On LibGuides, subject guides, course guides, instruction and more[In de hoop op ook wat buitenlandse reacties voor een keertje in het Engels]
The Internet Librarian 2011 conference got me thinking about the role and format of disciplinary pages (e.g. biology), subject pages (e.g. climate change) and course pages (e.g. “BA1132 philosophy and gaming”) as well as more generic but at the same time specific search pages (e.g. patent search) or infoliteracy pages (e.g honesty and citation) on library websites. Here in the Netherlands it is not that common to have very specific course guides made by libraries, as it is in the US and some other countries. But we do have people with the knowledge to build and manage them (librarians). We are struggling to get all that expert knowledge out of the heads of our subject and referencence librarians into the open, at the same time trying to limit the burden of maintenance of complex web pages.
There are a few choices we have to make:
1) Which of the types mentioned do make the most difference to our patrons’ daily work
2) To what extent is it possible to make hybrids of the page types mentioned
3) What should be the main content and design elements of these pages?
4) Is is possible to use these pages as full instructional modules, including assignments etc.?
5) What are the most important requirements for the CMS to be used?
The latter question is becoming a pressing one. We have come up with
– possibility to embed all kinds of content, widgets etc
– ease of use for editors
– a way to customise general pages for use by specific groups, with targeted examples and assignments After initial slection we now have WordPress, Drupal and LibGuides on our shortlist. On the axis of flexibility, customisability and extensibility it is probably first Drupal, then, WordPress, then LibGuides. With ease of use for editors and ease configuration it is the other way around. This is in line with the results of the Drupal vs. WordPress vs. Joomla smackdown by Blake Carver and Kendra Levine, presented at the conference.
LibGuides especially is worth a look. Although it is not free as Drupal and WordPress, it seems extremely easy to use and has the option to import content and/or templates of one of the 125,000 LibGuides available worldwide and adapt that for your own use to have a really quick start. In the Netherlands there are only LibGuides at the library of Groningen University. There and at universities abroad you can find examples of all of the aforementioned types of pages made with LibGuides:
Disciplinary pages: e.g. Physics and Astronomy at Washington University Libraries
Subject pages: e.g. Japan Earthquake and Tsunami by COM Library
Course pages: e.g. COMM233 Media, Culture & Society class by DePauw University Libraries
Specific Search pages: e.g. Company information at Boston College
Infoliteracy pages: e.g. Research strategy by Johnson & Wales University
Is this the way to go? Are there any drawbacks of using LibGuides? Any other thoughts?