Charge for Subject Guides Working Group

The subject guides have been defined as an essential resource to the library’s user communities. They hold a prominent place within the Digital Library as a tool to assist users in discovering important print and digital resources within the various subject disciplines. They also play an important role in highlighting resources for the interdisciplinary programs and centers at Dartmouth.

With the Digital Library at Dartmouth reaching a early stage of maturity it is time for the Library to assess the current state of development of the subject guides, and define the role and scope these guides play both within the DLD, and as a broader part of the library’s educational goals.

To achieve this, the SGWG will:

  • Define a consistency of structure to enhance the user experience and maximize the effectiveness of the guides. Items to be considered include:
    • Intended ‘target audience’ for the guides: is there one target audience, or multiple audiences: getting started and/or upper level/faculty research guides. If more than one, develop a scope for each, and a method for clear identification.
    • Develop a distinction between one-time, class specific guides, and these more permanent guides.
    • Essential elements for a guide that are required for publication.
    • Optional elements recommended to enhance a guide
    • Method for visually identifying the guides as a part of the DLD.
  • Review the classification and presentation of the subject guides within the eResources tool. Consider and make recommendations on two issues raised by the eResources Working Group (see #5 and #6):
    • In some disciplines, is there an issue of visibility for the subject guides residing in subfolders within that discipline’s subject folder? If so, how best to addresss this?
    • Consider whether a sitemap for all subject guides would be desirable
  • Establish a currency/renewal schedule and process to keep guides up to date.
  • Inventory the existing collection of subject guides and identify areas for development.
  • Consider nomenclature for the guides: is Subject Guide the best term for users?
  • Consider how the guides are currently positioned within the DLD, and how they might be used in other contexts. Consider their role vis a vis course web sites, their relationship to course guides, appropriateness for print publication, etc.
  • Assess existing technological methods used to author and manage the guides within the DLD site, and make recommendations for ongoing technical needs.

In addition, the Subject Guides Working Group should consider and make a recommendation to the DLMG on the RFP sent to Ivy+ libraries for “Web Guides to Disciplinary Literatures & Information Resources”. See attached.

To fulfill this charge, the working group will consult with bibliographers and liaisons, and perform usability testing with faculty and students.


The SGWG will complete its work and present recommendations to the DLMG by February, 2004.


Ridie Ghezzi, chair, Heather Blunt, Bill Fontaine, Leslie Shahi, Miguel Valladares