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LibGuides: FSU Standards & Evolving Practice

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

What is the Purpose of FSU Research Guides?

FSU Research Guides are for learners. Guides are not just for information sharing, but rather have a pedagogical function. They should have a primary audience, learning objectives, and help students with their research and information literacy skills in a specific context. The context of a Research Guide is typically one of the following: discipline, topic, course, or academic task (e.g. citation, literature review).

At FSU, research guides are maintained within Springshare's LibGuides product. Research Guides are also one of several elements in FSU Libraries' web presence. In addition to research guides, the following elements make up most of the FSU Libraries website for employee use and each has its own purpose.

  • FSU Libraries Website - The public website. Built with Drupal content management software. General information and information that is meant to be shared with the general public should be posted here.
  • FSU Libraries Wiki - The internal knowledge base. Built on the MediaWiki platform. A wiki for institutional documentation. Open to all library employees with no hidden pages or permission levels. Ideal for workflows and procedures.
  • SharePoint - The library intranet. Part of FSU's Microsoft Office 365. A document repository that also allows for granular permissions settings. Sites, pages, and documents can be made private. The best place to store documents for staff use.

What is Evolving Practice?

The original title of this guide was LibGuides: FSU Standards & Best Practices. Upon further reflection and based on feedback from colleagues, I realize that "best practices" implies there is one correct and superior way of doing something. An authentic pedagogy, however, cannot make such universal claims. In our instructional design and in our teaching, we must take into account the learners and their context. Therefore, instead of using the more common phrase "best practices," I have opted for "evolving practice," which I hope is a more open, flexible, and experimental framing. In this way we invite variation and experimentation in community with our learners, sharing ideas for effective LibGuides without making the claim that there is a single best way to design them.

How to Use This Guide

This guide describes the basic elements required of all published research guides of the FSU Libraries as well as tips for how to create successful, learner-centered guides. Use the standards and evolving practices provided to refresh existing guides or to create new ones. A rubric is provided to help you assess your guides before and after publication.

Recommended readings are provided on each page should you wish to explore the topic more deeply. Open access resources are listed first, followed by publications that require institutional subscription access.

New to LibGuides by Springshare?

Springshare, the company that produces LibGuides, provides a robust set of tutorials and documentation on their website. When logged in to the LibGuides platform, click Help in the top menu for access to tutorials and FAQs. Consider these pages to get you started:

You may also find helpful the excellent guides by Jesse Martinez at Boston College Libraries.

Major revisions and updates by Adam Beauchamp in 2021. An earlier version of this guide was authored by Michael Mohkamkar in 2019.
"Accessibility" and "Maintaining Your Guide" content adapted with permission from Jesse Martinez at Boston College Libraries.
Rubric for guide review inspired by the work of jamie ding at California Polytechnic State University, Robert E. Kennedy Library.


Except where otherwise noted, the content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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