I just have to say I have been thinking the exact same thing about LibGuides
for the two years I've been using it. I feel vindicated knowing others feel
the same way.
At UCMO, we will be migrating to Drupal in the next several months, and I am
hoping very much that I can convince people to use less LibGuides.
LibGuides is great in its ease of use, but fails on just about every design
principle I can think of. There have been several studies on "tab blindness"
in LibGuides, and don't get me started on the sub-tab links that are hiding
and require the user to mouse over a tab to even see what is there. I've
tried telling people so many times to have just a few tabs and always to use
a table of contents for the main page, but they rarely do. And it becomes
just about impossible to have a consistent look and feel across your website
when LibGuides allows guide creators to modify every element on the page as
they see fit. People will do crazy things like putting page content in a
sidebar element, something you'd never ever ever see on any website on the
Internet. I tried to enforce uniform colors and column sizes across all the
guides, but I was told to let it go because my coworkers wanted to be able
to decide those things on a guide-by-guide basis.
I've worked at two institutions that use LibGuides, and what inevitably
happens is that librarians create one Uber Guide for entire subject areas
(biology, religion, etc) and then create sub-pages for all the dozens of
specific disciplines within those subject areas. And then, assuming the user
somehow manages to find these pages, they are typically not much more than a
list of links that could have easily been included on the main library
Okay, sorry for the rant. It has been building up for several years and
never had a chance to voice out.
Information Technology Librarian
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:21 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides: I don't get it
On Sun, Aug 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM, Heather Rayl <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I have to say that I loathe LibGuides. My library makes extensive use
> of them, too. Need a web solution? The first thing out of someone's
> mouth is "Let's put it in a LibGuide!"
> This fall, I'll be moving our main site over to Drupal, and I'm hoping
> that eventually I can convince people to re-invent their LibGuides
> there. I can use the "saving money" card, and the "content silos are
> bad" card and
> *maybe* I will be successful.
> Anyone fought this particular battle before?
> I'm fighting that battle right now. We have an excellent CMS into
> which I
have set up all our database URLs, descriptions, etc.Anytime we need to
refer to a database on a page, we use one of those entries. That database
just changed platforms? No problem. I change the URL in one place and
everything automatically updates (hooray CMSs!).
All of our subject guides (http://www.lib.vt.edu/subject-guides/) are in the
CMS using the exact same database entries. I converted from our failing,
home-grown system into the CMS and then gave training on how to maintain
from there (remove an entry, add an entry, create a parallel course
guide)--using the same skills as maintaining any other web page that
librarian is responsible for. But apparently that's too hard.
So we have a trial of LibGuides. NO ONE here has created a guide from
scratch yet, but they all say this is going to be easy. No one will admit
that someone will have to recreate all those database entries (literally
hundreds) and then maintain those entries. When presented with this, several
librarians said--oh that won't be necessary, we'll just create individual
entries as needed on individual guides. WHAT?!
If implemented, we'll have hundreds and hundreds of entries, any of which
could be out of date and nonfunctional, with no easy way to find and fix,
other than waiting for patrons to complain that the link doesn't work. Ugh.
All for several thousand dollar a year (as opposed for free in the CMS).
And yes, those librarians' favorite example libguides have a dozen tabs with
hundreds of links on each tab. Overwhelm the patron with links--who cares!
Just let me recreate the Yahoo Directory I so miss with every possible
resource I can find online. Half those links don't work next semester?
Doesn't matter, as no one will ever maintain that page again (and no patron
will use it, since they will just Google these resources anyway).
Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries