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UConn Library's LibGuides Standards and Best Practices — Content

A guide to help you create and edit your subject, course, topic and general purpose guides

Less is More

Usability tests at MIT indicate that students are confused by excessive content. Keep text, lists, pages and boxes to a minimum.

  • Ensure that the most relevant  content of the guide is clearly visible without having to scroll excessively. Users will generally read only what appears on one screen. 
  • If there is a need for scrolling, consider creating a new page.
  • There's no magic number, but if you have more than 7 or 8 resources in a single content box, consider reducing the list to the most important key resources.

Avoid Duplication

Before creating a new guide, check that your new guide does not duplicate content in an already published guide. Collaborate with your fellow librarians to create one guide on a specific subject or course that can be used by different librarians for teaching and that is useful for all users at UConn.

Strive for usability, not comprehensiveness!

Best Practices for Content

Use short and descriptive names for pages and content boxes (refer to Guide Types and Naming Standards for naming Guides)

  • Rename Home Tab: opt instead for terms that help users navigate the site, i.e. “Getting Started,” "Overview," or "Start Here"
  • Jargon: avoid terms that users do not readily understand
    • Jargon: "Use the Research Database Locator to find articles and more" or "Access our networked electronic resources."
    • Better: "Click Databases to get full-text articles."
  • Specific Titles: refer to sections such “Encyclopedias” or "Overviews" not “Reference Tools”.
  • Short Titles: clearly reflect the content on the page and avoid redundancies, "useful," "helpful" "key"
  • Use "&": instead of "and" in titles.
  • Capitalization: use a headline-style (first and last words in upper case and prepositions, conjunctions, and articles in lower case)
  • Redundancies & ambiguities: avoid terms, such as "additional" resources, citing "properly," and "helpful" resources
  • Break up Lengthy Explanations: present material by using  bullets, sub-headings, and other visual cues to group smaller "chunks" of information
  • Describe &  Define: avoid acronyms and mentioning resources without descriptions  (ILL, JSTOR, Refworks, etc.)
  • Shorten Book/Video Descriptions: edit publisher's comprehensive summaries to five lines if possible so users can quickly scan content
  • Feedback Tools: avoid options for posting comments, ratings, and recommendations, since users are seeking guidance from experts, not each other.

Organize Lists of Resources

  • List resources in order of importance rather than alphabetically - or consider other ways to arrange resources such as from broad to narrow in subject scope; by date coverage; etc.
  • Keep lists of resources short, focusing on the top five resources and breaking long lists of resources into different categories. If listing many books, consider using the tabbed box [like this box!] option from the drop down menu when creating the box.

Screenshot of the Add-Reorder menu where the option for 'Book from the Catalog' can be found

Minimize Print Resource Lists

  • Use the Book from the Catalog feature to highlight print resources. Use the permalink for the book record in Primo as the URL for this box. That way users can see if the book is available or place a hold for it.
  • Keep listing of print resources to a minimum (2-4 sources)
  • If possible link to eBooks instead to make the book readily available to users
  • Reuse links instead of copying. Use the Links Assets option (called links in the Add/Reorder menu) to ensure that links are tracked and updated See Creating & Using Links 
  • Reuse boxes either from a main subject guide or commonly used content (Library Policies, how to share/find Articles, etc.) in the Shared Content Guide rather than copying them. This minimizes the number of places information needs to be updated.
  • Insert copied text using the Paste as Plain Text option to avoid any formatting problems
  • Attribution: All UConn's research guides are licensed using a CC-BY-NC license, therefore, give attribution when linking to another's guide or using a significant amount of material. Follow Creative Commons [link forthcoming] practices for attribution.
  • Collaborate: Avoid duplicating efforts and work with a fellow librarian(s). If several librarians teach the same subject, collaborate to create one subject guide in the topic. If several librarians teach the same type of course, collaborate to  create guides that can serve as templates or master to be reused/shared or linked (See Course Guides for guidelines and examples).

Don't recreate the wheel! Instead links to this webpages for these type of content:

  • For hours,  link to the Hours page 
  • For user support , link to Help page
  • Avoid homepage screenshots, link to Main page or databases if possible
    • Both webpages and databases may change interface and look at any time which may the screenshots obsolete
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