You guys are awesome, this is great stuff, really helpful. My impression of
libguides has been fairly negative for many of the reasons mentioned, but
Sean has a good point about content strategy and training, and Wilhemina
has a good point about the costs of open source not always being
Has anyone tried the two platforms Andrew Darby mentioned, SubjectsPlus and
Library a la Carte? That's the sort of thing I've been looking for but
never found until now.
On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:57 PM, Sean Hannan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Again, this not a technical issue. It's a content strategy issue.
> CSS hacks to try to prevent people from getting creative with color. I was
> getting to the point of setting up Capybara tests to run against the guides
> to alert me to abusive uses of bold and italics.
> The folks creating guides are content people, not web people. Take the web
> out of it. Focus on the content. Pick a couple heuristics to educate them
> (we picked 7 +/- 2, above the fold/below the fold, and F-shaped reading
> patterns). Above all, show them statistics. And not the built-in LibGuides
> stats, either.
> New vs. returning. Average time on page. Pageviews over the course of a
> year. Very, very, very quickly our librarians realized what content is
> important, what content is superfluous, and that the time the spend
> carefully manicuring and maintaining their guides would (and could) be
> better spent elsewhere.
> On 8/12/13 9:35 AM, "Joshua Welker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > I just have to say I have been thinking the exact same thing about
> > for the two years I've been using it. I feel vindicated knowing others
> > 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
> > principle I can think of. There have been several studies on "tab
> > in LibGuides, and don't get me started on the sub-tab links that are
> > 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
> > 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
> > when LibGuides allows guide creators to modify every element on the page
> > 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
> > Internet. I tried to enforce uniform colors and column sizes across all
> > guides, but I was told to let it go because my coworkers wanted to be
> > 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
> > 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
> > website.
> > Okay, sorry for the rant. It has been building up for several years and
> > never had a chance to voice out.
> > Josh Welker
> > Information Technology Librarian
> > James C. Kirkpatrick Library
> > University of Central Missouri
> > Warrensburg, MO 64093
> > JCKL 2260
> > 660.543.8022
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> > Robert Sebek
> > 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!"
> >> Shudder
> >> 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?
> >> ~heather
> >> 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
> > that someone will have to recreate all those database entries (literally
> > hundreds) and then maintain those entries. When presented with this,
> > 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.
> > 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
> > hundreds of links on each tab. Overwhelm the patron with links--who
> > 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
> > will use it, since they will just Google these resources anyway).
> > --
> > Robert Sebek
> > Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries
> > (http://www.lib.vt.edu/)