Thoughts for Webguides

Nov. 23, 1998

Here are some random thoughts for all of us to respond to; if you can't make it to the meeting on Tuesday, please send e-mail to the group.

1. Overall look of the Webguides

Consider the Virtual Library [] design: the (clickable) logo that appears on every guide is one of only two unifying elements for this disparate and far-flung collection. The other common feature is a text link to the collection. Notice how the subjects are grouped (main topic, followed by three examples).

Consider, also, the overall structure of the Argus Clearinghouse []: Short list of main subjects leading to a heirachical list. The left side of each page shows you the path taken (try drilling down and see). Obviously, there are many more guides here than we would ever have to require the use of so many levels...

2. Subject Webguides vs Internet Resource Guides

Most of the guides "out there" focus on Internet (mostly Web-based) resources. Our guides have, for the most part, done the same, with the inclusion of local electronic resources (e.g. IRIS, Ovid databases). I think there is room in the Subject Webguides section for guides to local non-electronic resources (e.g. traditional bibliographies of Reference books). Better still, I think individual subject guides should point to both print and non-print resources, whether at Rutgers or elsewhere, as appropriate to the subject.

3. Creating vs pointing

There are many fine guides "out there" that we do not need to replicate. Some of these actually reside with on-campus departments and research centers and we could simply point to them e.g. the Virutual Religion Index at

I think we should create guides that are:

4. Internal structure of guides

The VL guides do not look like each other, nor do they include the same sort of stuff. Of course, they do not all come from the same institution. Ours will have to represent RUL so each guide should include identifying marks of some sort. I propose the adoption of the new logo, say in the top left-hand corner, and some text that says the guide is from RUL. I further propose that we use a uniform typeface for the text, but not necessarily a common internal structure.

The guides could be single pages; multiple pages connected by a Table of Contents; multiple pages interlinked by some internal navigation method.

5. Unmaintained (and non-existent) pages

We have a few of these, due to physical or emotional resignations. I think we should encourage our colleagues to work on and maintain them. If we get no takers, say within two months, I propose that we give the page a decent burial and simply retain a pointer or two to pages "out there." At the same time, we should be actively pursuing the creation of badly needed pages, by offering training, hand-holding, or simple advisory services.

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