I read an article in one of the academic library journals this afternoon about the history and current relevance of pathfinders, those research cheat sheets that appeared in the early 70s to help students cover all bases without too much professional hand-holding. The thought immediately crossed my mind that researchers today, young ‘uns as well as older ones, don’t really expect to have to DO any research. The number 1 question is always, “Can’t I just get it online somewhere?” When told that they might actually have to work a bit, and wait a bit if the material has to come from somewhere else, they aren’t interested any more.
Today, pathfinders, or research guides, tend to be online, rather than sheets to pick up. But I’m thinking, why even bother to create one? I bet judicious use of Del.icio.us bundles would work as well. They are easy to edit, don’t require page formatting, allow for descriptions and the bookmarks themselves have a field for an annotation.
Having said that, I’m going to have to prove it now. So – here’s the subject I’ll use as my test: the Country Report. Sacramento Public’s Research Guides include one on the topic; and I’ve been collecting delicious bookmarks about Malta, the country I’m going to visit in November. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to work on a pathfinder-like set of bundles that could work for compiling a Country Report on Malta.