Have you heard of LibGuides ? Unless you are a librarian or spend time poking around library websites, you may not be familiar with this research guide website. Officially, “LibGuides are a content management and information sharing system designed specifically for libraries.” What’s important for you to know is that LibGuides are research guides that provide information about a repository or a topic that aids the reader in finding resources, books, websites, and more. LibGuides are a tool to help you do better genealogy research.
Now you may be thinking, “but this isn’t a genealogy resource!” While this resource does not specifically target family historians, it does include research guides covering topics important to researching your genealogy including history, African American studies, maps, periodicals, and yes, even genealogy. These guides are important for academic researchers as well as family historians. Luana Darby, AG , LibGuide author and Legacy webinar speaker, points out that “LibGuides are essential for the family historian and genealogist. These organized subject guides, filled with information, links, and often videos, are key to becoming acquainted with the resources of a repository and accessing unique and vital collections.” Some of Luana’s favorite LibGuides for family historians include the University of Maryland’s Maryland Genealogy and the State Library of North Carolina’s Beginning Genealogy Resources.
There are two ways to search for LibGuides. The first is to go to the LibGuides website and search by topic, library, or even librarian (author). Libraries with LibGuides run the gamut from those serving grade schools to public and academic institutions. Academic institutions use LibGuides to accompany courses as well as serve as finding aids for their library and archival collections. Browse the list of libraries on the LibGuides website to get a sense of what might be helpful to your research. You can also check a library’s website for their collection of LibGuides which may be referred to as “guides” or “research guides.”
If you choose to search by keyword on the LibGuides website think about keywords that might describe the resources you need to fill in the gaps of your ancestor's life, such as the name of your ancestor’s occupation, their religion or a war they served in. Don’t forget to search on the name of an historical event your ancestor lived through or they name of the place they lived. You can also just search on words describing resources for family history such as newspapers. With 580,000 guides from over 4,700 institutions in 58 countries, you’re bound to find a LibGuide that can help you with the resources you need.