Google Scholar, Google Library, Google Books, Del.icio.us
I used a combination of Web 2.0 tools to locate information sources not in our collection as well as to tap into existing information sources we do have as part of our virtual collection. I then integrated the RSS feeds for these resources into a pathfinder I created for one of our Honors English teachers.
Conversations I’ve had recently with UGA librarian Nadine Cohen and UGA Professor Mary Ann Fitzgerald have had me thinking about how I could harness the power of Google to point students to quality information sources with more ease. First, I used Google Scholar and Google Books to search for nonfiction texts that we did not have access to through our databases or print collection. I then created a “My Google Books Library” to create an online collection that the students could access through a RSS feed link.
If you have not used Google Books, you MUST check it out! Books are searchable and some can even be downloaded as PDF files; plain text options are also available for viewing. Students also get “similar books” suggestions available through Google Books, and they also have bibliographic data available at their fingertips for that particular book. Students can also subscribe to our RSS feed for this feature and keep up with the latest additions to our Google Books! These tools are powerful because they provide access to materials you might not be able to obtain in print and increase accessibility to these resources to EVERYONE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The other tool we have been using as part of our research pathfinders this year is del.icio.us. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking web 2.0 tool that allows you to bookmark and catalog your favorite web resources with “tags”—think of tags as keywords or subject headings. You can access these resources from any computer—not just your home computer. For this assignment, I tagged some articles from our GALE Virtual Reference Library (GALE is the only vendor right now that we can “infomark” directly to articles, but we are hoping more vendors will get on board with this feature).
I then used Google Scholar to search for scholarly articles related to our research topics. While we can’t use Google Scholar to interface with our databases in the ways that college libraries can at this point in time, we do have access to JSTOR, a college level database of scholarly research articles covering all disciplines. Because JSTOR is a vendor partnered with Google Scholar, we can use Google Scholar to search for articles and then “tag” those articles with our del.ici.ous account. While some would argue doing this takes away the element of students searching for articles on their own, I would counterargue that this method is more of an “entry” into the database that will hopefully entice students to further explore that information source once they have acquired a “comfort zone” by looking at what we have put on the “menu.”
The teacher was extremely excited about these new tools and felt it was a major improvement on the research pathfinder from last year (we collaborated in 2006 on this same assignment). The students will be in here tomorrow and Friday, and I think once they have time to get “immersed” in these tools, they too will feel excited and energized about the research project.
It makes me feel good to know that I can provide our students access to new materials we don’t physically own! I also am excited that I can use web 2.0 tools to help my students “mine” or find an entry into quality information sources we own but that may be intimidating to students. I hope that this hybrid of web 2.0 tools will make our database resources and books seem “cooler” and more relevant to our students.
That is today’s Library 2.0 roundup!