ABOUT THE RESOURCE
In 2012, the main focus of the EIFL FOSS programme was on Free and Open Source tools that would enhance access to, or usage of, e-resources. A project in 2011 by the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, had highlighted a marked increase in usage of e-resources following the implementation of SubjectsPlus, a FOSS software tool to create and present subject guides that promote and highlight e-resources. So it was decided that the EIFL Licensing team would be asked to identify EIFL countries whose libraries subscribed to a range of e-resources but where usage was fairly low. The libraries of these countries would then be invited to submit project proposals for small grants to aid the implementation of SubjectsPlus. Zaman University, Cambodia, submitted a successful proposal to install SubjectsPlus in their library and translate it into Khmer, and the project was undertaken in the second half of 2012.
WHAT IS SUBJECTSPLUS?
Guided search tools are used to help library patrons find the resources they are seeking. Originally paper-based subject guides were written by subject specialist librarians, but the world has moved on and technology can now assist this process. Subject guides can be as broad or as specific as the librarian wants to make them. They can help to ensure full utilisation of little-known works such as theses or dissertations.
Directing library patrons to useful resources in the electronic age is a much more difficult task, due to the sheer range and breadth of resources available. Some libraries have designed authoring environments that suit their needs in this area and then released them as open source software. LibData and SubjectsPlus are two examples of open-source applications based on PHP and MySQL and need someone with expertise in these to configure and maintain them.
SubjectsPlus is a free and open source tool (created at Ithaca College Library in the USA) that enables libraries to create and manage online research guides. Usually created by subject librarians (and therefore requiring no specialist technical skill), these guides can take many forms, with the software sufficiently flexible to allow many different ways of presenting the guides and enabling users to access them (for example, users may want to navigate by subject, by course, by database or by the type of information they seek).
There is a SubjectsPlus wiki on which you can find documentation relating to the software, and also a SubjectsPlus Google Group for users to share information and ask questions. You can download the software here.