LibGuides Aren't Perfect

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This is part 3 of my longer LibTech 2011 conference presentation, "LibGuides on Steroids: Expanding the User Base of LibGuides to Support Library Instruction and Justify Workload."

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LibGuides Aren't Perfect

  1. 1. LibGuides aren’t perfect<br />Continuing Problems Associated With Subject Guides/ Pathfinders<br />
  2. 2. LibGuides aren’t perfect<br />Continuing problems associated with <br />subject guides:<br />Who are the intended users of subject guides?<br />How do we get them to use subject guides?<br />How do we know that users learn from subject guides?<br />How do we justify the workload of subject <br />guides, if we can’t answer these questions?<br />
  3. 3. Who are subject guides actually created for? Students? Researchers?<br />subject guides relieve reference librarians of repetitive questions (Cipolla, 1980) and thus raise staff morale (Jackson, 1984)<br />production of guides is considered part of the traditional role of subject librarians (Pinfield, 2001)<br />“important library publications” (Dunsmore, 2002)<br />
  4. 4. Who are subject guides actually created for? Students? Researchers?<br />used for staff training (Jackson & Pellack, 2004)<br />“proof of expertise in a subject area, …quantitative measure of performance during…reviews” (Reeb & Gibbons, 2004)<br />While we create subject guides for <br />students, we also create them for <br />ourselves.<br />
  5. 5. Marketing subject guides<br />The literature is unanimous: <br />Market them via instruction!<br />(Adebonojo, 2010; Brazzeal, 2006; Foster et al., 2010; Greene, 2008; Jackson, 2004; McMullin, 2010; Miner & Alexander, 2010; Reeb & Gibbons, 2004; Staley, 2007)<br />
  6. 6. Do we know that subject guides increase learning?<br />Guide availability doesn’t guarantee their use <br />(Hemming, 2005; Morris, 2010; Staley, 2007; <br />Vileno, 2007)<br />Librarians invest a great deal of time on <br />subject guides, but student use is low (Reeb & <br />Gibbons, 2004)<br />If guides are associated with course faculty <br />rather than the library, will student use and <br />learning increase?<br />
  7. 7. A word about workload<br />The average subject guide/pathfinder takes an <br /> experienced librarian between 8 and 20 hours to <br /> produce (Kapoun, 1995; Wilbert, 1981).<br />The more electronic resources<br /> a subject guide contains<br /> contains, the more unstable<br /> its contents (average life span<br /> of a URL = 44 days [Kahle, 1997]).<br />
  8. 8. A word about workload<br />No research has been done on the time required to maintain a subject guide.<br />The literature is <br /> unanimous in <br /> pointing out the <br />effect of creating/<br /> maintaining guides <br /> on workload.<br />
  9. 9. Another workload issue<br />New issue associated with LibGuides<br />Ease of creation <br /> encourages creation <br /> of LibGuides, but <br /> adds to workload<br /> because of necessary<br />maintenance. <br />

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