It’s a new semester here in Springfield and I’ve been reflecting again. (This post is kinda connected to the next, so please read on. It will be up soon.)
I am a huge fan of free apps for creativity and productivity and dynamic information gathering.
No surprise that in this blog I frequently celebrate the open source movement and the ever growing array of free web-based, collaborative apps.
Interestingly, although I have no trouble spending money on databases and print materials to supply content to my users, I have a little trouble spending on products and tools that might make my own practice more efficient and effective.
I now recognize that I need to rethink that policy.
I’ve been burned a few times this year, most notably by the flickering unreliability of PageFlakes as a pathfinder platform. You see, I spend a lot of time building pathfinders and other guides for my learners and teachers. I need to be able to rely on my platform. And I want that platform to grow with me and changes in the information landscape.
I’ve been playing with LibGuides for a few weeks now and I have fallen deeply in love.
Buffy, you were right, my friend! I am so impressed with the scalability, flexibility, stability, and features. It’s early in my migration process, and at this point I have barely scratched the surface.
But right now I can say that I love that:
- I can embed like crazy, combining my own content–my documents, handouts, advice, with dynamic widgets and feeds and video and search boxes.
- I can borrow from the brilliance of a community of other librarian creators.
- I can flexibly move my boxes around a page and copy them on multiple pages.
- I can customize my pages with color, font, and my own banner branding
- I can invite multiple editors (like teachers, my practicum students, our volunteers)
- There is support. Unlike the confusion you feel when your favorite free tool just up and disappears or surprisingly goes down or adds unexpected premium prices. There are a multitude of models and options and templates for sharing in the LibGuides Community Site. There’s a Springshare Lounge for user discussions, a support blog. thorough FAQs, phone and email support, and webinars!
- I am exploring new features like mobile apps, a browser button for easy additions, Twitter and Facebook news and updates, and a link checker.
- For a reasonable price I can rely on the survival of my professional content.
- Wisconsin Hills Middle School
- Onate High School Library
- Fenn School Library.
- Brookfield Elementary School Library.
- Horizon Community Middle School Library
- Unquiet Library @ Creekview High School
- LibGuides training session @ Mesa Public Schools
- Virtual Barker @ Bishop Stang High School
- Junior English Research Project @ Glenbrook North HS
- Math Guides @ Mesa Public Schools
- Biology Guide @ Philips Academy
- Deerfield Academy Guides
At this point I am gradually migrating content–my pathfinders and database lists. My content will likely continue to be a bit of a mash-up of a variety of tools, Here are the beginnings of my new database pages and my new resource guide on the research process. (More on that guide next post.)