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Best Practices & Guidelines for LibGuide Authors

This guide provides tips & resources to help WVU librarians create better LibGuides and save time in the process.

Good Practices: Design and Content

  • Consider putting a welcome or introduction box on the front page if you think your users would need that information.
  • Keep related content on one page if possible: for example, all content about finding books would be on one page
  • Use images to not only catch your user’s eye but also to enhance content or instruction.  Be mindful of copyright.
  • Proofread text carefully
  • Include links to other relevant LibGuides
  • Important content to include in a LibGuide:
    • links to databases and credible web resources
    • relevant E-books or reference books from the catalog
    • instructions or demonstration of resources
    • information on citing sources
    • profile or contact information for liaison librarian

Good Practices: Updating Content

  • Check for bad links frequently and make corrections
    • Springshare provides a Link Checker under "Tools" on the yellow toolbar
    • FYI: the LinkChecker only updates once a week so even if you've fixed everything, it will still show them as broken until the following week.
  • Check for updates to sources. Note: links to subscription databases are automatically updated.
  • If you have a “What’s New” box, make sure you refresh the content.
  • Delete Guides no longer in use.
  • Check your LibGuide links from off campus to make sure that they are working.

Good Practices: Databases

  • In LibGuides v.2, databases are copied from a central index. This ensures database links are always up to date. To add, just search for your title. 

 

  • Use Link and Database modules for database or web links instead of HTML/Rich Text.  The built-in Link Checker can check these modules for broken links, which makes it easier to keep everything up to date. 

 

  • List sources by importance, or another method that will benefit the LibGuide’s audience.  Users will assume that the first source will be the most useful; therefore don't automatically arrange sources alphabetically.

 

  • If a database name doesn’t indicate its content, include a brief description: for example, CINAHL (Nursing and Allied Health). If you want a different description than the default, write your own in the "Custom Description" box.

 

  • Database and website links should have brief annotations explaining what they are.

 

  • Include text, boxes, or links to instruction or demonstrations for databases.

What to Avoid

  • Too much text in boxes
  • Long lists of databases, links, and so forth: make use of formatting options like bullets, lists, headings, and so forth. 
  • Only one box on a page.
  • Sub-pages: they are not easily visible to the user. If you want to use sub-pages, please use the Left-Nav guide layout.
  • Library-speak:Write in a conversational, jargon-free style that will be easily understood by a wide range of readers.