I lol'ed several times reading your message. I feel the pain. Well, it is
nice to know I am not alone. You are right that this in particular is an
organizational problem and not a LibGuides problem. But unfortunately it
has been an organizational problem at both of the universities where I've
worked that use LibGuides, and it sounds like it is a problem at many
other libraries. I'm not sure what it is about LibGuides that brings out
the most territorial and user-marginalizing aspects of the librarian
Does anyone have any positive experience in dealing with this? I am on the
verge of just manually enforcing good standards even though it will create
a lot of enmity. LibGuides CMS has a publishing workflow feature that
would force all guide edits to be approved by me so that I could stamp
this stuff out each time it happens.
To enforce, or not to enforce, that is the question--
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageously poor usability,
Or to take arms against a sea of ugly guides,
And by forcing compliance with standards and best practices, end them?
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav
> 4. Admin controls are not very granular. With most aspects of editing
> a guide, you either have the option of locking down styles and
> templates completely (and oh your colleagues will howl) or allowing
> everything (and oh your eyeballs will scream). Some of these things
> could very well be improved in the future, and some probably will not.
This! My librarians have successfully resisted every attempt to impose
any kind of standardization. Visual guidelines? Nope. Content
guidelines? Nope. Standard system settings? Nope. Anything less than
100% free reign appears to be anathema to them.
The result, predictably, is chaos. Our guides run the gamut. We have
- Giant walls of text that no one ever reads.
- Lovingly crafted lists of obscure library sources that rarely (if
ever) bear any relation to what the patron is actually trying to do.
- A thriving ecosystem of competing labels. Is it "Article Indexes",
"Article Databases", just plain "Databases", or something more exotic?
Depends which apex predator rules this particular neck of the jungle.
- Green text on pink backgrounds with maroon borders. Other pages in the
same guide might go with different, equally eye-twisting color schemes.
I'm not even sure how he's doing that without access to the style sheet,
but he's probably taught himself just enough HTML to mangle things in an
effort to use "friendly" colors.
- Some guides have three or even FOUR rows of tabs. With drop-down
submenus on most of them, naturally.
- A few are nicely curated and easy to use, but they're in a distinct
I've tried. I've pushed peer-reviewed usability studies at them. I've
reported on conference sessions explaining exactly why all these things
are bad. I've brought them studies of our own analytics. I've had
students sit down and get confused in front of them. Nothing has gotten
through, and being the only web type at the library, I'm outnumbered.
Just the thought of it makes me supremely tired.
I'm sorry if this has digressed. LibGuides is not at fault, really.
It's an organizational problem. LibGuides just seems to be the flash
point for it.