Learn about LibGuides
What is LibGuides?
At its core, LibGuides is a platform for easily creating & sharing guides about different topics, subjects areas, courses, services, collections -- you name it! But it's also so much more, with key features that include:
- LibGuides CMS, an add-on that unlocks powerful features for customizing, managing, and organizing your content
- The A-Z Database List, which makes it easy for patrons to search and browse your library's research databases
- Built-in blogging tools and (with LibGuides CMS) public & internal discussion boards
- The add-on E-Reserves module for managing access to your library's electronic reserves content
- The LibApps LTI tools (including with LibGuides CMS or E-Reserves), allowing you to easily integrate your guides and E-Reserves content within your LMS
Check out the sections below to learn more.
Guides & content items
A guide is a webpage that you can use to add and share content. Each guide can be organized into pages, each page containing boxes of content items (such as text, links, images, databases, etc.). Patrons can find your published guides listed on your LibGuides homepage, but they can also search your LibGuides site for relevant guides.
Groups are a CMS-only feature that allow you to organize related guides. Each group has its own homepage, look & feel options, and friendly URL. You can also restrict access to a group, as well, allowing you to create private or internal groups of guides. Not only can you control who can view guides, but also who can edit them, as well.
The Publishing Workflow, also available with LibGuides CMS, enables an editorial review process in your LibGuides system. When the Publishing Workflow is enabled, only authorized reviewers are able to publish content. For other users (including Admins who are not authorized reviewers), there will be restrictions when working on published guides.
A-Z Database List
The A-Z Database List provides a powerful interface for your patrons to browse, sort, search, and share your library's research databases. Behind the scenes, it also gives you a bunch of helpful tools to make managing your databases easier.
- Import / update databases from a spreadsheet or Serials Solutions/Intota.
- Organize and filter databases by subject category, type, and vendor.
- Improve search results by adding alternative names or keywords to databases.
- Profile your new, trial, and popular databases to improve discovery.
- Inform users of permitted uses for each resource with customizable license permissions.
LibApps LTI Tools
LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability - it's a standard for integrating tools from third-party services into Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace / Desire2Learn, Moodle, Sakai, etc. In terms of Springshare's products, it's a way to seamlessly integrate LibGuides content into your LMS.
The LibApps LTI tools allow you to integrate your content into your institution's courses directly, displaying right within the LMS frame -- no shifting them outside of the LMS experience to view your guides or E-Reserves. This allows you to give them the resources they need right alongside all of their other course information, links, discussions, etc. There are two types of LTI tools available:
- Manual LTI tool: this allows a user to manually select the LibGuides content to display in a specific course.
- Automagic LTI tool: this uses metadata matching to display related LibGuides content in a course.
LibGuides CMS is required to use the full LibApps LTI functionality, though if you subscribe to base LibGuides and the E-Reserves module, you can use the LibApps LTI tool to embed E-Reserves course content within your Learning Management System. If you don't currently subscribe to LibGuides CMS, check out all of the reasons you should!
Customizing & managing LibGuides
Admin users can customize many aspects of LibGuides, including system settings, look & feel, user accounts, and more.
They also have access to powerful tools for managing content in LibGuides, including the data export, link checker and search & replace tools.
Your LibApps user account & profile
In LibGuides, each user has their own public profile. These details display throughout LibGuides in profile boxes and in their personal profile page. These can be customized in the user's LibApps account settings.
Blogging is a great way to share news, stories, and announcements with your users. Within LibGuides, you'll find two types of blogs:
- System blog: think of this as the primary blog for your LibGuides site. This exists at the system level and is just a click away from your LibGuides homepage (when using the default page layout template). If you're looking to have just a single blog for your library, then this will be the best option for most sites.
- Guide blogs: in addition to your system blog, you can also add a blog page to any of your guides. This is a great way for anyone to create their own personal blog on any subject or topic. For example, if your Geology subject librarian has her own guide, she could add a blog page to share news on upcoming conferences, notable journal articles, new books in your collection, etc.
Both types of blogs have features that can help you share your posts outside of LibGuides, including email notifications, social media posts, RSS feeds, and widgets.
Discussion boards (available with LibGuides CMS) are a platform for communicating with patrons and staff within LibGuides. There are four types of discussion boards available:
- Public system discussion board: this is the primary discussion board for the general public. Each CMS system has one, which you can link to via the Discussions box on the LibGuides homepage.
- Public guide discussion boards: if you'd like to facilitate a public discussion within your guide, you can add a discussion board page. This displays in the guide navigation just like a standard page, but will display a discussion board instead of the usual columns, boxes, and content items.
- Internal system discussion board: this is a private discussion board that can only be accessed by logged-in users under Discussions > System Discussion Board. This is a great place for general conversations among staff.
- Internal guide discussion boards: each guide has its own private discussion board, which is a great collaboration tool when working on a guide with multiple users. Not only can you share ideas and feedback, but it also gives you an easy way to look back on prior conversations about the guide.
E-Reserves is an add-on module that allows you to manage your electronic reserves content within LibGuides. Not only will LibGuides provide your students with an easy-to-use interface for browsing and searching your course materials, but you can also integrate your e-reserves content within your guides and even your LMS.
- Create and manage a wide array of e-reserve items directly within your LibGuides site
- Upload your own documents or link to documents in your existing databases
- Organize your content by course and term
- Manage copyright and restrict access to course content
- Integrate e-reserves content into your learning management system (LMS) using the LibApps LTI Tools
E-Reserves is available as an add-on to your existing LibGuides subscription. Contact our Springy Sales Team to request a quote and free trial.
Don't have a particularly mobile-friendly site? mSite Builder (MSB) can help you create a mobile website in order to quickly & easily get the most important info out to your users.
MSB uses the familiar LibGuides functionality of adding pages and assets - you can even reuse your LibGuides assets - so it won't take long to get up & running. And since Font-Awesome is built into the system, you can use those icons in your menu instead of having to buy / scour the web for freely available icons.
mSite Builder (MSB) is an additional module you can add to any LibGuides or LibGuides CMS subscription. Interested in trying it out? Contact our Springy Sales Team for more info!