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How to: LibGuides: Organizing Pages

This LibGuide is designed to provide helpful information for librarians creating their own LibGuides.

Organizing Pages

Organizing Pages

Organizing specific pages can often be difficult.  Make sure that each page fulfills the specific function indicated by its respective tab.  And remember that images can not only provide your guides with some much needed interest, but can also be research tools in and of themselves.  Consider the following images, each of which will direct you to another LibGuide.  By examining how other librarians create their LibGuides, you may develop ideas and concepts that may enhance the way in which you create LibGuides.  What are the strength and weaknesses of these LibGuides?

Useful Guidelines

Too often, LibGuide pages contain a laundry list of resources that fit the particular heading of the page.  While we all want to make sure that our LibGuides accurately reflect the research resources and library services pertinent for the subject or discipline of any particular research guide, the following suggestions can help to enhance the efficiency of your LibGuide and make it more user-friendly.

  • ORGANIZE LONG LISTS If you have more than 7 or 8 resources in a single content box, it may be useful to consider how the content of that list could be divided into more than one box.  For instance: online/print; sources in the discipline/sources from other disciplines/multidisciplinary sources; dictionaries/encyclopedias.
  • LIST ONLINE RESOURCES IN LINK BOXES INSTEAD OF TEXT BOXES  Link Boxes automatically arrange resources into bulleted lists and put descriptions of the resources on a separate line or in a pop-up box.  Link Boxes make it easier to manage and edit content, to track use of linked resources, and to make global changes across multiple guides. 
  • LIST RESOURCES ACCORDING TO IMPORTANCE  Alphabetical lists are helpful if a user is looking for a specific source.  However, it may not be the best way to guide customers to the resources that will best help them with their research. Think about other ways to arrange the sources.
  • ORGANIZE LONG BOXES WITH TEXT  Guides are instructional tools that tell users not just where but how to do research.  This often requires narrative text.  But long paragraphs of text, or groups of paragraphs, make it more difficult for users to understand quickly what is offered and to get through it.  Bullets, sub-headings, etc. help break up and highlight the content both visually and conceptually.
  • UPDATE CONTENT  LibGuides for particular subjects/disciplines be updated to reflect newly acquired resources for that particular discipline or subject.  Not only does this allow you the best opportunity to reflect how the Woodruff Library contributes to individual disciplines, but it also allows your customers to easily and efficiently learn about new resources from which they may benefit.
  • MAINTAIN/REPAIR BROKEN LINKS  All links to content or resources be properly maintained.  Broken links inhibit your customers ability to access content important to their research.  To check for broken links, select the "Link Checker" option on your Admin page.

Following these suggestions will help you get started arranging content in an efficient way that best serves your customers.

Columns

Most librarians use three columns when creating LibGuide pages.  However, this can often leave the majority of the information in one long middle column with too much white space on the page.  When deciding how to organize columns, remember:

INTENTION IS IMPORTANT  Make sure that there is intention behind the way in which you organize your columns.  Guide users horizontally, not vertically, across important features of the particular page. 

DIFFERENT COLUMNS CAN ACCOMPLISH SPECIFIC TASKS Three column pages can work effectively when the far left column serves as a guide or series of instructions that can help support users as well as declutter any information you may want to put in specific boxes. Two columns can work well when you want to give space to lists so that you page does not appear cluttered or constrained.  For more information, consult the "Peripheral Boxes" Box on this Page.

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Peripheral Boxes

Trying to figure out what to place in your peripheral boxes?  Let's assume this page is the "Find Articles" page of your LibGuide.  Peripheral Boxes can direct users to other resources that may not immediately belong to the list of important databases or electronic journals that you want to underscore in your main content boxes.  Try using the "Google Scholar" box in this situation.  This box allows customers to browse Google Scholar for resources.  Does your library have a LibGuide specifically for finding articles?  If so, this may be a good place to use a "Links to Guides Box" in order to direct your customers to the Guide that may help them should they have difficulty searching through databases or electronic journals.

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