del.icio.us subject guides

Librarians love to create subject guides.  Most academic libraries have created 2.0 subject guides to promote resources online subscription-based services such as LibGuides. For low-budget and/or public libraries, alternatives have emerged to help librarians contextualize multiple research sources online.

As described by Swiss Army Librarian and iLibrarian, these 2.0 subject guides are being created using resources like del.icio.us and Squidoo — for free.  See aforementioned posts for examples, including MIT Libraries. These and other free social bookmarking services allow libraries to create subject guides that are familiar to many young users. One drawback: potential for lost bookmarks if website fails (be sure to back up regularly!)

Because our department does not have resources for subscription-based services, I created a del.icio.us page for the North Carolina Room. Using some of our most popular resources for local history, genealogy, law, and government, I was able to categorize and describe some of the excellent resources available to our patrons. We now have over 130 resources that can be accessed by browsing or searching the page and we have linked our del.icio.us to our website-as-blog (see the homepage — we’ve called it “New Links” to avoid intimidating patrons with unfamiliar terms).

A relatively recent article in Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research by Edward M. Corrado describes the benefits and drawbacks of using social bookmarking to create up-to-the-minute reference subject guides. Corrado emphasizes the potential for collaboration between librarians and students, as well as between librarians and other librarians. For us, the benefits are clear: to make available quickly our “staff favorites” and frequently used reference sources.


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