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Best Practices for SAC LibGuides

Best Practices for LibGuides

Springshare Best Practices

General Principles

Using templates in LibGuides v2 allows us to:

  • re-evaluate and update existing content
  • utilize new functionality
  • reduce duplications of links and improving maintenance
  • improve accessibility compliance

Accessibility / Universal Design

In addition to being a legal requirement, according to the American Community Survey, individuals with disabilities make up over 12.6% of the U.S. population in 2015.  Harvard and M.I.T. were sued over lack of closed captioning. Accessibility is a necessity.

  • When designing your guides, follow the principles of universal design and keep accessibility in mind to support patrons with disabilities.
  • Add ALT+Text to images.
  • Add closed captioning to video.
  • Rethink drop-downs.
  • Familiarize yourself with the following guidelines:

Default Template

  • Our default template for subject and course guides is left-hand navigation.
  • Other templates will be available soon.

Responsive Design

  • LibGuides v2 are based on Bootstrap design, which means that the display is automatically adjusted according to the size of a device screen.  There is no need to resize/scroll left to right, or design for mobile devices.
  • Boxes are displayed top to down from the left to the right side (first, everything in the left column, then everything in the middle, and then in the right column).
  • Be mindful of different devices when creating your guides. Don't use "positional" language (right, left, above, below, etc. It may not be there on the user's screen.
  • Put the  most important content in the top middle box (in left nav).

Create Author Profile

  • Use standard-size photos for your profile.  If a new photo is required, please contact Leonard Ziegler in MLC 631 lziegler@alamo.edu or 486-0887.
  • Add your profile as Profile type box on the left (for now until finalizing the template)
  • Only one profile per guides is allowed by the system.  Any co-authors may be added as editors. 

Capitalization of Headings & Links

  • Use Title Case for box headings, in-box headings, and links. More on Title Case.

Write for the Web

  • A user is 'you', the library is 'we.'  Introduce SAC Libraries at first, and then use 'we.'
  • Avoid writing in long paragraphs.  Use short sentences for skimming.
  • Chunk your content into shorter paragraphs; use bullets and lists.
  • Avoid library jargon. Terms like 'Resources’ and ‘Research Management’ are confusing to users. (Harvard).
  • Look over these writing guidelines from Springshare:

Link Assets vs Links Embedded in Rich Text Editor

  • Resources should be linked as Assets to improve maintenance, avoid duplication, and facilitate statistics gathering.  
  • When you create a Link Asset inside your guide, it is automatically added to the Asset Repository.  
  • Avoid embedding links to resources in text where possible. 
  • It is OK to embed hypertext links for navigation.
  • Remember that each box has a unique URL.
  • If in doubt, check with Lee.

Databases: Add as Database Assets

  • Only Admin can add a Database Asset
  • You may add your own description or hide the default description.  
  • If you need to create a new database entry, email lleblanc@alamo.edu
  • Rank resources by order of importance rather than alphabetically. Users appreciate a curated list of items, rather than a laundry list (Harvard). 

Websites, Books, Documents: Add as Assets (Links, Books, Documents)

  • Check if an asset is already available for re-use.
  • Avoid creating multiple assets for the same link.
  • Books are added as Books only if you want cover art.  Books may also be added as links.
  • When you add a link, book, document to your guide, it is automatically added to the asset repository.

Use default fonts

  • Avoid applying different styles and colors for emphasis.  
  • Avoid using multiple colors of fonts or changing template colors.  No more than two additional colors.
  • Use Heading 3 for in-box headings. 

Add Images

  • You may add images from a personal or shared library.
  • Provide a description in Alternative Text box (that would make sense for screen-readers).
  • Identify source of image. Use size 9 font for credit.
  • Check with Lee about using stock images.
  • Save images into the Image Manager.  Do NOT copy and paste or drag images--it creates a lot of extra coding.

Source: A screenshot taken by Karen. Font size 9.

Copy + Paste as Plain Text

If copying and pasting content from other sources, use Paste as Plain Text button, then paste your text in the box, and save.  Otherwise you will create a lot of extra code in your guide.

Friendly URLs

  • A friendly URL is a Web address that is easy to read and includes words that describe the content of the webpage. This type of URL can be "friendly" in two ways. 1) It can help visitors remember the Web address, and 2) it can help describe the page to search engines..

Assigning Types, Groups, Subjects, and Tags

Subjects are Tags are located under the Title of the guide. You may use multiple Subject.  Tags don’t require an underscore _.

Groups and Types may be assigned when creating a guide; or by clicking on the gear icon on the right-hand side

  • Subject Guides
    • Type: Subject Guide
    • Group: don’t assign
    • Subjects: assign relevant Subjects (one or more)
  • Course Guides:
    • Type: Course Guide
    • Group: don't assign
    • Subjects: assign relevant Subjects (one or more)
  • General Purpose Guides (How To)
    • Type: General Purpose
    • Group: don’t assign
    • Subjects: assign relevant Subjects (one or more)
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