I'm new to LibGuides and have never created a guide before. Where should I start?
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.
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.
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.
- Creating a guide from scratch
Learn how to create a brand new guide from a blank slate.
- Copy an existing guide from your own LibGuides site
Learn how to copy an existing guide from your own site, which you can then customize as needed. (Tip: consider creating "blueprint" guides designed specifically for other users to copy, which can help everyone create guides with consistent navigation and content.)
- Copy an existing guide from another library in the LibGuides Community
If you've found a great guide from another library in the LibGuides Community, you can create your own local copy in your own site. (Please be sure to request permission from the original guide's author first!)
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
- Add editors to collaborate on your guide
Although each guide can have only one owner, you can still collaborate with other Regular and Editor users by adding them as editors to your guide. (Note: Admin users cannot be added as editors because they can already edit any guide in your system.)
- Reassign ownership of your guide
Learn how to change ownership of your guide to another Regular or Admin user.
- Customize the style of your guide's tabs and boxes
Learn how to customize the color and shape of your guide's tabs and boxes. For boxes, you can also customize their border width.
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can add custom JS/CSS code to your guide to modify its styles.
- Adding custom metadata to your guide (CMS subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can add custom metadata values to your guide. When public, these will appear as
<meta>tags in your guide's HTML code.
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
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.
- Change your guide's navigation/page layout
See a comparison of tabbed vs. side navigation and learn how to switch your guide's layout.
- Display previous and next page buttons on your guide
In addition to your navigation menu, you can also display Previous and Next page buttons at the bottom of each page.
- Add a regular page to your guide
A regular page allows you to add boxes of content to your guide. This is the best type to use whenever you want to create content form scratch.
- Reuse or copy a page from another guide
In addition to creating a new page from scratch, you can reuse (i.e. map) or copy a page from this or another guide.
Additional page types
- Add a blog page to your guide
A blog page allows you to create a blog right within your guide. Similar to other blogging platforms, you can create posts and share them using a connected social media account. Readers can subscribe to your blog via RSS or sign up for email notifications whenever you add a new post. You can even create a blogs widget to embed your recent posts on another guide or webpage.
- Add a discussion board page to your guide (CMS subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can add a public discussion board to your guide. Patrons must have a LibApps Patron account before they can add or reply to a discussion (you can invite patrons to set up accounts in your discussion board's settings).
- Add an E-Reserves course page to your guide (E-Reserves subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to the E-Reserves module, you can add a course page directly to your guide. This can be helpful if you created a guide that corresponds to a course, as it integrates the E-Reserves items right alongside your guide's content.
The following options can help you further customize each page of your guide.
- How to edit your page's title and description
Learn how to rename your page and add or edit its description, both of which can help users when browsing and searching your site.
- Give your page a friendly URL
Learn how to replace each page's default URL (which just contains ID numbers) with text, such "home" or "apa-citation", which can make your page's URL easier to remember and link to. (Note: you must first assign a friendly URL to your guide.)
- Customize the column layout of tabbed navigation pages
If your guide is using a tabbed navigation layout, you can customize the size and number of columns on each page of your guide.
- Redirect a page to a different URL
Normally, when a user clicks on a tab in your guide, they will see the content of that page. However, you can optionally redirect users to another page instead -- such as another guide, a database, your library catalog, etc.
- Change a page's visibility with Draft Mode
To keep a page 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 page from users until its ready.
- Reorder and move pages and sub-pages
Learn how to reorder pages in your guide's navigation, including how to turn a top-level page into a sub-page and vice versa.
- Delete a page or sub-page
Learn how to remove a page and its content from your guide.
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.
- Add a standard box to a page
A 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
- Add a tabbed box to a page
A tabbed box is like combining several standard boxes in one, each visible by clicking on a tab. This can help you organize related content inside of a single box, but try to use these sparingly -- too many tabs and tabbed boxes can make a page difficult to navigate.
- Add a gallery box to a page
A gallery box contains slides of content that, similar to a slide show, users can scroll through. You can create slides containing an image, a Book from the Catalog asset, a Database from your A-Z Database List, a guide screenshot, or an event from your LibCal system (if you subscribe to LibCal). Gallery boxes can be customized to display multiple slides at once and even scroll automatically.
- Add a profile box to a page
You can add a profile box to any page, which can be configured to display the profile box for any user in your LibGuides system.
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.
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
- Creating and sorting asset groups in a box
Learn how to group and sort lists of assets inside of a box.
- Reordering content items within an individual box
Learn how to reorder the content items inside of a box.
- Reorder and move all content items on a page
Learn how to reorder the content items in every box on a page, including how to move content items between boxes.
- Remove an asset or content item from a box
Learn how to remove individual content items from a box on your page.
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.
- Don't see this option? Your Admin may have the Publishing Workflow (CMS subscribers only) enabled, which requires new guides, pages, and boxes to be reviewed before they are published. Select the Submit for Review status instead and a designated reviewer will review and publish your guide.
- 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
- Previewing a guide before its published
If you would like to see how your guide will look to the public, you can open a preview version. This allows you to get a glimpse of your guide, even while its Unpublished, without your own page views counting towards its statistics.
- Change a guide's status to Published, Unpublished, or Private
Learn about each publication status and how to change the status of your guide.
- Submit a guide for review (CMS subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS and an Admin has enabled the Publishing Workflow, you will see the Submit for Review status instead of Published (unless you are one of your site's designated reviewers). This article will explain how to submit your guide for review and what happens next.
- How do a guide's publication status, guide type, and group type affect its visibility?
Even if a guide is published, other settings can affect its visibility. This article will give you an overview of how guide type and group (CMS subscribers only) type can prevent a guide from being visible to the public.
- Change a guide's sharing permission
You can choose whether users can copy your guide within the LibGuides Community, internally within your site, or not at all.
- Generating a thumbnail image of a guide
Learn how to generate a screenshot of your guide's homepage, which will be used if you want to share your guide on Facebook or Twitter.
- Sharing a guide on Twitter and Facebook Learn how you can quickly share a link to your guide via a Twitter of Facebook account that has been connected to your LibApps Social Channels settings.
- Restrict access to a guide by IP address (CMS subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can restrict access to who can view your guide based upon a user's IP address.
- Restrict access to a guide by a password (CMS subscribers only)
If your library subscribes to LibGuides CMS, you can restrict access to who can view your guide by requiring users to enter a password that you define.
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.
- Editing and managing your guides
Learn how to find and edit your guides.
- 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.