Monday, October 03, 2011

The Revelation of Research Guides

Although I've been on faculty at the Carmichael Library for a few months now, this is my first post to the library blog. Many thanks to everyone in the Montevallo community who has welcomed me so warmly.

Today I wanted to share some of the new ways that our students and teaching faculty have been accessing information on the library webpages. Since July, I and the other librarians have been developing a series of subject-specific research guides. These guides are designed to index credible (scholarly and popular) information in a given discipline. So far, we have good research guides in Social Work, Literary Criticism, Education, Psychology, and several other fields.

The Social Work research guide is a good example of what these pages do. When you visit its homepage, you can see that resources are organized in a series of tabs at the top according to kind of resource. Students can rapidly make distinctions between popular and scholarly print sources, online publications, and electronic journals, and they can find materials specific to their discipline.

Faculty will also find these pages useful, especially the "Journals" tab, which often contains a constantly-updating list of recent journal publications. This is the "revelation" of research guides, and of the "Web 2.0" landscape in general: information comes to you automatically if you take time to cultivate a single online space or tool.

There's also a section of every guide dedicated to constructing Web 2.0 tools as sources of information. For instance, on the "Social Media" tab of the Social Work research guide, anyone who visits can find a list of organizations to "like" on Facebook, find a list of Twitter feeds to "follow," or view a clip of RSS feeds to add to a personal reader.

The Carmichael Library is using Twitter to organize information. Those people who follow the @umlibrary Twitter list on Social Work resources will be able to keep tabs on journals, prominent public intellectuals, professional organizations, and college/university initiatives, all with a few scrolls of the mouse.

There's also a space on our research guides that can be customized for a specific class. Carmichael Librarians can add information, create or build ideas related to a specific assignment, or assemble any other resources that may be helpful. If you are teaching a class at the University of Montevallo, consider taking us up on our offer to save a space for you on our research guides.

The project is still in progress. We have many more guides to build, but we are always open to suggestions as we move ahead.

No comments: