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LibGuides: FSU Standards & Evolving Practice

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

Layout & Style

While LibGuides is a highly flexible platform, using a standard layout can help to create a seamless experience for users. A unified experience is more user friendly. For this reason, all FSU guides should:

  • Use Left-side navigation.
    • "FSU Standard Template" (menu + two colums) or "System Default - Side-Nav Layout" (menu + one column).
  • Include only as many pages and subpages as necessary.
  • Use the correct asset types (Books from the Catalog for books, Databases for databases, etc.).
    • Assets enable statistics. In other words, clicks to Database, Link, and Book Assets will be counted. URLs embedded in Rich Text Editors will not be counted in statistics, nor will the Link Checker tool be able to see and test them.
  • Link out to other sources rather than including too much information within the guide itself.
  • Be concise.
  • Adhere to the FSU Web Style Guide.

Assign a Guide Type

Select the correct guide type when creating a Research Guide. Guide types can later be used to sort guides and in analytics.

  • General Purpose guides are for academic skills or methods (e.g. Citation) or special information formats (e.g. Newspapers) that transcend subjects, topics, or courses.
  • Subject Guides are top level guides for a specific discipline of study (e.g. Anthropology, Nursing).
  • Topic Guides are used for topics that might fall under various subjects, but are not tied to a single course. These guides may be interdisciplinary in nature.
  • Course Guides may be created for a specific course, especially when they address specific class assignments or learning objectives. Course guides should include the course number and course name in the guide title.
  • Internal guides are not publicly visible (i.e. they require a LibGuides account to be viewed). Internal guides are discouraged. Internal documentation should either be posted to the FSU Libraries' SharePoint or the FSU Libraries' Wiki.
  • In addition to the default templates provided in LibGuides, additional Template Guides can be created for creating multiple guides with very similar formats and information. Seek assistance from a LibGuides administrator before using this guide type.

Assign Subject Associations & Friendly URLs

Subject associations are an important part of organizing LibGuides. The Subject associations can be changed from within a research guide by clicking the edit icons for "Subjects" and/or "Tags" in the top navigation menu, just beneath the guide title. Select appropriate subjects from the list available. This is how the main Research Guide homepage is populated with guides by subject.

You may also add custom tags to improve your guide's discoverability.

Note: "Subject Specialties," the LibGuides term for Liaison or Subject Librarian subjects, are part of a Librarian's profile within LibGuides. These are separate from the Subjects we attach to individual guides.

To have a Subject Specialty added or removed, contact a LibGuides Admin. To view your current Subject Specialties, check your profile page.

Assigning friendly URLs to your guide and each guide page will also improve navigation and understanding. A friendly URL both carries meaning and is easier to share.

  • Bad URL:
  • Good URL:


The appearance of a LibGuide is by and large determined by default system settings. Various aspects are set using custom settings by LibGuides administrators. Other parts of the appearance can be changed. Within the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) rich text editor, various changes can be made to the style.  LibGuides editors should consider whether the changes being made are beneficial to the end user or are distracting and unnecessary.

Want to get fancy? Are you comfortable with HTML code? Bob Smith at West Texas A&M University has a great guide:

Font Awesome

Font Awesome provides a collection of scalable icons to include in your page almost 700 icons to choose from.

LibGuides are already set up with Font Awesome functionality, using version 4.7.0 of Font Awesome. To see a list of all available icons click the following link

To include a Font Awesome icon, navigate to the link given above, copy the HTML for the desired icon, switch the rich text editor to "Source" button and paste the code into the editor.

<i aria-hidden="true" class="fa fa-book fa-3x"></i> is displayed as

For additional information about how to use Font Awesome, visit their documentation:

Note: the aria-hidden="true" attribute causes the icon to be invisible to accessibility tools. This is used for purely decorative elements that screen readers and other assistive technologies should ignore.

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