At my previous institution, I struggled with the same issues as you (and
probably most libguides administrators that have a large number of people
creating guides). The only really positive experience that I have had was
a fairly time consuming one.
Every year, I sat down with each content creators to talk through the
goals of their individual libguides, the specific problems I saw with
their libguides, the usage statistics for those guides and the amount of
time they were putting into the guides themselves. I also had support
from administration that the guidelines would be enforced or the guides
would be removed. Having that conversation with the data to back it up
helped the librarians see why those things were issues and where they
might be wasting their time. It worked better than a large meeting
because we could talk about their specific case. When I first starting
having these conversations, many of the librarians didn't realize
understand the full impact their design decisions were having on patrons
actually using these guides. For some librarians, I would also show them
a libguide from a subject area they were not familiar with similar design
problems to theirs so they could experience what their user might be
experiencing with their guide.
Although it was not universal and there are still problems like you
described below, these problems are significantly smaller than they were.
LibGuides biggest strength and weakness is ease of creation. Anyone can
create, but creating *good* content for the web is hard.
Emily King, MSLS
Digital Services Librarian
CSN Library Services
On 9/24/14 9:56 AM, "Joshua Welker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>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.