Sunday, June 2, 2013

2. Design a LibGuide

In the forum of an online course in information literacy that I'm doing at the moment, one of the participants posed this question:
I have recently become aware of Libguides and can see their potential as a tool to promote services and to promote information literacy skills. Can anyone provide feedback of their experience of Libguides in promoting information literacy skills?
LibGuides are a product of Springshare and seem to be mainly used by academic libraries, and according to the Springshare website are used by 3600 libraries in 37 countries for the purposes of knowledge sharing and content management. We use them in our library as our main information gateway to the library and its services. You can put all kinds of content on there - text, links, images, videos, feeds, forms, widgets etc.

To use LibGuides to promote information literacy skills, you first have to promote LibGuides! To do that, you need to decide on exactly what you want to use them for, and how you want to present the information. You can look at lots of examples of LibGuides as they are freely available on the web - just Google a university and 'LibGuides'. There are some nice examples on bestof.libguides.com, and all of these guides can be used as a template for your own if you choose (with proper attribution).

Another page which is good to have a look at is the Springshare LibGuides help page which explains pretty much everything you will ever need to know about how to create content using the LibGuides platform.

Springshare offer loads of support for their LibGuides product, including regular webinars. I think the thing you have to be most careful with LibGuides is design. Because it's so customisable it takes careful planning and consideration to decide exactly what to put on there, and if there are more than a couple of people working on the guides it can get disorderly. Basically, it has to be easy for users to navigate, and constructed in a logical way, and the content has to be useful to your user. There is actually a whole set of LibGuides pages on how to create good LibGuides called Working Inside the Box, available on the Best of Libguides pages. The Powerpoint slideshow they have created is so worth watching. Happy creating!