Web-based management of subject guides for academic libraries
anthropology • english literature • history • american studies • psychology • your guide here!
ResearchGuide is an open-source software application that helps librarians make subject guides and information pages about themselves using Web forms.
Consider the fictitious librarian Marcus Aurelius, a subject specialist in Classics at a university library. With ResearchGuide, Marcus and his colleagues can create guides to resources in various subjects by entering the information in web forms. They can also create specialist pages with contact information and other background information on subject specialists in the library. First let's take a look at the guides to resources.
Let's say Marcus wants to create a Guide to Classical Studies. He can create custom categories such as Reference Works, Indexes to Articles and Web Resources. Within each category, he can add as many resources as he wishes including URLs where appropriate. Once information has been entered, users may access the research guide as a web page.
ResearchGuide also allows Marcus to create a specialist page. This page includes contact information, a photo (if he wishes), responsibilities, and educational background. Any guides that Marcus creates will appear as links from this page, allowing users to navigate directly to guides in Classics, Law, Philosophy, or other subjects. Conversely, from any one of these guides, users may navigate back to the specialist page about Marcus since each guide has a link to its maintainer near the bottom.
The application is thus an environment for fluid navigation among research guides and specialist pages. The application also dynamically generates a list of all subject guides and a list of all specialist pages.
The heart of the application is the web-based interface for creating and editing guides and specialist pages. Here is a screenshot.
This application was written for use at the University of Michigan Graduate Library (which has switched to a different product in 2009). As of February 2010, there are live implementations at Eastern Michigan University library and the Universitat de Lleida in Spain.
This application is available under an open-source license courtesy of the University of Michigan Graduate Library.
In considering whether to use ResearchGuide you should be aware of these caveats.
You can download the source code here.
Contact: kslibner "at" users.sourceforge.net
See credits for more about how this application was developed.