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My secret search/curating weapon

When it comes to search, your favorite search engine and your favorite databases may not necessarily be the right places to launch inquiry.

And when it comes to curating, I’ve recently discovered I don’t have to do it all myself.  I do not have the knowledge, or power, or talents, or time.

Neither do you.

Lately, I find myself using LibGuides in ways never expected.

Sure, as a member of the community, I can ask a fellow curator if I might use his/her guide as a template in building my own.  But way more often, I simply link to the Guides of others as resources or links in my own guides.  You don’t have to be a paying member of the community to do that.

I know very little about genealogy, or gardening, or classical music, or  sports,  or physics.  But somewhere out there, some really smart librarian does.  He or she knows a lot and understands the context of searching within that area of expertise.  And while they sometimes link to location-specific proprietary databases, very often the resources they list and the advice they offer transcend their local clients.

Lately, my students and I have discovered that the LibGuides Community search box as a solid, respectable, and yes, easy way out.  You can search for Guides or pages by keywords across the network, or by type of library.  You can browse the best of sites by topic.

Actually, what we’ve really discovered is a rich professional community and the collective intelligence of the curating library world.  It almost feels like my students are reaching out to find another personal librarian for their specific research interests.  And they are seeing the value of librarians in different settings–public, university, special.

In fact, Steve Abrams in his Library 2.012 address yesterday–Setting Priorities in Libraries: Focusing on the Transformation–suggested that we catalog each others’ LibGuides and use them as elements of our collections.

Searching the curated world goes beyond LibGuides, of course.

I’ve been teaching the students to use curation efforts as a search tools since last year around this time. (See Curation is the New Search Tool.)

So many of these tools do a great job moving beyond simple question answering, aggregating real-time news search and current awareness materials in a way traditional search does not.

Here’s what’s currently in our curation search box:

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. Floyd Pentlin says

    Joyce – Any particular reason why Netvibes isn’t on your curation list? Have you found it not successful or too complex?

  2. Kathy Bowman says

    My son just posted something on FB via Flipboard. I looked at it briefly. It looks like something that might be a contender for your list.

  3. Great choices! Me too, I’m using Pinterest, Diigo and


  1. […] and other relevant resources for students on campus. Ironically, just this week I came across an article that discussed using libguides for curation. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

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  3. […] guides by keyword, type of library or topic of interest. Used by school library powerhouses like Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton, I will be adopting LibGuides as my pathfinder creator of choice in the next […]

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