Training Resources LibGuide at University of South Alabama Library

With so many different information options and Web sites needed in performing my duties as a Federal Government information librarian, it became clear to me, not too long ago, that I needed some sense of organization that would give me easy access to the most relevant Web sites. Initially that was accomplished by bookmarking key Web sites on my Web browser. However, this proved cumbersome since, in my department, I had to work from several different computers. Also, when I was away from the library and needed access to a specific site to check some information, and I did not have access to my bookmarks, it was tedious trying to reconstruct where the site was located, especially since I never could quite remember exactly what sites were called. But it took the complete crash of my office computer and losing everything on it, including my bookmarks, to force me to rethink my way of getting access to what I needed. Luckily my library started using LibGuides™ as a way to convey information by subject to our students from any computer, whether in the library or off campus.

Initially, the Training Resources LibGuide was created to allow anyone in my department access to the key Web sites needed in the daily processing of Government information from the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), i.e., those Web sites originally used as bookmarks. It included links to Web sites such as:  Shipping Lists, Item Lister, Web Claims Form, List of Classes, DDM2, the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and MarciveWeb Docs. Most of the original links were the result of working with my staff to determine which Web sites were used by them in their day-to-day work. There was also a section specifically designed for our student workers which explained SuDocs, using tutorials from other libraries and our in-house training manual as a way of helping them cope with the intricacies of the SuDoc system. By having all of this information in one place, it made it simple for new staff and student workers to get to the information they needed, without hunting all over the place for it. Over the years, when other Government documents librarians shared interesting Web sites or subject sites that they had created, I added those resources to the LibGuide. As more helpful Web sites were added to the mix, I decided to break up the information into chapters for quicker access, rather than browsing through long lists of Web sites. 

Currently there are 16 tabs within the LibGuide, ranging from “Processing” to “Acquisitions” to “Research Guides” to “Miscellaneous.” Granted, some of the tabs in the LibGuide are specific to my library; “Historical Indexes” gives what paper indexes we have at the University of South Alabama for older Government information, while “Source Materials” lists what we have as resource books useful in documents librarianship. But most of the tabs can be used by anyone working with Government information.

The “Tutorials” tab includes a section for SuDoc tutorials (both interactive and video); a section on miscellaneous tutorials on such topics as American FactFinder, the U.S. Government Printing Office’s (GPO’s) Federal Digital System (FDsys), or congressional research; and a section on selective GPO tutorials posted on YouTube which describe the publishing process.

Under the “Acquisitions” tab there is a section on places to go to acquire Federal documents, whether from GPO’s U.S. Government Bookstore, Needs and Offers Web site, or through the ASERL Documents Disposition Database, as well as a list of Government agencies that I have accumulated over the years which still distribute documents for the asking (though sometimes they may cost you). This tab is one I use extensively in my work with fugitive documents. In addition, within this tab there is a section on Collection Management which includes links useful in forming collection development policies.

As for my favorite tab, “Miscellaneous” is a catch-all of interesting Web sites that don’t quite fit in any of the other tabs. Most of the links are to other libraries that have created extremely useful Web sites, such as Arizona State University Library’s DocCite, or the University of California San Diego Library’s GovSpeak, or even the University of North Texas Library’s U.S. Congressional Serial Set Inventory.

Also available are tabs for relevant listservs, library organizations, directories, and manuals. I am always looking for additional sources to add to the LibGuide, which is continuously updated to keep it current.

As more information has been added to the LibGuide, it has become more than just a training resource guide. It is now a one-stop shop for useful Web sites for Government information. What the LibGuide is not is a reference source for finding Government information for research needed by our students. (We have several LibGuides that do that.) But it can be useful to any Government documents librarian as a resource for making your job a little bit easier.

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