Some help for creating and editing LibGuides:

Midd LibGuides Reusable Content

Always consider whether you can start with reusable content rather than starting from scratch. Find links for the following reusable content in the "Admin Alerts" box of your LibGuides Dashboard:

  • Databases A-Z
  • !!! Links Archive: SubjectsPlus migration
  • !!! Storage Guide: Reusable Content


Use the template called "!!! Template" when you create a new guide (subject guide or course guide):
Create New Guide > Use a template > !!! Template.

How to Create a LibGuide

  • Style/design issues that guide creators cannot change -- they are default for consistency
    • Color of headings
    • Box borders
    • Tab styles and colors
    • Link styles (dotted underlining when links appear within text; no underlining as lists)
  • Creating a new guide: For all guides, use the template called "!!! Template."
    • Find the template here: Create New Guide > Use a template > !!! Template. This will make it easier to follow the style described below.
    • Subject guides should start with the template and should look reasonably similar. Landing page should include "Table of Contents," "Not sure where to start?", "Subject Specialist," and "Ask a Librarian."
    • Course guides should start with the template but might look somewhat different. Landing page does not necessarily include "Table of Contents" or "Not sure where to start?". Should include "Subject Specialist." Does not necessarily include "Ask a Librarian."
    • Consult naming conventions in LibGuides Style Guide
  • Columns: Follow the template.
    • Landing page has 2 columns: left column is wide and right column is narrow.
    • Subsequent pages have no more than 3 columns: if using 2 columns then left column is wide; if using 3 columns then center column is wide.
  • Tabs (quantity): Limit to 1 row (but may have sub-pages)
  • Tab headings: Keep it brief, and make it informative/intuitive to students. Avoid jargon.
    • For subject guides, use the tab names in the template ("!!! Template") for common content. For content that is more unique, use the names you think are best suited to the content.
    • For course guides, use the tab names in the template ("!!! Template") and/or the names you think are best suited to the content.
    • Home page should be called “Home” unless the content of the guide is sequential (for example, a tutorial), in which case use “Start”
    • Provide a description of the contents of each tab in the "What's in this guide?" box on the landing page.
  • Boxes
    • In the template ("!!! Template") and in the "!!! Storage Guide" you will find reusable boxes including "Ask a Librarian," "Table of Contents," and "Not sure where to start?"
    • "Subject Specialist" and "Ask a Librarian" boxes: Follow the template. Should always appear on the landing page. Not necessary on subsequent pages.
    • Table of Contents: Follow the template. Should always appear on the landing page. Should describe the contents of each tab in 1-2 sentences. Not necessary on subsequent pages
    • Not sure where to start?: Follow the template. The "Not sure where to start?" box should appear on the landing page of all subject guides. It should list the 1-5 resources that a new researcher is most likely to use. It can appear on subsequent pages as well, but it doesn't have to.
    • Rather than reusing entire pages, reuse boxes. Reusing an entire page will likely bring in content that doesn't mesh.
    • Alternatively, create a tab that says, “More” and link to another page (for example, Citation guide, Scholarly vs popular).
  • Page length: Try to keep landing page content above the fold
  • Intro Text: Include brief contextualizing information; describe how researchers might use the guide. No need to provide a welcome message from the librarian; these do not have an impact on researchers.
  • Guide Text: Keep it brief! users mainly want links, examples. Be vigilant; do not rely on jargon or acronyms.
  • Links: When copying and pasting a libguides URL to use in a link, make sure you copy a URL from a page where you’re not logged in. (Best to use a totally different browser for this). Otherwise, the URL won't be accessible to someone who is not an administrator/guide creator. Also, as mentioned above there will be automatic dotted underlining when links appear within text; no underlining when links appear as lists. This makes LibGuides parallel with Drupal formatting)
  • Images:
    • If they are your own (and you don't want credit), or if they are from the College collection of digital photos, you do not need to cite the source.
    • Otherwise, always cite the source. You may cite the source as a caption, or at the bottom of a page, or wherever you think it is appropriate.
    • Always include alt tags.(This is for accessibility; screen readers can read alt tags.)
    • Image size: the general recommendation is that any image meant for use on the web be no larger than 100kb (but that really, the smaller the size, the better).The reason for this is that images with larger sizes take longer to load in a standard web browser, and eat up more bandwidth.
  • Friendly URL: Always provide a "Friendly URL" (Guide Settings > Change Guide Information).
  • Profile
    • Box title: Subject Specialist
    • Profile image: Your photo. Select a recognizable picture of you. Minimum 90x90 pixels; larger is fine as long as it fits in the box. Make sure it loads quickly.
    • Website/blog: optional
    • Contact info:
      • Davis Family (or Armstrong Science) Library ____
      • 802.___.____ (use periods, not dashes)
      • ___@middlebury.edu (type it out)
      • Additional fields: Add a job title (favor language that makes sense to student over abstract organizational wording)
      • Subject specialty: Do NOT enter anything here. Instead, consider adding liaison areas to Profile Page.
    • Customize profile page
      • Fill in: Office hours (optional)

