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LibGuides: FSU Standards & Evolving Practice

Shared goals for creating learner-centered research guides at FSU Libraries.

Databases

The LibGuides platform includes several types of assets, or resources that you might add to your guide. These include Databases, Links, Books from the Catalog, and Widgets among others.

The database asset type appears superficially similar to links, however these two asset types are distinct.

  • Database assets come from a central LibGuides A-Z Database List which, in turn, contains all of the databases from the FSU Libraries Website's database list.
  • Database assets are centrally managed, so if a URL changes, it only needs to be changed once on the A-Z Database List. This will update the URL across all instances on the system.
  • Database assets provide superior usage statistics, counting clicks both from your guide and from the entire system. Link assets don't do this.
  • Databases are further categorized and searchable by subject association, type, and vendor, and may be designated as "best bets" for a subject area.

As of May 2021, the LibGuides database list is managed manually and independently from the FSU Libraries Website Database List. If, for any reason, the available databases in the LibGuides A-Z Database List do not match those available on the website, send in an RT ticket to WebDev.

Links

Links are the most flexible asset type in the LibGuides platform. However, they require the most maintenance. Links to external sources can break at any time and must be kept up to date.

Reuse your Links

  • If you link to the same sites from several of your LibGuides, creating a new Link Asset for every page creates more work when you need to change or update information about that Link. If you reuse your Link Assets, you do not need to create a new description and grab a URL when you link to a site or resource you've linked to before.
  • If you reuse an asset, you can more easily and reliably gather statistics and information on how often that asset is being used. 

Use the Link Checker

  • Springshare provides a built-in Link Checker (under Tools in the main LibGuides menu).
  • Run the Link Checker twice a year to keep your guides fresh and functional.

Open Access

Consider differentiating between Open Access resources and those that are paid for by FSU Libraries (or other university departments) and are therefore restricted to current FSU affiliates.

Books from the Catalog

Adding books with the Books from the Catalog asset type can be a way to add visual interest and variety to your guides. This asset type supports images of book covers, call numbers, and links that can either go to the catalog or a direct link to an ebook platform.

  • Book assets should be used sparingly, especially links to print books. Research Guides are an online tool and asynchronous learning platform. Introducing print materials not available through the guide can be confusing and frustrating to users.
  • Books from the Catalog assets are rarely clicked on. There are 7,046 Books from the Catalog currently on FSU Research Guides. Between July 1, 2020 and March 25, 2021, only 614 books (less than 9%) were clicked on at least once.

In Summer 2021, FSU Libraries will migrate to a new ILS. This means every link to the current catalog (Aleph/Mango) or discovery layer (EDS/OneSearch) will break and must be replaced with links to the new discovery tool (Primo VE). Before you attempt to replace every link, ask the following:

  • How long has this book been on the guide? Is it still current and relevant?
  • Does having this book on my research guide contribute to the guide's learning objectives?
  • Would instruction on how to search for relevant books be more effective here than providing a selection of individual book titles?

Ebooks

Ebooks should link directly to the ebook platform rather than a catalog or discovery layer record. This provides users with immediate access to the content.

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