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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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