LibGuides from Springshare

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A social space where librarians can exchange ideas about LibGuides is called "The SpringShare Lounge"
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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, February 2018


See also Academic libraries 2.0 | Digital liaison | Mentoring in academic libraries | Scholarship 2.0 | Subject librarian 2.0 | Teaching library users

LibGuides, a web-based product of SpringShare, is an easy to use content management system used by thousands of libraries worldwide. Librarians use it to curate knowledge and share information by creating online Guides on any topic, subject, course, trend or process. University of Minnesota Libraries developed LibGuides which was migrated to Drupal, an open-source software product, in 2007. LibGuides follows the software-as-a-service model where providers license applications to customers for use as a service on demand. Subscription prices are based on institutional FTEs and allow for the creation of unlimited numbers of pathfinders and guides. Currently, there is no limit on the number of subject librarians who can use the system. Additional modules, custom domain mapping, and other premium features are available for a fee.

Academic libraries in North America began to design their own LibGuides platform in 2012. Two open source (OS) tools used for this purpose were LibData and SubjectsPlus. Both OS tools are based on PHP and MySQL, and require special coding skills to be used successfully. Both tools can be deployed to meet the needs of academic libraries. SubjectsPlus was developed at the Ithaca College Library and can be downloaded for free. A few examples of its look and feel are made available by individual libraries using SubjectsPlus. Some good training materials are available via the SubjectsPlus wiki.

Users share information about SubjectsPlus via the Google Group <> and about LibGuides via the LibGuides blog. According to Sonsteby (2013), most users struggled with the use of LibGuides when "...encountering jargon, inconsistent language, and visual clutter." Based on their findings, they recommended usability testing of subject guides and the creation of a style guide to help librarians create usable, accessible guides.

Pros & cons of LibGuides from Springshare

  • LibGuides from Springshare is designed for libraries
  • its interface is easy to use; remotely managed, maintained and supported; write-once, remix
  • indispensable in maintaining or updating your guides; a great platform for bibliographic instruction
  • useful for aggregating resources, databases and other information where users can find it
  • little or no coding is required on LibGuides for most functions; boxes are individually editable via WYSIWYG editor or as plain text box if you need custom HTML
  • main part of LibGuides works like a wiki; it's easy to add content and make it look professional and web-ready
  • Web 2.0 features
  • LibGuides is about library 2.0 and more "social" experiences
  • LibGuides brings 2.0 to your library in an easy format; 2.0 technologies are accessible for librarians of any skill level
  • LibGuides integrates with web 2.0 tools; librarians can use the technologies students are using
  • Mobile accessible
  • More and more students use mobile devices
  • LibGuides can be adapted to mobile usage by following best practices
  • LibGuides automatically detects mobile usage and adjusts to fit device
  • Distribute content & services
  • LibGuides enables you to distribute library content and services outside library websites
  • Content published in LibGuides is available on Facebook; widgets enable embedding onto blogs, courseware systems, etc.
  • Twitter integration means you promote guides on Twitter, leading to increased exposure and use of resources
  • Extensible platform, powerful API
  • LibGuides comes with a set of API functions so you mix and match content
  • Using the remote script content you can display any outside content and scripts in your guides
  • With multiple API calls and methods display LibGuides content on your other library applications
  • LibGuides can be your all-in-one content platform, yet can be displayed on other web app/web pages
  • Hosted but customizable
  • LibGuides is hosted so servers, infrastructure, data backups are elsewhere; customized systems are available and you customize your domain (with optional custom domain mapping); system is customizable, adjust the stylesheets and look to match your branding
  • Increased reference usage
  • LibGuides helps to improve communication channels; by embedding web chat and instant message clients in guides, reference services can increase dramatically; users prefer having their research information displayed inside LibGuides, and like being able to ask questions right from the system. This is one of the ways LibGuides is putting the librarian back in the online library.
  • LibGuides Community
  • a license means you are part of a community of member institutions via Springshare Lounge; members share information, tips, best practices, etc. benefits thru LibGuides content in our network (100,000+ guides at 1,500+ libraries). A business librarian can see what other business librarians are creating and get idea for their own guides; use templates and content from existing busines guides, and collaborate with other librarians
  • LibGuides provides good customer support
  • SpringShare products work well; when there is a question or if you need help with something - they can help; 1,000+ libraries on board and we share our customer list
  • Partnering
  • LibGuides is setting new standards for how library vendors work with libraries
  • web 2.0 products have set new standards for library software, software-as-a-service and more social media integration
  • On LibGuides, there's a vibrant user community (and a dedicated community website, The Springshare Lounge) to share ideas, tips, best practices, feature requests, etc.

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