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On maximizing database use: Part 1, the one-page approach

A few questions continue to keep me up at night.

Among them:  How can I get my students and teachers to discover and use our e-resources to the max?  What does face-out shelving look like in an e-collection?

We are fortunate, I know it, to have a wonderful collection of subscription databases and e-books. We also have a whole bunch of entry points to our collection.  Among them are two large silos–our growing network of LibGuides and our new Destiny catalog.

They link to each other.  The MARC records for our ebooks are now in the OPAC, but I still see missed opportunities for discovery and use.

Note: At this point, I’ve nearly given up on a workable, affordable federated search solution.

So, earlier in the school year, I had conversations with my student volunteers and we came up with a few strategies.  We’ll look at them in the next few posts.

First–the convenience of the one-page approach.

One thing about these library kids, my volunteers, they consider themselves sophisticated users.  While they rely on the subject and project-specific guides we develop (in fact, they help to develop them), they told me that they know which ones do what.  So sometimes, what they really want is a cheat sheet–a way to see their field of options on one handy page.

So I tasked them with figuring out how to create that one page.

Jordi, Amber, and Brandon shopped around the LibGuides Community for strategies.  They shopped for layouts and decided the best approach was a pull-down menu layout.  Then they shopped for code.

We got the direct urls for the individual databases from the vendors and publishers.  And then we connected the silos by embedding the whole page–with tabs for our subject and research guides–on the Destiny homepage.

Coming in the next post: Our MackinVia app.

One-page database summary

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Thanks Joyce. This is incredibly helpful in the ongoing desire to connect students to quality sources!

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