Words to Widgets

What in the world is a widget? That’s what I thought a few months ago, so I decided to find out. Now I think they are going to help students navigate researching with databases.

I’m in the middle of switching all of our database links from words to widgets. Where I used to have the words “History Resource Center: World” linked to that database, now I have a widget – the words, an image, and a search box where a search can be started immediately (see picture). I think students will like starting their search right away, and may be more likely to remember a database if there’s a picture tied to it. I’m in a high school, but I think this could work for any age group.

Gale databases have great widgets. They provide everything for you and let you customize it if you want. You choose what option you want for embedding, such as HTML code for your website (what I use) or a link to paste in Google sites. The image is also a link, so if you didn’t want to use the search box, the database still comes up.

EBSCO also has widgets available. I received great customer support from Ryan Taylor, who was very helpful in helping me create some of the specific widgets I needed.

For the databases that don’t currently have widgets, I’m not savvy enough to create them myself. But that’s ok; there aren’t too many, and all of them have an icon associated with each product. So I used that icon and made a link. Easy, and I think more recognizable to have an image and text than just text alone. We’ll see in August!

If you are even thinking about trying widgets, go to our Social Studies Databases page and see what you think (it’s the only one I have finished). If you like it, it’s a little time-consuming, but I promise it’s not difficult! I’d be happy to share any tips, tricks, and HTML code that I can.

Holly Frilot

Library Media Specialist

Collins Hill High School

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Posted on June 23, 2010, in Ideas, Research, Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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