Alaska and Key West , Florida.   You can see the requirements on the pathfinder page, but students are responsible for collecting multiple forms of data and representing it in an interesting and meaningful way.   I think the use of Google Docs (the presentation and spreadsheet tools) , Google Sites, and Google Maps can be instrumental in this project!  I am hopeful that I can confirm we will be using all three sets of tools to embed content and showcase the student projects.

This research pathfinder incorporates some of my favorite forms of social media:

  • A widget featuring a travel guide via Google Books
  • RSS feeds from Frommer’s and Lonely Planet Twitter accounts
  • RSS feeds for blogs from these two travel powerhouses
  • RSS feeds for travel podcasts and vodcasts
  • Widgets featuring Flickr photo group pools sponsored from Frommer’s and Lonely Planet
  • The use of “kwout” to highlight key websites that can be helpful for the assignment
  • A Google Map I created to show some of the travel destinations I would choose if I were doing the assignment to model how students might use Google Maps; in addition, I have provided links to tutorials although students will have to use some of the instructional videos at home since they are embedded from YouTube
  • An iTunes iMix of “travel music” created by National Geographic music (fun!)

I find it incredibly exciting to create a pathfinder that integrates so much social media to help students see how helpful and fun these resources can be.    What else would you add to this pathfinder?  Your suggestions are welcome!

Netvibes Recognizes Its Use As a Virtual Library/Research Pathfinder!

We already knew this, but I loved seeing this on the Netvibes blog today!

http://blog.netvibes.com/?2009/06/19/282-using-public-pages-as-virtual-libraries

Using public pages as virtual libraries! – Netvibes.com Blog via kwout

Don’t forget to check out The Unquiet Library on Netvibes; I have also updated my first pathfinder, Iran Election 2009, to include some additional Twitter feeds, new videos, blog entries, Citizentube, and a Yahoo Pipes mashup.