Writer’s resource: LibGuides

Image via SJSU King Library

Whether you’re writing an article for a scholarly journal or are in the midst of finishing up a term paper, LibGuides are a great way to familiarize yourself with a topic.

For those who don’t know, LibGuides are subject guides, created by librarians, that compile a variety of resources on a specific topic (anything from astronomy to zoology). Because most LibGuides are found on college websites, the subject of a LibGuide often coincides with one or more courses or programs offered at that college. Also, while you don’t have to be a student to use the LibGuide, you may not have access to some of the databases showcased in the LibGuide. If you encounter this issue, try checking your public library’s website. Many public libraries allow current library cardholders to access databases free of charge.

Additionally, many public libraries, including Alameda County Library, have LibGuides as well. However, these LibGuides may be referred to by other names, such as “subject guides.” If you’re looking for a great top-down overview of LibGuides in general (whether those found on academic or public library websites), check out the LibGuides Community. This site is an excellent alternative to searching individual university and public library websites, especially if you know what topic you’re searching for and don’t need information from a specific source.

But before you get in too deep with the LibGuides Community, let’s first talk about some of the features you’ll find on LibGuides, using SJSU’s Library and Information Science LibGuide as an example. Generally speaking, LibGuides are organized by type of resource; in this case, those resources are Articles & Databases, Books, Encyclopedias & More, Statistics & Data, Writing & Citing, Tutorials, Professional Associations, etc. (The INFO tabs are specifically designed for students taking a specific LIS course at SJSU.) The Books tab provides resources for locating both print and electronic books related to library and information science topics. SJSU staff members can even scan individual chapters and upload them to users’ interlibrary loan accounts on request.1 Next, the Statistics & Data section lists several websites useful for finding statistics on library service usage, salaries, LIS trends, etc.2 The Tutorials section is an excellent resource for users who prefer video tutorials to written instructions on topics like avoiding plagiarism, developing a topic, etc.3

As you’ve probably guessed, LibGuides were designed to make your research process more efficient. If you use these handy resources, you’ll likely find yourself spending less time on search engines and more time gaining a solid understanding of your topic.

What do you think about LibGuides? Have they helped you with your research needs? Let us know in the comments below.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. “Books,” San José State University, accessed April 22, 2018, https://libguides.sjsu.edu/lis/books
  2. “Statistics & Data,” San José State University, accessed April 22, 2018, https://libguides.sjsu.edu/lis/statistics
  3. “Tutorials,”  San José State University, accessed April 22, 2018, https://libguides.sjsu.edu/lis/tutorials
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