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Introduction to LibGuides


Your First Guide

An introductory guide to the basic features of LibGuides v2.


The following exercise is intended to introduce many of the new features of LibGuides v2 through the process of creating a simple personal guide. This exercise is a demonstration of a basic guide creation workflow and basic practices in how a guide should be configured. 

This exercise should follow the following overall steps

  • Set the initial guide options
  • Add content to your guide
  • Customize your guide

Feel free to go beyond the instructions of this exercise and explore additional asset types, box types and content. This is your sandbox guide so there is no harm in changing settings, reordering everything and even finding bugs! (Let us in Systems know if find any bugs, of course!)

Set Initial Guide Options

Guides menu option found under the Content menu

There are two ways to create a new guide. The first is through the LibGuides Dashboard shortcuts box. The other is through the LibGuides Universal Command Bar under the Content menu drop down. 


You will be presented with a page listing all of your guides. If you don't haven't created any guides then the list will be blank, of course. Click the "+ Create Guide" button that is near the top of the page and then you will be redirected to a Create Guide page with several guide options.

Create new guide options

We'll use the following options for this short example.

Group Assignment - This determines what group style gets applied to the guide. Select "Research guides" to use the new style. (The Group Assignment drop down box is scrollable even though a scrollbar may not appear in the browser window.)

NB: This group assigns the current Boston College Library style to your guide. The group assignment setting can be changed later.

Apply a Template - Leave as Start Fresh for now as we want to start without any resued content or layouts.

Copy an Existing Guide - Don't select this option.

Guide Name - Use a memorable name for this example guide, something like "[my name]'s Test Guide"

Short Description - Type "This is my example practice guide and I will be sure to keep this guide unpublished." into this box.

Password - Leave blank. If you wanted to password protect your guide then this is where you'd set the password. 

Guide Type - Leave as the default "General Purpose". This is only used for organizational purposes.

Sharing Restriction - Leave unchecked. 


Click the "Create Guide" button and you will be presented with an empty guide that resembles the following.

Screen shot of a newly created guide


Preview button At any time during this exercise you can see a preview of how this guide would appear to the public (if it were published) by clicking the eye icon in the guide toolbar found in the upper right area of the page. This will open a preview version of your guide in a new window.

Add Content to Your Guide

At this first step, you should have a new guide with an 3-column template layout. A profile box has been automatically placed in the right-most column.

1. Click on the "Add Top Box" link that is shown on the long horizontal dashed box at the top of the content area. Add a Box Name such as "My Top Box" when prompted. Leave the box Type as "Standard" and leave the Draft Mode checkbox unchecked. Click "Save" to apply your changes.

Adding a new top level box

sample empty box

You will be presented with an empty box labeled with the title you gave it.

NB: The example shown here has been edited to remove much of the width of the box. The actual top box will extend the whole length of the page.


2. Click the "Add/Reorder" button and select "Rich Text/HTML" from the drop down menu. You will next be presented with a text editor modal window. There are a number of rich text editing features present in this editor but for now type some plain text: "This is a top box and it will span across the entire width of this guide." Click "Save & Close" to apply the changes and close the text editor. 


3. Next, click on the "Add Box - Column 1" link. Name this box "My Column 1 Box" and leave as a standard box type. Add a new Rich Text/HTML and add more plain text: "This is the first column box and it will span across this column."


4. Try adding several boxes in different columns throughout your page or even multiple boxes in the same column. 

By this step, you should have a guide with a single page that contains at least two boxes and a top box that stretches across the width of the guide page. 

1. Next, you'll add a link asset to the top box (named "My Top Box"). For this, again click the "Add/Reorder" button and select "Link" from the drop down menu. From the popup modal window that appears, select the "Reuse Existing Link" tab and then click on the "Search for Link" search box that appears below it. 

This is an auto complete box that limits the results it displays the more you type into it. Type in "Boston College Facts" to limit to a single result. It should look like the following.

