A commenter on a recent blog post mentioned a type of resource guide that I’ve often used for past research projects: the LibGuide. Read on to learn why LibGuides are a fantastic way for researchers and prior art searchers to find resources recommended by experts on a specific topic!
What is a LibGuide, and How Can I Find Them?
LibGuides are online resource guides available on many academic, special, and public library websites, and they often focus on locating quality resources (books, databases, websites, etc.) on a specific topic. Any library or institution can create a LibGuide using software produced by Springshare. The Springshare website advertises:
Over 2000 libraries of all types and sizes use LibGuides to connect with patrons and share information online. 125,000+ Guides by 25,000+ librarians.
Springshare offers a free central platform where users can search through all available LibGuides, called LibGuides Community. Users can search guides by keyword and limit the search to particular types of institutions (Academic, Public, Special Libraries, K-12, or Partner Sites). The user can also search for a guide author through the keyword search form.
Below the keyword search form, users can also select “Explore Guides” to view the most recently published guides, or the user can choose “Browse Institutions” to search for and view an alphabetical list of all institutions that have created LibGuides. Select a particular institution from the list or search results to go directly to the LibGuides section of the institution’s website.
I tried searching for “electrical engineering”, and more than 30 results were found on the topic. Each result provides a title and brief description for the guide, the author and institution, when the guide was last updated, and topic-related tags for the guide. The user can select the hyperlinked title to go directly to the LibGuide or even select to search within the guide.
Example of a LibGuide
The first result for the “electrical engineering” search is a guide titled “Electrical Engineering“, created by Patricia Kirkwood at the University of Arkansas. The guide describes itself as “resources for research and course work in electrical engineering and micro electronics and photonics (microEP) at the University of Arkansas”, and resource links and additional information are arranged under a number of tabs. Here are just a few of the tabs:
- Find Articles: This section lists “highly recommended databases” (like Inspec and Compendex), “other recommended databases” (like Web of Science and Engineering Village), journal collections (like ACM Digital Library), and government research databases (like Science.gov).
- Find Books: This section allows (on-campus) users to search Knovel, WorldCat, a collection of theses and dissertations at the University of Arkansas, and the library catalogue. The section also lists E-book resources.
- Find Journals: Search journal titles within the library catalogue, view a video tutorial on searching for journals, view tips and example searches, and access a list of links to interlibrary loan information.
- Find Patents: This section includes a list of public patent databases (like Google Patents) and a list of other useful links (like the USPTO website). The section includes information on citing patents, general information on patents, a video on obtaining a patent, and a link to another section of the LibGuide with even more information on patent number, kind codes, country codes, citation styles, and a video on intellectual property law.
This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.