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LibGuides – Enterprise 2.0 for the Library

Currently I am completing a Request for Proposal document outlining a web 2.0 implementation plan for the QUT Library. After investigating the Library’s current situation and identifying the tools they are currently offering their clients, I have come across one in particular which I am going to discuss in this post. This tool is known as LibGuides.

LibGuides is a software package developed by Springshare, a company who has made it their goal “to develop practical web 2.0 applications built specifically for libraries and educational institutions,” (Springshare, 2009). LibGuides is a “web 2.0 content management and library knowledge sharing system” that can be used to create attractive, multimedia rich web pages to share resources, content and knowledge collaboratively amongst users. LibGuides puts the power of content creation in Librarian’s hands. It provides a flexible and easy to use interface from which Librarians can create customised pages specific to the content they wish to display.

Below is a fairly long and unintersting video about the uses and benefits of LibGuides… but if you don’t feel like watching it all (Iwon’t blame you) I’ll give you the low down of how LibGuides works, what it offers and the benefits it provides.

How does it work?
The benefit of LibGuides comes from the ability for Librarians to customise the look and feel of the website and add content modules to the page similar to MySpace’s Profile 2.0 system. Dragging and dropping modules onto the page is simple and these modules range from plaintext modules to fully-fledged RSS modules, multimedia modules, Delicious tag cloud modules and so on. These modules or widgets depending on what you prefer, can be further customised to enable commenting, polls and so on to enable participation from its users.

What does it offer?
LibGuides offers Librarians with an unlimited potential to create meaningful, attractive and useful content for their clients. With the ability to drop LibGuide modules onto the page, multimedia, tag clouds, polls, commenting systems, social media integration and sharing are all at the finger tips of the Librarian without the need for profound technical knowledge.

What are the benefits of LibGuides?

  • Integrating and embracing Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, syndication in the form of RSS feeds, social media sites such as Facebook, wikis and blogs has never been easier and with thousands of pre-made templates designing is even simpler.
  • Creating communities, sharing resources, monitoring usage and catalysing learning is much easier.
  • Receiving user opinions and running polls or questionnaires is as simple as dropping a module onto the page and customising a few fields. But for advanced users, customisation is powerful and can be used to adjust the appearance, look, behaviour and content of a module.

All in all I believe LibGuides is a huge step in the right direction for Libraries wanting to embrace web 2.0 concepts. It offers more flexibility and control in areas such as subject guides, learning portals and so forth allowing content to be customised and encouraging, enhancing and increasing collaboration and sharing in ways that Web 2.0 can only offer. You can try out LibGuides in use at the QUT Library’s subject guides: http://libguides.library.qut.edu.au/
Or if you are looking for more information on LibGuides you can visit their website at: http://www.springshare.com/libguides/index.html

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6 thoughts on “LibGuides – Enterprise 2.0 for the Library

  1. jamie turner on said:

    Hi Ben,
    I have had a look at the new subject guides in the QUT library and they are definately a lot better than the old flat model. I think the commenting and interaction modules bring massive value to the library community. Thanks for a great analysis!

    ~Jamie

  2. nadishasigera on said:

    Hi Ben

    Great post with useful points about LibGuides. I think this is one of the best tools that QUT library is using at the moment. But they still need more improvements in that area.
    Have you found any other libraries using this tool??

    Thanks
    Nadisha

    • benmccallum on said:

      Thanks guys, I believe QUT Library have many ways to go in implementing LibGuides into their web 2.0 strategy. I’m currently doing the assignment for Enterprise 2.0 and found several uses for LibGuides and will most likely blog about it at a later date.

      In response to your question Nadisha, try searching Wikipedia or Google for libguides and you’ll find a massive amount of libraries are using this software. You can tell by the fact that the software is installed under its own sub-domain on the Library’s website. Example: http://library.qut.edu.au becomes http://libguides.library.qut.edu.au.

      Hope this helps, also check out the LibGuides homepage which claims it is used by over 900 library and “over 15,000 librarians and teachers have created 55,000+ guides which get 27+ Million page views per month. ” (Springshare, 2009)

      Thanks for your comments,
      Ben

      • Hi Ben / Nadisha,

        I wanted to mention that you can get a complete list of all the LibGuides sites by visiting http://libguides.com. That is our “community” page which allows you to browse our member libraries, and you can also search for specific guides/topics across all LibGuides sites.

        Also – I have some updated usage numbers for you. We currently have 930+ libraries, 15,500+ librarian accounts, 58,000+ guides, and we had 31 million pages views by 1 million unique users last month.

        If I can provide any other infomation about the LibGuides community, functionality, etc. please let me know!

        -Marc

  3. benmccallum on said:

    Thanks Marc,

    And thanks to Springshare for mentioning me on the reviews page of the LibGuides site: http://springshare.com/libguides/reviews.html
    and also in their Twitter page at:
    http://twitter.com/springshare

    Those are some amazing statistics, and well deserved.

    For anyone interested in trying out LibGuides from both a client and administrator’s perspective you can trial LibGuides by going to: http://springshare.com/libguides/demo.html

    Thanks
    -Ben McCallum

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