Let’s begin with an overview of my presentation today.
A LibGuide is a type of easy-to-use content management system that allows users to post documents, embed video, create RSS feeds, use built-in forums, and more. Some of you may ask, but why use one?
Why use LibGuides? There are plenty of Content Management Systems, so why use LibGuides anyway? This cat in particular is curious…
LibGuides are wonderful research platforms—they can be used as information repositories, aggregators, launch-pads for further research, class pages, calendars, club pages, and more. They are also used by many universities so students with experience with LibGuides in highschool will be better prepared when they encounter them in college. Finally (and I am sure there are more reasons!) LibGuides are great tools for collaboration!
Because so many universities use LibGuides, students who begin using them in high school will already be familiar with them
Not only are they easy to set up, they require no knowledge of HTML—though if you know some HTML, you do have access to the code.
You’ll notice that with these examples there are many authors per guide—not just the librarians!
Acquired libguides from Springshare in 2010, as we did not have a central Student Information System in place. Before LibGuides teachers online course tools were scattered across the net—which meant that students had to keep track of many different addresses and interface rationales. This also meant that teachers were not easily able to see what other teachers were doing. We used LibGuides as a means to unify online resources. We worked at a “greass-roots” level and got several teachers to use it—often with each other!
This is a typical arrangement, a LibGuide dedicated to a particular subject, in this case fantastic literature, with two librarians and a Spanish teacher, Stephen. I’d like to show this example as a librarian built but teacher-approved example.
Here’s an example of a teacher who uses LibGuides as a entire hub for all of her courses—and co-curricular courses as well. This is a great example of a LibGuide that is now teacher-run. I and the Library Director may be admins, but the site truly belongs to Jen now.
Make it convenient and scalable: Teachers are busy. When you say, “hey we’ve got this great new software, come play with it,” some will while most will be too busy to take the risk of learning a new tool which may turn out to be unhelpful. But if you make it convenient for them (build it, add some content, and then give it away) as well as make it easily scalable in complexity should they love it, teachers will use it far more often. While I argue that giving the guide away sets it free, I do recommend reminding the guide of its roots. I do this by adding whenever I can a Library Resources page. What also really promotes faculty engagement is seeing others’ success. It’s a hard sell, when there is no evidence of a tool’s efficacy. And as we mentioned, teachers are busy, so it is really helpful to promote other teachers successes—whether this be a well-used guide, good design, or a interesting use, make sure that everyone knows about it! This can be through meetings, casual water-break talk, or something more formal on your library page or via email. Faculty engagement can also come by means of shared responsibility and creativity—when you have more than one teacher co-authoring a guide, a lot of really good things can happen, and because everyone in the group is looking at a public page there is good likelihood that everyone will feel the urge to make the guide stronger. With that, it is possible to “map” to other guides—that is to share multiple boxes across multiple guides.
You’ll notice here that there are SEVEN authors for this guide! As well, this is good example of guide where all individuals have added content, and have built a guide that is truly collaborative.
We knew that for this to be effective we would have to garner the engagement of a large percentage of teachers, so we planed accordingly—and chose a different sort of route. We decided we would “give” it to the faculty. We bought the site, set it up, and then found early adopters—those teachers who we knew to be technologically comfortable and who would really use the site to its fullest. After we helped them set up their pages, we made them librarians and gave them complete control over it. Our next step was to present this to the faculty, so we asked for some of the available professional development time, and made our presentation. We then invited to individuals to meet with us if they wanted to set them up with their own guide, and we promised them that they would be doing it on their own within a half-hour.Then we let them make their pages, and they made some incredible guides! Finally, and once several people were doing some good work, we started introducing the ideas of sharing—mapping boxes, collaborating on guides, and using multi-page guides for school-wide projects.
The above is the one page presentation we used in our 15 minute block [TREVOR CHECK THIS WITH DEREK]. As you can see the first portion is pure promotion, and then definition. We finished our presentation with several guides that were working in different ways so that we could attract many different types of users.
The web is a visual medium, and as such pages should be visually appealing—not only does this hook your readers, it is also easier to promote to other faculty and administration. Gale Databases try to use as many different types of media on a topic-page as possible your LibGuide should be no different—when appropriate include videos from youtube, pictures, power point presentations, and more. While I encourage you to give Guides to your faculty, I do recommend that you match and control the style of your guides to your library webpage or school site—this is important as it encourages users to think of your guides as simply another part of your school’s over-all site. Web-writing is it’s own genre. As Polonius mentioned, “Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, / And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,I will be brief.” Web writing, in this case, should follow what P advises rather that what he does. Most users will go to other sources for in-depth analyses or complex tables—your guide should be to the point, and should then link to more in-depth writing if so needed. Finally, I recommend using as many pathfinders as possible within your LibGuide home page. We chose to use Departments as Subjects, and then treated the tags as more of a natural language taxonomy—it’s actually almost a folksonomy but with less creators.
One of the best ways to get a project started is to build a guide for a class or project, and then give it away. Use your usage statistics to see what guides are doing great and which are falling behindWhen a guide hits a significant number of hits, or when it’s used particularly well, or even just when a site looks fantastic, find a forum to share it (emails, meeting, over coffee)Meet with people who are your guide-authors to see if you can add more or with new ideas, and meet with others who have not yet used them to ask why not and to see if the reasons they have not can be removed.
LibGuides statistics allow you to not only monitor the over-all views per different time frames, but to see which guides are doing well and which may need a little extra attention.
Overview What is a LibGuide Why use them? How and why we got started Nontraditional applications Engaging faculty Increasing school-wide buy-in Making your guides ―pop‖ Discussion and conclusion
Why use LibGuides? They’re great research platforms Used by many colleges and universities Are easy to set up and use Don’t require HTML knowledge LibGuides work incredibly well to engage teachers, librarians, and students
Sharing is great! A wall from the California Academy of Sciences – Photo by Britta Bohlinger
How my school got started:A little history We acquired LibGuides 3 years ago Centralized electronic resources Grassroots engagement ―Teacher-Centric‖ 19 teachers use it Used for assignments, calendars, course pages, and more Over 10,000 views on some pages
A few non-traditional applications… What we did different: We gave it to teachers Got it out of the library Presented it as educational software, not library software
Nuts and bolts for engagingfaculty Make it convenient and scalable Build the outline and they will come Include a library resources page Map to other boxes With a school-wide SIS, make the LibGuide visible Promote success Promote collaboration
Education & Participation Early adopters are important Use professional development time Present to faculty, teach to individuals Follow up Teaching one on one Teach by building and letting go Hand over the reins Encourage cross disciplinary projects
Our Presentation to Faculty Lib Guides Libguides.com Guides.ma.org Overview 127, 909 Guides (2 million pages) 1,761 Schools Many high schools and universities are already using LibGuides—Princeton has 271 guides! Site Architecture Modular – ―Box‖ driven. Boxes can contain many types of information. Creator – Multiple creators can work together on 1 guide Print, Share, & Add button Examples Glenbrook – BP Oil Spill – Unit Level Flickr images Claremont – Shakespeare – Broader Topic Level More tabs, more info Hopkins – Science and Technology – Course Level Expands tabs to multiple pages –large increase in complexity
Making your guides ―pop‖ Include images Include different media when possible Control style Write for web Create many pathfinders—librarian, subject, and tags.