NB: As of this writing there should only a single instance of this link asset. If there are multiple instances then select the one that shows "Jesse Martinez" as the Owner.

Add a reused link to a box

2. Click "Save" to add this mapped link asset to your guide. 

The top box will now contain two pieces of content in the same box: a Rich Text/HTML piece and a Link asset piece. Since there are two content pieces in this box there are two edit buttons displayed (Edit content button) -- one for each content piece.

NB: This screenshot has been altered to fit this box -- it will look significantly wider in your guide.

Updated box with link asset

By this step, you should have a guide with a single page that contains at least two boxes and a top box that stretches across the width of the guide page. This top box should have some text and a link to the Boston College Facts page.

Edit content piece within a box

1. Next, you'll add an Image asset to the smaller column box (named "My Column 1 Box"). For this, you'll want to edit the existing Rich Text/HTML content there. Click on the pencil in a box button and select "edit" from the drop down menu. This will bring up the familiar text editor modal window.


Text editor with image icon highlighted2. From the editor, start a new line (hit the enter key a few times) and then click the image button, which looks like a small framed mountain background. 

A Image Properties modal window will appear. Click the "Browse Server" button to bring up the Image Manager window.

Image Properties modal window 


Add shared library image asset into guide

3. From the Image Manager window click on the "Shared Library" button. You will be presented with the image asset library that is shared with all of Boston College Libraries. To select an image asset, look for the button that resembles a mountain range (Image select button). By clicking on that button you will insert that image asset's metadata into the Image Properties modal window.

NB: Browsing the Image Library from within the context of editing a guide gives a slightly different set of options. Browsing the Image Library from the LibApps Universal Command Bar will not show the image button.


4. The Image Properties modal window will now update with the image asset's metadata. Before clicking the "OK" button to insert the image asset into the text editor modal window, consider adding alternative text.

Filled out Image Properties

Add new page buttonFor this final step, you'll add a second page to your guide.

1. To add additional pages to your guide click the large plus symbol button found below the left-hand navigation. 

An "Add / Reuse Page" modal window will appear. Give the new page a name like "Second Page" and a description like "This is the second page of my demo guide." You should leave the other options at their default values.

Click "Save" to apply the changes.

You will then be presented with an empty page similar to what you saw when you first created the guide. 

Second page in new guide

2. From here on feel free to add additional boxes, content, image or link assets and even pages to this demo guide. Be sure to leave your guide unpublished so that it doesn't become public or indexed by search engines!

Customize Your Guide

Edit the Guide Name

You can change the guide name from "[my name]'s Test Guide to something slightly different. To do this, click on the blue dashed underlined title text. There will be a small popup field where you make the title change. Change the title to "[my name]'s Demo Guide". Click the checkmark button to save the change.


Edit the Guide Description

The Guide's description text can be changed in the same manner. Click on the blue dashed underlined text to activate the small popup field. Change the guide's description to "This is my demo guide and I will be sure to keep this guide unpublished." Click the checkmark button to save the change.

Change guide description text


Set the Guide Friendly URL

Adding a friendly URL is a nice way to create an easy to remember link to your guide. This can be set by clicking on the small pencil icon next to the URL string (something that looks like{numbers}).

Setting a guide's friendly URL

A friendly URL should be short yet descriptive enough to quickly describe the content of your guide. It should only contain alphanumeric characters, dashes and underscore characters. Spaces in the friendly URL are strongly discouraged since they get encoded into a machine readable format, %20, which is not very human readable. Capitalized letters are unnecessary in URLs so avoid using them. 

Add a friendly URL that resembles "[my name]-demo-guide" and click the "Save" button to apply the changes.

Subjects and tagging

It's possible to assign Boston College specific subject tags as well as custom user generated tags to a guide from the Subjects and Tags pencil icons. We won't add any tags in this exercise as to not pollute the system's list of tags. 

