Data Management Resources: Libguides

What are Libguides?

While putting together our upcoming webinar on existing data management resources, one consistent source of useful information was librarian-authored research guides called libguides, hosted by various institutions. While we’ll be going into more detail in the webinar itself, I wanted to talk about what makes the libguide platform especially useful to librarians looking to make a data management guide for their patrons.

Libguides are designed to be made up of replaceable parts that are easy to share with other guides. Img source: Wikimedia Commons

Libguides are a web platform designed for librarians to create and share research guides, without having to tangle with web design tools. They can be used to answer frequently asked questions, highlight materials in the catalog, or point to useful outside resources. Organizationally, Libguides are made up of tabs and boxes. Tabs allow you to create sub-pages within the guide to keep content organized. Each page is populated with boxes that contain different kinds of content, such as lists of links, RSS feeds, or videos.

The Power of Linked Pages

Aside from allowing librarians to assemble simple page structures, breaking the site into various boxes allows users to share individual components of their guides with other librarians for use in their own guides. This means useful information can be repeated across multiple guides without reinventing the wheel. This modularity makes libguides a great tool for disseminating data management information. Not only can librarians create a guide specifically to answer questions about data issues, but relevant pages can be easily ported to subject specific guides. By properly organizing the information on your data management libguide, you can easily re-use pages specific to the sciences or humanities to their relevant topics. Later, when  you update these pages the changes will automatically be reflected across all the guides that are using it as a linked page.

When sitting down to create a data management libguide, you should design it in such a way where it can be useful to researchers who might only see a portion of it. Properly sharing individual tabs will not only capture researchers who might not have started considering the data management element of their work, but also guide traffic to the main data management site. Reaching out to the authors of frequently visited libguides can be a good way to add information that might be of value to their patrons.

For examples of data management libguides and other useful resources, check out the DMPTool Community Resources Page. If you need technical advice on how to customize your libguide, check out guidefaq.com to find answers to frequently asked questions about the libguide platform.

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