Over the past few weeks working with Ted Bergfelt at Gumberg Library, I have learned more about research in the humanities than I ever thought possible. There is such care put into the formatting and content of each research guide that is made possible by Ted’s vast knowledge and dedication to making each guide thorough, comprehensible, and accessible. It has been interesting to work with Libguides, the content management system used to create research guides, and WAVE, the evaluation tool used to make the library guides more accessible. I have already assembled and published my first guide on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and a subsequent resource for Catholic News and Commentary, and I have worked carefully to make over twenty-five guides ADA compliant.
Working with Ted has helped me to see the value of having better research skills, and the advantages of providing people with condensed, comprehensive information. When I add alternative text to images within the guides, I must carefully consider what details of the image I include as I have a limited amount of explanatory space within the system. Though there is more space on the guides for description, I have to prioritize giving users the most significant information on the guide and allow the resources to carry their research. This has helped me consider how to emphasize the most important information in my own writing and allow my readers to choose the details they focus on.
I have also found great value in the specialized guide topics and the content that makes them up. It has encouraged me to continue writing about my niche interests such as the symbolic use of color in modernist poetry. I am looking forward to continuing to amend old guides and create new guides that encourage others to purse their own special studies.