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LibGuides Standards and Best Practices


Course Guides


Guidelines for course guides, because of the narrowly focused audiences, must be considerably more flexible in design and style than any other pages. The principle focus should be on providing resources and instruction for a particular course, in consultation with faculty; however, because course guides are also linked on portal pages, and some people outside the course will inevitably use them, authors should also make an effort to adhere to general design principles to ensure some consistency with the rest of the site.

Tips for Course Guides


If there is a relevant research guide determine if is there enough new and unique content to justify a course guide.

Profile box

It is essential to have a profile box with the appropriate subject specialist on all course guides. It might also be relevant to add details of other subject specialists who might assist (especially for cross disciplinary topics).

Instructor Collaboration

It is important to work carefully with the course instructor. Make sure that you obtain a copy of the course syllabus first.

Guide Title

The title of the course guide should correspond closely to that of the course, and should include the course number.

Citation Style/Tools

If a major assignment for the course is a research paper, consider including a tab/box on the appropriate bibliographic citation style and/or tools.

Alternatives to Course Guides

While LibGuides is a great platform for creating and publishing content it may not always be the best medium for publishing course guides. 

If any of the following is true for your use case then you should consider alternatives to LibGuides:

  • Content will have a limited audience (a specific classroom, or professor).
  • Content is ephemeral or time sensitive.
  • You need something produced quickly and not worthy of the entire publication workflow.

Some popular alternatives include:

  • Google Docs
  • adding content directly to Canvas

These alternatives allow you to limit who can see the content, and guarantee that the content will never get stale. Also, these alternatives make it easy to create web accessible content with their built-in creation tools.

Lifecycle of a Course Guide

Course guides should only be published/public for the duration of the course. This usually means through the semester the course is being offered. Course guides can become stale quickly, and leaving them untouched outside the duration of the course may prove to be more problematic than beneficial.