LibGuides: Search Resources Recommended by the Experts

Resource guides and link directories are an excellent way for patent searchers to locate the best databases for conducting patent and non-patent literature prior art searches on a specific subject.  These resource guides are often manually compiled by librarians and professional researchers who have years of experience searching within specific fields, so they already know which resources will provide the most high-quality results.  The Resource Finder on Intellogist is one example of a resource guide covering multiple topics relevant to the patent search field, with lists of resources manually curated by the Intellogist staff, who have many years of combined patent search experience.  The USPTO search templates are another example of topic-specific search guides manually compiled by experts in the field.

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.

Search the LibGuides Community for guides on a specific topic like "electrical engineering."

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.

A LibGuide on Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas.

The LibGuide includes many other tabs focused on additional resource types (like “Find Standards,” “Arkansas Publications,” “Business Resources”, and “Governmental Resources”).  Other tabs contain information on topics useful to engineering students, such as “Intellectual Property Issues in Engineering” and “Citation Assistance.”  This guide caters to the information needs of engineering students at the University of Arkansas, so general researchers may not have access to all recommended resources.

Conclusion
Each LibGuide is created to meet the information needs of a particular user group at a specific institution, so patent searchers won’t have access to all of the recommended resources in a particular guide.  Much of the additional information and resources listed in a guide may not be relevant to a prior art searcher, so the searcher will need to selectively browse through the recommended sources to find a resource that may be relevant to their search.  Many LibGuides are created for students or the general public, so the searcher will also need to locate guides that cater towards professional or academic researchers.  The LibGuides Community created by Springshare is a useful central platform for locating LibGuides relevant to a specific topic or created by a particular type of institution.  Patent searchers can use a variety of resource guides and directories, including Resource Finder and LibGuides, to find topic-specific resources recommended by information professionals.

Have you used a LibGuide to locate databases or other search resources?  Share your experiences with LibGuides in the comments section!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

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.

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3 Responses

  1. [...] Kirkwood’s Electrical Engineering LibGuide is featured in an Intellogist blog article titled “LibGuides: Search Resources Recommended by the Experts.” The Intellogist blog is sponsored by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider [...]

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