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LibGuides, or research guides, are an essential tool for many librarians. However, students rarely navigate beyond the home page, leaving many resources unused. The purpose of this research is to determine if students fail to use secondary pages because they are not finding them or because their information needs are being met by those resources found on the home page.
Six scientific LibGuides are being studied. On three, the primary feature of the home page is a menu leading to the secondary pages. Except for one featured book, no links to resources are provided on these home pages, forcing students to navigate to a secondary page. On the remaining guides, the menu was replaced with the more traditional “top” links to databases and reference sources, making it possible to use only the home page. Using the internal LibGuide statistics, we hope to determine if students using the guides with menus are both finding and using more resources than students using the more traditional guides. If so, guides designed with “top” links may not be meeting students’ information needs, and efforts should be made to make secondary pages more discoverable or enhance the resources found on the home page.
This poster will include images of the LibGuides used for the research, as well as results on the behavior of the guide users. Based on the results, I hope to provide practical advice on designing home pages that best serve the needs of students.