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Best Practices for Research and Course Guides


Homepage & Tabs


This guide is for archival purposes only.

Please see the new LibGuides Best Practices guide for updated content.

Creating Research and Course Guides

The following two guides provide how-to instructions for creating research and course guides.

The Homepage

Better not to call the first tab “Home.” Something like “Getting Started” is better.

The following boxes are recommended for this page:

  • Purpose: what the guide aims to do should be clearly stated on the first page. Also, before creating the guide it is important to know the knowledge level of the user the guide will be intended for.

  • TOC: a table of contents that links the user to different pages within the guide

  • Profile: a profile box for the author

  • Recommended Guides: a box with links to additional recommended guides.

Setting up and editing your profile.


  • Short Titles:  keep tab titles short – they should clearly reflect the content in that page.

  • Use "&": use “&” instead of “and” in tab titles

  • Title Case: use it.

  • Jargon: avoid library jargon in naming tabs.  Favor action words.

  • Specific Titles: be specific in naming tabs. “Encyclopedias” is more meaningful to students than “Reference Tools”.

  • Subtabs: avoid subtabs or “Drop-down” tabs as much as possible. They may be confusing in terms of navigation and students may not always see them. Before putting content in a sub-tab, think about whether it can be put in a separate box on the main page without making that page too long.

  • TOC: a table of contents on the first page that links to each of the pages in the guide will be useful for those students who do not see the tabs.  

  • Consistent Organization: the organization of tabs should be consistent. Subjects and formats should not be mixed. For example, if one has an Education guide and one tab is “Educational Psychology” and another “Journal Articles” students may be confused how to find an article on educational psychology.

Adding & Editing Tabs