Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spring into Springshare or open source equivalent

Well, I am feeling invigorated with new ideas and directions after the New Librarians Symposium in Melbourne. It was great to hear what paths new grads have taken after finishing their degrees. Many librarians have found interesting roles, sometimes with job titles which sound very little like librarians, and not always via a straight path. Some have taken contract and temporary positions to gain experience and zig-zagged their way to their chosen roles, collecting many valuable skills and life experience on the way. Web 2.0 and beyond also featured heavily at the symposium.

At the Uni where I work, I heard about Springshare Web 2.0 Library Guides. Basically it's a solution that's ideal for academic libraries and school libraries in particular to draw together many of the Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 tools. The main feature is the Library Guides to aid students in their research, however there are many other useful interactive features.

I particularly liked the way users can rate each guide. I also liked the librarian profiles and the reporting functions to track usage of the guides.
LibGuides Intro from Springshare on Vimeo highlights many of the features. The downside is that Springshare isn't free, unlike many Web 2.0 tools, but at around US $800 or so, it is probably worth the (annual) cost. This is especially the case where the library (such as a public library) might be short of programmers: Springshare is so easy to use and does not require any programming skills to add content and functionality - it's just point and click stuff.