LibGuide/Research Guide Diversity — Yes!

Our libraries offer a variety of materials on the same topic, such as books and articles by different authors. This makes for our collections’ depth and breadth. For my guides at least, duplication does not seem to be a real issue, and clearing up naming conventions is a small price to pay to make a richer selection of guides available. It ought to go without saying that what applies to our print and other electronic collection should also apply to our LibGuides. By having guides in the same subject area with a variety of approaches, levels, viewpoints, and emphases, we help students learn and succeed.

A quick look at reveals an ecology of multiple books on a given subject. This is true even when books are published around the same time. For example, I purchased several books on Windows 10 because different authors and publishers offer different approaches. Even among books on the same subject, each work fills its own niche.

Likewise there is an ecology among our LibGuides. Many of my own guides (One in every three Perimeter College guides is mine) are interdisciplinary, covering such subjects as charity investigation or writing a persuasive paper. Others offer step-by-step help with popular databases or webpages showing the resources featured in and pictures of Clarkston library displays. And other Guides help students make the most of popular but credible news sources and Web 2.0. Even when my guides and Atlanta guides or other Perimeter College guides appear to cover the same subject, we cover it with different emphases and with different illustrations or videos.

Guide diversity is important because our students are diverse. They learn at a variety of levels. Some need to know which gates to open in GALILEO to reach the database that will screen-in the right material without drowning them in false drops. Some can skip all of that. Some students are on crowded wi-fi or have bandwidth issues, particularly on mobile. Some prefer to not sit through a whole video, or to learn by doing, moving back and forth from a static page to GALILEO itself with tabbed browsing. Having a variety of approaches means everyone can learn more effectively.

As for confusion, building silos and other issues, it is possible to adjust guide naming conventions to encompass multiple guides in the same subject area, display guides, handout guides etc… Cooperation and linking can also make all our guides stronger than elimination. Look at Science Research in Depth’s Other Libraries Page page to see linkage at its best.

In short, just as with our print and electronic collections, keeping a variety of approaches among our LibGuides is best for our students. We can smooth out naming conventions and encourage linking. And we should not even ask whether we should keep multiple guides in the same subject areas. Instead let’s work to make it happen in a way that is best and easiest for our students.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *