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Retooling tools: Wikipedia and LibGuides

Retooling Panel

(L-R) Aaron Bowen, Reference/Subject Librarian, California State University, Chico; Chanitra Bishop, Digital Scholarship and Emerging Technologies Librarian, Indiana University Bloomington; Marie Bloechle, Electronic Acquisitions Librarian, University of North Texas


Chanitra Bishop opened the session with a description of using Wikipedia in the classroom.  She began teaching students how to edit Wikipedia articles but soon learned that it can be used as an information source.  Professors still tell students not to use Wikipedia because there is still a concern that it is a credible source; however, students will use it anyway.  Many Google searches return Wikipedia articles in their results.

Wikipedia is good for background uses in research such as searching on unknown topics, learning more about known topics, or as a starting point to find information on other sources such as books etc.  It is often used as a pathfinder or research guide.  Because it is global, it gives users 24/7 access from anywhere.

Giving students a Wikipedia assignment is a good way to teach students information literacy and how to evaluate information sources.  It is important to evaluate each article, not Wikipedia as a whole because it is a collection of articles from a multitude of sources.  One way to evaluate articles is to look at the article history, talk page, references, and quality scale.

Articles can be evaluated by looking at the Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose/Point of View–the (CRAP) test.


Marie Bloechle discussed transforming LibGuides for e-book promotion and assistance.  Only about 10% of LibGuide users access its advanced features.  The library at the University of North Texas (UNT) adopted Springshare’s LibGuides in the spring of 2012 for subject guides and class pages, providing access to more than 7 million items.  The home page was replaced with a customized page of pull-down menus.  LibGuides are fully  integrated into the UNT library site.  It is seamless and branded within the site; users do not know they are going to another server.  A specialized guide is devoted to e-books.  Using LibGuides to Enhance Library Services is a good reference.

UNT has created an e-book collections guide, with the following objectives:

LibGuide objectives


LibGuides is a great way to provide focused information on technology to students.


Aaron Brown
LibGuides vs. Webpages:  A Head-to-Head competition

Why compare LibGuides to Webpages? Even before LibGuides, librarians created tutorials and subject directories.  LibGuides minimizes the learning curve in creating webpages.

Two versions of an assignment were created: one using LG and the other using webpages.  Here are the goals of the test:

 Test goals

The assignment was modeled on ACRL standards and used previous techniques for measuring student learning.

Each platform had the same content and same survey questions.  89 students responded to the survey.  Neither platform affected student responses; the pattern of responses was very similar for both platforms.  Students were asked how easy/difficult, clear/unclear, ad convenient/inconvenient they found doing library research.  Most of them found it easy, clear, and convenient to do the assignment.


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