Regarding Library a La Carte, active development has been taken over by the folks over at LibraryH3lp. You can read their blog post at http://libraryh3lp.blogspot.com/2013/06/library-la-carte-resurrected-open.html. I'm not sure how much longer it'll be before it's a viable plug-in replacement again.
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of davesgonechina
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 7:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides: I don't get it
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 appreciated.
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.
> and 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 on (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/)