What on earth is a LibGuide? Springshare created LibGuides for use by institutions such as universities, colleges and libraries. They are a great tool for learning and teaching various subjects. Without LibGuides, individuals would have to rely on a webmaster to enter their information into an institutional website. They would have to get in line with other individuals who needed the same service. You might have quite a wait. LibGuides allow you to enter your information into your own subject guide in a matter of seconds. The Newton Free Library has been using LibGuides for several years to promote resources available to you in a number of subject areas.
How are LibGuides set up? A LibGuide relies on subject tabs (also referred to as pages) near the top of the LibGuide. You click on a tab to get to a specific part of a specific LibGuide. Tabs/Pages are made up of various boxes that can have basic information, booklists, links to sources, almost anything that you think will help the people you are trying to reach.
Confronted with the basic information above, I still wouldn’t have a clue what it meant if I had never seen a LibGuide. This is where I become your guide. I created and am in charge of the library’s genealogy/family history LibGuide. I have set it up so that you can use it to learn about different genealogically related topics. I also teach from it. If anyone else reading this blog wants to use this LibGuide to teach, feel free to go to it. (Of course you give credit where credit is due whenever you use another person’s work.) None of our guides are restricted for use by certain people in certain geographical locations. If you are half way across the world and want to use one of our LibGuides, all your would need to know is the web address. Got that? Anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Now I would like to introduce you to the Newton Free Library’s Genealogy LibGuide. If you are impatient and just want to go there and explore it yourself, click on this web address: http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy. Feel free to take a look and then come back here if you want an explanation of the tabs. If you have questions, you can either enter them here in the blog or on the LibGuide itself.
The first tab is an introductory tab. Here you will find selected genealogical topics that relate to the Newton Free Library. The one area in the entire LibGuide that you may not be able to use, unless you are a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is the first thing you will see, the Database List. Some databases you will only be able to use within the library building, like American Ancestors and Ancestry. Others you can access remotely if you are a Newton resident (Heritage Quest). If you are not from Newton, you want to check with your local library. They may offer these as well. Below the database section you will find information on the Newton Genealogy Club, recommended websites, and the Dewey numbers for genealogy. (The library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System to categorize books.) In the side frame you will be able to link to this blog. My answers to two questions round out this page. What are the questions? Take a look.
I put together the next tab, First Advice, for people just beginning their family and ancestor research. Here you will find advice and links that should take you step-by-step into beginning your research. I hope it will keep you from making all the mistakes I made when I first started out. The next tab, appropriately named What Next, pulls together the First Advice tab into a consecutive list of what you need to do to track down your ancestors. Included as well are books that can help you with your research as well as a forewarning of some broad problem areas you will encounter. As my grandmother would say, forewarned is forearmed.
The next tab, Going Online, should help you with your online research. I include useful websites and suggested books. Take special note to the two boxes on the top left. These are instructions for how to use Family Search (a database anyone can use for free) and Ancestry (accessed only in a library at no cost or from home with an individually purchased subscription). I include instructions and a screenshot for every step. I developed this system for myself. When I need to remember how to do something computer related over a stretch of time, I created this combination so I would have a clue what I needed to do the next time I had to do the same procedure, usually three months down the line. It worked for me. It works for my classes. I hope it will work for you. If you use it and have a problem, please let me know. If you click one of these “how to” sheets and nothing seems to happen, check your downloads. Links to your downloaded material may appear in the upper right corner or lower left of your screen. Once you find it you can click on it and print it. You can also copy the link and save it in your computer.
Now that you have the hang of using a LibGuide, I think the other tabs are fairly self-explanatory. If you are curious about the LibGuides other librarians here have created for other subjects, you can take a look at all topics covered at http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net. Enjoy.
Newton Free Library
Library website: http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog: https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide: http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy