Welcome to the Pathfinder Swap Wiki!

This is a space to share your best guides to resources.

What is a pathfinder?

A pathfinder is a guide for researchers. Pathfinders have been used in libraries for many years to save researchers time, and to help them avoid frustrating dead ends.
Pathfinders can now exist in a variety of formats, but this post explains why they should be online and easily edited: (Adapted from Ten Reasons Why Your Next Pathfinder Should be a Wiki NeverEndingSearch, SLJ, June 20, 2007)

Pathfinders lead researchers through information jungles. They make sense of the huge variety of information buckets.

They can suggest keywords and tags and call numbers. They can suggest books and journals to browse. They link researchers to critical readings and websites and blogs and wikis and portals and databases. They suggest strategies for searching and for documentation.

In the voice of the librarian, they make sure that student researchers know about the very best tools in their information toolkits. Pathfinders allow us to intervene in ways that offer learners the independence they crave.

In the 70s we created them in print. I suspect some of us still do.

In the 90s we began publishing pathfinders as html web pages.

Now, I am convinced that wikis and other collaborative tools (like PageFlakes and NetVibes, and LibGuides, and GoogleSites, etc.) are the way to go.

And here are a few very compelling reasons why you should too:

  • You can decorate your pathfinders by uploading beautiful, copyright-friendly images
  • You can link with ease. Link to your style sheet, your other wikis, to specific websites, to media in all its glory and all its formats, to e-books, audiobooks, wikibooks, subscription databases, etc. (If not for my pathfinders, my e-books and my databases would go unused!)
  • You can easily upload documents. Your pathfinders can now host your presentations, your handouts, your rubrics, your organizers, as well as models of student work.
  • You can easily create an index to keep track of your growing collection of pathfinders.
  • Web-based pathfinders are splendidly organic. You can edit them anywhere, on the fly, whenever you discover a new resource.
  • The new tools, like wikis, require no knowledge of HTML code. My favorite wiki creation tool is Wikispaces for teachers. The folks are Wikispaces give teachers free, ad-free wiki sites. Just remember to click on the button that identifies you as a K12 educator to remove the pesky ads.
  • Web-based pathfinders are collaborative documents. They make a party of the pathfinder experience. (Do I need a life?) Now, you no longer have to do your pathfinder thing alone. Wikis allow you to invite individual collaborators (teachers or students or mentors or experts) or, if you are brave, to allow the world to collaborate. You can easily track edits and changes. (It’s all very 2.0.)
  • We can easily build together if we choose to. Imagine those of us who curricular interests and needs, collectively working to build uberpathfinders.
  • Our pathfinders might just be another opportunity to showcase the work of the critical efforts of teacher-librarian in the 2.0 educational landscape!

What are we collecting?

Our goal is to share pathfinders that guide learners and teachers in the K12 community. We welcome pathfinders created by teacher librarians, public and academic librarians, and pre-service professionals.

What formats should be included?

This space is format agnostic. The goal is collect effective pathfinder practice in all its variety. Please share your favorite wikis, blogs, PageFlakes, NetVibes, LibGuides, and regular old html creations.