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I'm new to LibGuides and have never created a guide before. Where should I start?

What is a guide?

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.

If you subscribe to LibGuides CMS, guides can also be organized into groups. Each group has its own homepage and friendly URL, allowing users to visit that group's guides directly. In addition, each group can also have its own look & feel, which will be applied to the guides in that group.

The following diagram provides an overview of how content is organized in LibGuides. Read on to learn more about creating guides and adding content.

Diagram of the content hierarchy in LibGuides, from System to Guides to Assets

How do I create a guide?

Before you get started, you must have either a Regular or Admin user account in your LibGuides system. Editor users cannot create their own guides, but can edit existing guides to which they've been given permission to edit.

You can add a new guide to your site by either creating it from scratch, or by copying an existing guide.

Improve the discoverability of your guide

Once you've created a guide, consider customizing some of the following options, which can make your guide easier to discover.

  • How to edit your guide's title and description
    Learn how to rename your guide and add or edit its description, both of which can help users when browsing and searching your site.
  • Give your guide a friendly URL
    Learn how to replace your guide's default URL (which just contains ID numbers) with text, such "home" or "apa-citation", which can make your guide's URL easier to remember and link to.
  • Assign subject categories to your guide
    By assigning one of your site's subject categories to your guide, users will be able to browse related guides by subject on your LibGuides homepage and in each subject category's page (which will also list assigned databases, blog posts, and subject experts). Please note that subject categories can only be created and managed by Admin users.
  • Assign tags to your guide
    Tags can help users when searching your LibGuides site for specific keywords or phrases: if one of the search terms a user enters matches a tag assigned to a guide, then that guide will more likely surface at the top of the results. Unlike subjects, you can create new tags on the fly -- they do not have to first be created by an Admin user.
  • Change your guide's type
    Users can browse guides by type (i.e. "General Purpose", "Subject Guide", etc.) from your LibGuides homepage.
  • Assign your guide to a group (CMS subscribers only)
    If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can assign your guide to a group of related guides. Users can browse guides by group on your LibGuides homepage, plus each group has its own homepage listing only the guides assigned to it.
Additional guide options

Adding pages to your guide

From the bird's eye view, it can be helpful to think of each guide as a collection of pages, each page containing different content. In your guide, you can have both top-level pages and sub-pages beneath them. For example:

  • Page 1 (aka your guide's homepage -- the first page users see when visiting your guide).
    • Sub-page 1A
    • Sub-page 1B
  • Page 2
  • Page 3

Navigation layout

Depending upon your system's Look & Feel settings (which are configured by Admin users), you can organize these pages in either a tabbed navigation menu (with a row of tabs at the top of the page) or side navigation menu (with a vertical list of tabs on the left side of the page). In both cases, top-level pages will display as tabs, with their sub-pages listed in dropdown menus when you hover over them.

Adding pages

Additional page types
Page options

The following options can help you further customize each page of your guide.

Adding boxes to your pages

Each regular page of your guide is organized into columns, with each column containing one or more boxes of content. By default, side-navigation guides will have one main content column (though you can add boxes under the navigation menu), while tabbed-navigation guides can have between one and 4 columns per page.

Adding boxes

  • Add a standard box to a page
    standard box displays content items (i.e. text, images, links, etc.) directly on your page. This is the simplest and most common box type.
  • Reuse or copy a box from another page
    In addition to creating a new box from scratch, you can reuse (i.e. map) or copy a box from another page or guide.
Additional box types
Box options

The following options can help you further customize each box.

  • How to edit a box's title
    Learn how to rename your box, which appears in the box's heading.
  • Change a box's visibility with Draft Mode
    To keep a box hidden from public view, you can put it into Draft Mode. This is particularly helpful when working on a published guide, as it allows you to hide a box from users until its ready.
  • Display a box without a header or border
    The floating box option allows you to hide any box's header and borders on the public page (in other words, it's like the content is floating outside of a box).
  • Reorder and move boxes
    Learn how to reorder boxes on a page and move boxes between pages.
  • View a box's link or widget embed code
    If you would like to share a box outside of LibGuides, you can find its direct link, as well as HTML code you can use to embed it directly into another webpage.
  • Delete a box
    Learn how to remove a box and its content from your page.

