Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pulling it all together online -- LibGuides? Netvibes? Pageflakes?

Research resources -- shared and organized in easily configured widgets/modules on tabbed pages -- that's what libraries using Web 2.0 tools like LibGuides, Netvibes, and Pageflakes can offer their customers. It's one of the quickest ways to create a library portal or home page.

LibGuides is not free, but it looks like it could be worth buying.

Check out the LibGuides Community page where you can browse for academic, public, and school libraries and see how they have used the product.

For example, see the library guides created by:
Buffy (alias The Unquiet Librarian) recently blogged about how much she loves LibGuides and she's someone who has been exploring the best means of providing students with research guides and pathfinders for some time now -- see her wiki: Research Pathfinders 2.0: Information Streams for Students.


Netvibes is the next best option -- and it's free. This is what I've been playing with for the past few weeks, inspired by these librarians:

The beauty of Netvibes is that anything I see on any of their pages, I can easily copy to my own by simply clicking "Share" on a particular widget. And everyone has both a private page and a public page, so you can play around with customizing widgets on your private page and then move them to the public sphere.

For example, I just copied over links to kids' magazines from Fiona, links on books and reading from Leanne, more book and reading links from Yvonne, links to audio book sites from Dianne, and dictionary websites from Kathy.

I like how Kathy has made a separate page for the PYP units of inquiry -- and I'll be doing that as well, but for now here's my initial effort:


Pageflakes is a similar tool that I have experimented with before, but then I recently read a blog posting which suggested Pageflakes might die (from lack of funding). So I immediately began exploring Netvibes and was thrilled to find so many good library examples out there to copy. But then just the other day there was an ominous blog posting about Netvibes! Well, I'm not giving up on Netvibes yet. But as a form of insurance I've also just requested a proper LibGuides demo (and formal quote). By the way, this is the official comment on costs:
The cost of an annual license depends on the size of your institution and the number of libraries involved. We try to customize the pricing for every client, to meet their specific needs (as well to fit within their budgets!). The annual license fee ranges from $899 to $2,999 ($549 for K-12 libraries). Most libraries would fall under the lower license range. Contact us with the info about your institution (FTE or # of card holders) and we'll give you an exact quote. Chances are, you'll be pleasantly surprised - LibGuides is a great deal, any way you look at it!
I haven't mentioned iGoogle personalized pages, though they're quite similar. You can also share widgets and tabs with other people, but they're designed more for personal homepages -- where someone is logged into their Google account. So if your students all have iGoogle pages, then you could publicize library-specific widgets for them to add to their homepages. And if you want to explore other options, see this list of "start page" tools via Delicious.

Speaking of library websites, there are two I've admired recently for their clean "Mac" look and layout, though only Leanne's was made on a Mac. The other was created using a free tool called Weebly.



p.s. Check out the screencasts/tutorials The Big House Library has made using Jing (a free screen capture/screencast tool) showing how to use their library catalog (Follett's Destiny). I plan to do the same (someday).


2 comments:

  1. Hi Katie,
    Thanks so much for mentioning my netvibes page - "My Bloomin' Web". Just wanted to let you and your readers know the address is slightly different now. The correct URL is:
    http://www.netvibes.com/librareanne
    regards,
    Leanne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Leanne, for the update. URL is now updated in the blog post.

    -- Katie

    ReplyDelete

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