Sorry about that title, folks. It’s actually a vague (and rather pathetic) reference to what I’ve been doing most of this early afternoon. And that’s working on LibGuides. About a year or so ago, the Consortium Library signed onto LibGuides to present research information to users. We here in A&SC have seen a lot of potential in the LibGuides formats for doing some of our work, but just haven’t really had a chance to get started with it. Well, today was the day. Partly because one of our goals for this fiscal year (which is ending in about 6 weeks) is that we’d put up some discipline-related guides to our collections.
We’ve always had a few subject listings up, like mining, or the 1964 earthquake, or educators, or such, but it was time to add to those. Both UAA and APU teach a lot of subjects! And A&SC has collections that touch on almost every one of those subjects and we’d like to increase their discoverability to the students and faculty in those disciplines. Of course there’s a few that we really won’t be able to touch, like “history” (which would essentially be our entire collections list), and it’s probably impossible to provide a comprehensive listing for any given topic or discipline, but we needed to make a start. And so here’s one. The guide to health and medicine related collections in the holdings of A&SC.
Like I noted, it’s hard to be comprehensive about this sort of thing. Even in a tourist photo album, occasionally somebody will manage to get a photo in of a hospital or a medical professional or such, and qualifying that as “medicine-related collection” is a stretch. So these are the collections that have a least some of a focus on health matters, whether it be collections like the papers of Drs. Fortuine or Albrecht or nurses like Virginia Terrill or Retta Reed, or legislative papers like those of Kay Brown or Lisa Rudd wherein can be found bill files dealing with health issues in Alaska. Or collections from journalists who wrote about medicine or researchers who did research on medical matters. And so on. So, again, not comprehensive, but we hope a good starting place for researchers.
One of the nice things about using LibGuides to do projects like this is that the software tracks usage for us. So if somebody finds this guide to our collections, it will track which of the links in our list are being followed. We have the ability to look at our website usage and see which collection inventories are being viewed, but this will give us an idea of how effective the guide itself is. Fingers crossed?
And more subject/discipline guides coming soon. After all, we might be meeting the letter of the goal by putting up one by the end of the fiscal year, but that’s hardly in the spirit of it, is it?