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A Point-and-Click Guide

Some of my least favorite teaching moments are those focused on mechanics: Click here; scroll there; point at this; type on that space. Jenica Ibarra, Reference & Instruction Librarian at St. Petersburg College-Clearwater Campus uses Canva to get around the mechanical aspects of library instruction to focus on more substantive teaching:

Continue reading “A Point-and-Click Guide”

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No Original Ideas

I’m pretty sure that there are no original ideas out there anymore.  I regularly apply this philosophy to designs I create.  When I start a new project, I find something that is inspiring, and then try to adapt the design (maybe just the colors, or shapes, or fonts) to my needs.  For example, I recently ran across the Scopus blog while preparing a presentation about the H-Index.

01-scopus-blog

I found the header of the blog to be modern and beautiful, and I wanted to try to recreate it.  However, with limited time, I couldn’t pull it off (you know, I had to focus on the content more than the design). Instead, I used my Colorzilla tool to capture the colors and I used the idea of the circles and connecting lines to illustrate the concept of “H-Index and Beyond,” as you can see below.  To further the modern feel of the presentation, I used the font, Multicolore, which you can download here (and here’s a little trick that Veronica just taught me about SlideShare: to avoid losing your non-standard fonts, save your document as a PDF before uploading to the site!).

I wouldn’t say that this is the best presentation I’ve ever created, and I still regret not being able to create the window-paned orbits like Scopus made, but I feel like it borrows from the original design without plagiarizing it.

You can find the original file here to download on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive Folder.  Feel free to modify the PowerPoint for your own use, and if you create something cool, let us know!  We love to feature updates of designs here on the blog.

Making Sense of Databases in Libguides

We are, without a doubt, a Springshare library. Libguides? Check! Libanswers? Yes! Libchat? Yup! LibCal? You bet!

Although we’ve embraced Libguides as a platform for creating subject (and not-so-subject-based) guides, we hadn’t really been using Libguides in a way that many librarians currently do: as the main access point to the library’s online database collection. Instead we were using ResearchPort, a gateway maintained by the University of Maryland Libraries ITD center. We wanted to have more control over our database access point interface, so we decided to go with a Libguide. Here’s what I came up with: Databases Libguide (see screenshots below).

Databases Libguide

It has the same look and feel as our library site and our other libguides, but has some cool features I’m really proud of creating and adapting.

Browse Databases by Subject1. A drop-down Databases by Subject menu

The technical support at Springshare is amazing. I knew that I wanted to avoid creating separate pages/tabs for each of our subject categories, but I didn’t know enough about scripting to create collapsible menus. Enter Cindi Trainor at Springshare, who set up a great collapsible box feature for me to use. All that was left for me to do was style each of the subject boxes that that they smooshed together (yes, that’s a technical term) and looked like one giant box. Fooled you, didn’t I?I think this is a nice way to get a lot of useful content on the page without taking up a ton of room.  Bonus: Our subject librarians can reuse these database boxes on their own subject guides!

 

Search for a Database2. A Find a Database search box

This is an adaptation of the search created by Scott Salzman at Furman University Libraries. He recently presented this amazing solution at the 2013 Springy Camp, thereby and was kind enough to offer his code and support.

You can learn more about this search box in the Libguide Scott created for his presentation. It’s a great alternative to using the “search this guide” feature embedded in Libguides, which will only give you the name (aka the letter) of the page in which the database link appears.

3. A space for database trials and our citation linker

Database Trials and Citation Linker boxes

If you have questions about the creation of this guide, email Veronica Arellano Douglas.

Promoting eResources in the Stacks

American Film Scripts Online

If your stacks are anything like ours then unused advertising space abounds. Our shelf end-caps have small signs with call number ranges on them and not much else. Theresa Mudrock and her colleagues at the University of Washington Libraries are “experimenting with posters in the stacks to highlight specific databases, subject guides and subject librarians.” It sounds like a fantastic use of dead space.

Oxford Bibliography Poster - Buddhism

This poster, created on MS Publisher, promotes our newly acquired module of Oxford Bibliographies. Similar posters were made for other modules including Hinduism, Political Science, etc. The posters were placed in the book stacks in the call number areas for the subject.

It’s a simple but effective marketing technique. Users are already looking for books in a particular subject area, so why not point them to other helpful resources?

ASFA Poster

For the original Publisher files of these posters, email Theresa Mudrock.

Visualizing Collections

afro-am-imprints

We’re nearing the end of the fiscal year at my library, which means we’re in a mad dash to spend our acquisitions budget. As a result we have a number of different databases on trial at the moment. Each of these slides appears on our library’s website and are meant to draw people in to the database content.

It’s a tricky thing to do. Databases are not often considered “sexy” and unless they’re archival collections with interesting images like the Afro-Americana Imprints, it can be difficult to draw users in to check them out.

latin-american-newspapers

I created each slide in hopes that they would catch the eyes of our students and faculty and introduce them to a new resource. I’ll let you know if they work!

For the original Photoshop files, email Veronica Arellano Douglas.

Calling Out

callouts

I love call-outs, but I guess you can tell that from this flyer.  I find that the mix of screenshots, graphics, and step-by-step text works well with students for database instruction.  For the Word document, email April Aultman Becker.

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