Friday, March 10, 2006

Reference Desk Favorites Organization

It is difficult to keep favorites or bookmarks current at the reference desk computer. For example, late Thursday night a patron asks for a website for Texas wildflowers. After googling a bit, the librarian finds a fantastic site at Texas A & M. They save it on the reference desk computer favorites under homework help. Two weeks later, another patron comes in asking a different library staff member for Texas wildflower information. This staff member quickly looks at favorites, but since there are hundreds saved and no one has the time to get them organized - they don't see it. So they spend time googling the answer.

Two suggestions to help keep useful websites organized:
1. Low tech answer - Keep an old fashioned Rolodex at the reference or information desk. As staff find helpful websites - they list them on a card and file it - Texas wildflowers would be under wildflowers. This is simple, but it does work well when you have many different people working the reference desks.

2. An online solution - MyBookmarks is a free Internet service that allows you to keep your browser bookmarks and favorites online so you can access them from anywhere. Set up an account just for the reference desk and everyone can access it from any computer. This solution will still require someone taking the time to keep them organized.

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