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Brian- I think you have an interesting idea but I have to ask what problem it would really be fixing? It seems to me that implementing LibGuides as a CMS is more out of laziness than meeting an opportunity. What you suggest can - and is- being done with Drupal and with WordPress; as you know, two open source CMSs that require much less financially than LibGuides. Like you mentioned, there are some up-front development costs in terms of developing an understanding of the system. This cannot be denied. But with enough R&D I would guarantee that Drupal and WordPress could both be excellent competitors with more attached freedoms at a lesser cost. I find it difficult to understand, especially in these tough economic times even for academic libraries, how pay-for products like what Springshare and others offer are touted so heavily when there are free solutions available. I've said this to Slaven and about LibGuides before: It's not that it's not a good product, it is. A cookie cutter approach to library website design does two things (at least): 1) it takes away the freedom to design a site that through organizational and stylistic choices represents the library more fully than a standard theme and 2) removes important skills sets from librarians (i.e. overall information architecture, customized UX needs, et al.) when in administration of their web environments. Additionally, you become controlled by a single company. Emphasizing course guides as content and their authors as the human face to libraries is something that I do agree with you on. Make them easy to develop. Make them easy to customize. Make them modular. All of these are key tenets of your discussion. But I think we'd have more to lose than we would to gain. Great discussion and thanks for me leading me to Bell's piece, somehow I missed it. ~Kyle Jones~
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May 19, 2010