24 December 2013

Tip of the Week! Research Guides

I just finished a pretty thorough updating of "Researching Forced Migration: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources."  In the past, I've tried to check links on a more regular basis, but since it is a manual process, I confess that it is a task I tend to put off!  That said, I think research guides are useful resources, particularly for users who need a quick introduction to an unfamiliar subject and some links to further information.

Research guides come in all shapes and sizes.  My forced migration research guide is a little more elaborate than most since it functions as a "guide to the literature" as well as an introduction to a field of study.  I use a more familiar research guide format for the three other guides I've compiled on IDPs, international refugee law, and statelessness.

Once upon a time, Forced Migration Online (FMO) commissioned experts to prepare guides on different forced migration topics and country situations.  Unfortunately, these are now out-of-date, but for a while there, they were very popular and constituted one of the most visited sections of the web site.

A variation on the research guide is the "library subject guide." A popular application that libraries use to generate these guides is called LibGuides.  The Refugee Studies Centre library has produced a very useful one for refugee studies.  It directs visitors to relevant materials both in the Bodleian Social Science Library and online, and suggests strategies for locating specific document types as well as for conducting online searches.  The UN Office at Geneva Library has also used LibGuides for its research guide on "refugees and asylum seekers."

Other examples of guides produced by libraries include:
- Humanitarian Entrants and Asylum Seekers: A Quick Guide to Key Internet Links (Parliamentary Library of Australia, Dec. 2013) [text]
- Refugees (Peace Palace Library, 2013 - updated on an ongoing basis) [access]

Of course, the key to a good research guide - or any information resource, for that matter! - is to be up-to-date.  So one of my New Year's resolutions is to make a more concerted effort to check my guides more regularly!

[Image credit: Information Center, Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources]

Tagged Tips.

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