Adding content items (assets) to your boxes

Within each standard and tabbed box, you can add one or more content items (aka assets). These are the actual content that your patrons will read and interact with, including text, images, links, etc. There are several types of content items that are also stored in your LibGuides Assets library, allowing you and your colleagues to reuse them in other guides without having to recreate them. Content items in your Assets library can be reused even if their original guide, page, or box is deleted.

Adding content items

Here's a list of the most commonly used content types:

  • Rich Text/HTML content item
    These allow you to add formatted text, images, tables, lists, and other rich text content to your guide. Using the built-in Rich Text Editor, you can apply styles and formatting just like with a word processor. Or, you can switch to the Source mode to edit the underlying HTML code directly.
  • Database from your A-Z Database List
    Although only Admin users can create new databases, all users can reuse them in their guides. This allows you to easily add links to related electronic resources. Plus, if those databases are ever changed (i.e. a new URL or proxy string), the changes will be reflected everywhere the database is reused.
  • Link asset
    You can easily create a list of links by adding Link assets to your guide. Once a new Link asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • Media/Widget asset
    The best way to embed HTML code (for things like YouTube videos or chat widgets) into a guide is with a Media/Widget asset. Once a new Media/Widget asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • Book from the Catalog asset
    Effortlessly create book lists on your guides. If you provide an ISBN, LibGuides will fetch the book's bibliographic info from Bowker and cover art from Syndetics. Once a new Book asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • Document/File asset
    Upload and create links to files in formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF. Once a new Document/File asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
Additional asset types
  • RSS Feed asset
    Display recent posts from an RSS feed directly in your guide, just by providing its URL. Once a new RSS Feed asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • Guide List asset
    This allows you to display a list of guides from your system, by subject, user, or group (if you have CMS). Or, you can create a custom list of selected guides.
  • Poll asset
    You can display a simple poll allowing users to vote on a single question. Once a new Poll asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • Google Search asset
    This allows you to embed a Google search box into your guide. Each asset can be customized to search either Google, Google Scholar, Google Books, or Google Patents.
  • Remote Script assets
    For advanced users only, these assets allow you to display HTML output from an externally hosted script (such as a PHP file on your institution's web server). Once a new Remote Script asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • LibAnswers Widget asset (LibAnswers subscribers only)
    If your library subscribes to LibAnswers, you can embed any of the FAQ or question form widgets that you've created (LibChat widgets are not available; use a Media/Widget asset for those, instead). Once a new LibAnswers Widget asset is created, it will be available in your Assets library so you can reuse it in the future.
  • LibWizard Item asset (LibWizard subscribers only)
    If your library subscribes to LibWizard or LibGuides CMS (which includes LibWizard Forms & Surveys), you can embed any of your forms, surveys, or quizzes (if you have the full version of LibWizard) into a guide.
Content item options

Publishing your new guide

Once you've finished adding content to your guide, the last step is to publish it. Each new guide you create begins with a status of Unpublished, meaning that the public cannot view or search for it. In order to share your guide, you need to change its publication status to Published or Private.

  • Published: your guide will be visible to the public and included on your LibGuides homepage and in search results.
  • Private: your guide will only be visible to users who know its URL. It will otherwise not be included on your homepage or in search results.

Changing a guide's status

How can I edit my guide in the future?

You can log into LibGuides to edit your guides at any time, either via the LibGuides Shortcuts box on your LibGuides dashboard or via the Content > Guides page.

  • Create an HTML backup of a guide
    It can be helpful to occasionally create backups of your guide. Although they cannot be used to restore deleted content, they can help you to recreate it.
  • Request an XML export of a guide's content
    You can request an export of your guide in XML format, which is useful if you need to index your guide's content in a discovery layer or institutional repository.
  • How to delete a guide
    Learn how to permanently delete a guide from your system.

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