You can help people at the reference desk and give bibliographic instruction sessions til the cows come home, but you can’t look over your patrons’ shoulders 24/7 when they’re doing research to make sure they’re doing it correctly…or can you?
Well, no. Not yet. But your library can provide an extra helping hand by creating a downloadable web browser toolbar that can guide their searching through electronic resources. On Friday, a post on the law.librarians blog mentioned one that BYU’s Howard W. Hunter Law Library created. (See their blog post here for details and screenshots.) I contacted them and it turns out that their toolbar was created by Offshoot Systems LLC.
If you’re more of a DIYer and/or don’t have the funds to have a toolbar created for you, you can also try LibX. It’s a free, open source toolbar builder. Here are some screenshots that show how it functions. I’ve had this site bookmarked for a while, but I haven’t even looked at the documentation to see if this is something that my limited technical skills could master. (Our OPAC is supported, so we got that going for us, which is nice. ) As with my Facebook OPAC search application, I keep hoping someone else in at my university will give it a go. However, as with my Facebook OPAC search application, I have a feeling I’ll get tired of waiting and just start messing around with it and hope for the best.