Miscellaneous advanced tips

  • Box header with no title (for images, etc.)
    • Instead of typing in a title, type the HTML code for space: &nbsp
  • Create a scrolling box (Rich -text box):
    • In Plain-text editor, add this at the top of HTML code (in <>brackets): div style="height: 300px; overflow: auto;"
    • And add this closing at the bottom of the text in HTML brackets: /div
    • Detailed instructions for other boxes, too
  • Create a tabbed box
  • How to add a url to a link description

Best Practices

  • Style Guide for Middlebury
    • Includes consistent vocabulary for tabs, boxes, and other frequently used terms
  • From LibGuides Webinar
    • Consider including persistent links to database search results (like our MIDCAT searches for language DVDs). (This is called the “Worked Example Theory.”)
    • Use the appropriate box type. For example, use a ‘links’ box for links (this allows stats and link-checking).
    • Guidelines from the Center for Plain Language (plain language is a civil right!)
    • Quick Tips from plainlanguage.gov
    • Reduce cognitive load; we may have a reader's attention for only 3 seconds. Readers are easily overwhelmed by too much content, too many choices.
    • Reduce the amount of text. Cut it in half, then cut it in half again.
  • From Stacy's Usability Document:
    • "Welcome" statements: viewers skip
    • Search box: viewers don't see/use
    • Tabs: viewers don't notice or don't see sub-tabs

To accommodate the long migration period

As we migrate slowly from SP to LG, it'll be hard to keep aware of broken links when one research guide references another. So:

  • Please make go/ links for research guides, that you can update when your guide is migrated (eg, go/spanishguide with an alias of go/spanguide)
  • Please link to the go/link (go.middlebury.edu/___) rather than the static URL when linking from one subject guide to another and
  • Check the gdocs spreadsheet (liaisons only), or watch for alerts about which guides have migrated using the gdocs spreadsheet (see liaison blog post (liaisons only) comments for instruction on how to set up alerts)

When you migrate a guide, best practice for redirects (in order of preference):

  1. add a box to the top of the old subsplus guide that redirects visitors to the new guide and CAREFULLY remove all other content from the guide, OR
  2. unpublish the old subsplus guide (note: there will be no redirects for the URL until February), OR
  3. add a box to the top of the old subsplus guide that redirects visitors to the new guide without removing other content (see http://sp.middlebury.edu/subjects/guide.php?subject=style), OR
  4. work on your biggest guides last, and let the February redirect take care of the issue
  5. ALSO consider searching the Middlebury web site for the URL of the old subsplus guide and correcting/notifying others of changes that need to be made

How to create/edit database descriptions

If you (guide author) see a database description that needs to be updated site-wide, what to do?
  • Workflow (including CM staff).
    • email this to Bryan, because he needs to determine
      • if it goes into the Databases A-Z via the Serials Solutions-LibGuides updater,
      • or if it needs to get a less granular "dummy record" in in Serials Solutions beforehand,
      • or if it should rather be added to the Links Archive.

Is it possible to create a customized description but preserve the shared URL? Yes; here's how and here are the caveats.

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