Posted in Teaching, Librarians, Higher Education, Technology, LibGuides, Academic Libraries, tagged academic library, assignment, college, college students, higher education, information literacy, libguides, librarians, library, library instruction, teaching, technology, university on April 22, 2013 |
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I’m a LibGuides aficionado. Students love them. Professors love them. It’s a great way to package only the most relevant library and research-related content and tie it directly to an assignment or course. Professors can then link to it from their course management system (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, D2L) in an environment where students spend most of their online “academic” time anyway.
This semester I taught a course for my institution’s Information and Computing Sciences department: Information Science 410: Advanced Information Problems. This course takes a problem/solution oriented approach to a complicated issue – in our case, gun control – and examines the maze of information related to it.
As a librarian, I thought the best thing to do was to put together a LibGuide to direct students to good information. But then I thought, “Hey, these are information science students…let’s put them to work!” Because the course spends time on evaluating information, a course LibGuide project was a perfect opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills.
Using our gun control issue, students worked in teams to evaluate the best library databases for the topic, and gathered relevant books, websites, government information, and video. I taught them how to use the LibGuides system and gave an overview of “model” LibGuides. Each group was provided with a LibGuide shell. Students had “collaborator” access to the LibGuide allowing them to add content and edit the design.
After each group submitted their LibGuide, I had a panel of library staff evaluate them. We selected the “winning” LibGuide to be published on our site. The end result?: a non-biased and informational guide on a popular and controversial issue that can be used by all students on our campus to gather academic information.
The project gives students practice at evaluating and curating information. The LibGuide, combined with a written assignment where students explain their information selection brings the time honored annotated bibliography into the 21st century. It’s something that academic librarians should market to professors as an assignment that demonstrates critical thinking and evaluative skills.
LibGuide link: http://libguides.uwgb.edu/guns
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Posted in Academic Libraries, LibGuides, Librarians, Teaching, Technology, tagged academic library, college, college students, higher education, information literacy, libguides, librarians, library, library instruction, teaching, technology, university, website on August 27, 2012 |
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Like a lot of libraries, we use the popular LibGuides program from Springshare. First purchased in 2009, our stats have increased greatly each year: from 3,506 hits in 2009-2010, to over 44,000 hits in 2011-2012. LibGuides are popular with both students and faculty–even getting to the point of students asking us, “Why isn’t there a guide for my other class?” — “Tell your professor to talk to us!” we say…
One issue the library staff has dealt with is terminology. Among the librarians, we use the term “LibGuides”–but we avoid using the term when branding the resource to students and faculty. On our website, we simply label them as “Guides.” However, after completing a user survey of our library services, resources, and website, several respondents reported being unsure of terminology–and what exactly a “Guide” entailed–was it for a specific class, or a broad subject area?
Curious to see how other library websites have termed their LibGuides, I posted a survey to ILI-L (the instruction/information literacy discussion list) to find out. I had 130 respondents. Here are the results:
The term “Research Guides” was, by far, the number one choice. It also matched the preferred term of students in a survey done by Mark Aaron Polger, “Student Preferences in Library Website Vocabulary” published in Library Practice and Philosophy, 2011:
Excerpt: A survey of 300 college students asked, “What term on the library website do your prefer if you need help with research?”
- 36% chose “Research Guides”
- 20% chose “Resources by Subject”
- 18% chose “Research Help”
- 16% chose “Library Guides”
- 10% chose “Subject Guides”
After getting feedback from our own students, we decided to change the link name to “Research Guides” – after all, the resource is there for the students. We want them to know what it is–and to use it.
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Posted in Academic Libraries, LibGuides, Librarians, Marketing, Teaching, Technology, tagged academic library, current events, information literacy, libguides, librarians, library, library instruction, marketing, teaching on November 2, 2011 |
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It’s been too long since my last blog post. Too many projects!
Well, I thought I’d blog about one of those projects: I’ve worked on creating research guides at my library that focus on current events. So far, I’ve done guides on the Occupy Movement, the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, and the killing of Osama bin Laden. It’s a good way to:
- direct patrons to trustworthy information (e.g., the Wikipedia page for Occupy Wall Street is tagged for a “neutrality” check)
- promote the library’s digital resources
- spotlight books in the collection, and
- demonstrate that the library is at the forefront of the ever-changing information environment
We use the popular LibGuides program at my institution. It’s easy to create individual guides and you have some flexibility for organizing your content. Of course, you could always create a simple webpage, too.
In my current events guides, I generally try to provide the following information:
- Brief intro to the topic
- Latest headlines (RSS feed via Google News or Yahoo News)
- News & Media sources
- Embedded Video (e.g., PBS Video–particularly Frontline and News Hour clips, C-SPAN Video Library, and CBS News allows embedding of its individual news clips)
- Background Info (e.g., CQ Researcher database articles)
- Catalog search & a few selected book titles on the topic
- List of relevant databases to search for articles on the topic
- Suggested keywords/search terms
- Primary sources
Once you have the guide published, make sure and provide a direct link from your library homepage, and promote it on the library’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. If particularly pertinent, send out an email or contact individual faculty members/teachers.
There are lots of great examples of libraries that have put together current events guides. Here are a few select ones:
Know of a good current events guide? Share it here!
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