Each page in a guide can be customized and reordered through the set of options found on the top light-gray bar that is just above the left-side navigation.

Page options menu bar



Edit a Page's Title and description

A page's title (also called "name" in other instances) and description can be changed by clicking on the "Page" button (Page button) and selecting "Title/Description" from the drop down menu. A modal window will appear where the page title and description can be edited.

  • Change the title for the "Home" page to "Other Resources" and its description to "This is a collection of other resources."
  • Change the title for the "Second Page" page to "Primary Resources" and its description to "This is a collection of primary resources."

Click "Save" to apply changes.


Set a Page's Friendly URL

A page's friendly URL can be edited by clicking on the pencil icon next to the Page URL label. This is much like how the guide's friendly URL is set. What you will notice is that a page's friendly URL will already contain the friendly URL of the guide. This indicates that a page is a subset, or child, of a guide. 

  • Set the friendly URL for the "Other Resources" (neé "Home") page to "other-resources".
  • Set the friendly URL for the "Primary Resources" (neé "Second Page") page to "primary-resources".

Set the page's friendly URL

Page column layoutLibGuides has a few column layout configurations to help organize the placement of boxes on a page. By default, the layout you will see when creating a guide is a 3-column with a 25 / 50 / 25 page width. Those numbers are percentages of the entire page width.


Change a Page's Column Layout

Try changing the layout of your "Other Resources" page by clicking on the "Layout" button (Layout button) and switching to a 2-column 50 / 50 layout. You should see that the "My Column 1 Box" and profile box now each take up half the width of the page.

This 2-column layout hides the third column and anything that may have been placed in that column now gets automatically pushed over to the second column. For instance, your profile box was originally placed in the third column but has now been pushed to the second column. 

Also note that the "My Top Box" box did not change in size or width when changing the column layout. This is because the top box is always at 100% page width. 

Try changing to various other column layouts and see how the boxes in the page change in appearance. A 1-column layout makes each box 100% of the page width while the 4-column layout crams all the column content into 25% page widths.

It is possible to reorder boxes into other columns and this is covered in the last part of this exercise.

Moving Boxes

Select a page that has a good number of boxes, for instance the "Other Resources" page. Click the "Page" button (Page button) and select "Boxes" from the drop down menu. You will be presented with a modal window that has a representation of the columns and boxes in your page layout. For instance, this screenshot shows a page representation that has a 2-column layout with three boxes. 

Reorder boxes

In the Reorder / Move Boxes modal window, you can visually move the boxes from column to another by clicking and dragging a box to a new column. Try moving the Subject Guide box (your profile box) over to Column 1. You should see that the Subject Guide box is now placed in Column 1.

Click the "Save" button and you will be able to see that the profile box is now placed below the "My Column 1 Box" box in the first column.

NB: If you can't seem to get the boxes to move while clicking and dragging them around then try refreshing the browser window or tab. If that doesn't work try this activity in a new browser. 



Reordered boxes in Column 1Reordering Boxes

Once again, click the "Page" button and select "Boxes" from the drop down menu. This time you will reorder the Subject Guide box so it is placed above the My Column 1 Box. Click and drag the Subject Guide box so that it nudges the My Column 1 Box down a space. Releasing your cursor from the Subject Guide box will place the box in that position. 

Click the "Save" button and you will be able to see that the profile box is now placed above the "My Column 1 Box" box in the first column.


Reordered pagesReordering Pages

Click the "Page" button and select "Pages" from the drop down menu. You will see a modal window that looks similar to the Reorder / Move Boxes modal window. The same click and drag interface is used here to reorder the pages. In this modal window, though, you'll be presented with a carat triangle icon that displays where you are dragging the page. Be careful when you drag the pages though. It is possible to mistakenly place a page as a sub-page of another.

Reorder the pages so that "Primary Sources" is placed above "Other Resources". Click the "Save" button and you will will see that "Primary Sources" is places above "Other Resources" in the left-hand navigation menu.