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May 19, 2010


Slaven Zivkovic

Hello Brian,

Slaven Zivkovic, from Springshare (LibGuides) here. Thanks for writing about LibGuides, and to answer your question, *we are working on it* (i.e. making LibGuides better suited to serve as a library website). You can expect some exciting features in that regard by the end of the year, and rest assured we share the same vision. What you see right now in LibGuides is just the tip of the iceberg - we have big plans for the LibGuides platform!


Good post Brian - lots to think about here.I don't think I mentioned that LGs should replace websites. I might have pointed you to a library that did. Can't quite remember who that was. I do believe that LGs can be part of a strategy to re-distribute links to content from the homepage to other spaces where student are - and change the nature of the homepage. But I think if you want to have something basic the LG could work. Interesting to hear from Slaven as I believe what he has to say about LGs - there is more to come.


Ok. Colby College is the one I was thinking of. They did make a library website out of a LG.


Ever seen this? Maybe it's what I mentioned to you.



I think you have an interesting idea but I have to ask what problem it would really be fixing?

It seems to me that implementing LibGuides as a CMS is more out of laziness than meeting an opportunity. What you suggest can - and is- being done with Drupal and with WordPress; as you know, two open source CMSs that require much less financially than LibGuides. Like you mentioned, there are some up-front development costs in terms of developing an understanding of the system. This cannot be denied. But with enough R&D I would guarantee that Drupal and WordPress could both be excellent competitors with more attached freedoms at a lesser cost.

I find it difficult to understand, especially in these tough economic times even for academic libraries, how pay-for products like what Springshare and others offer are touted so heavily when there are free solutions available. I've said this to Slaven and about LibGuides before: It's not that it's not a good product, it is.

A cookie cutter approach to library website design does two things (at least): 1) it takes away the freedom to design a site that through organizational and stylistic choices represents the library more fully than a standard theme and 2) removes important skills sets from librarians (i.e. overall information architecture, customized UX needs, et al.) when in administration of their web environments. Additionally, you become controlled by a single company.

Emphasizing course guides as content and their authors as the human face to libraries is something that I do agree with you on. Make them easy to develop. Make them easy to customize. Make them modular. All of these are key tenets of your discussion.

But I think we'd have more to lose than we would to gain.

Great discussion and thanks for me leading me to Bell's piece, somehow I missed it.

~Kyle Jones~

Talia Resendes

Hey Brian,

Johnson & Wales University Providence is currently investigating this and I have made several steps towards transforming our LibGuides site into our library website, the next step is changing the URL: http://jwu-ri.libguides.com

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will manley

Brian, a thought provoking post. Keep on blogging. I always learn a lot from you. Congrats on the milestone

Rebecca Tolley-Stokes

we've contemplated this idea at our library. i especially like seeing libguides used for more creative purposes like the ones you mentioned, in particular the professional profiles. thanks for sharing the links and your predictions. you saw the Zombie survival libguide @ UF? http://libguides.uflib.ufl.edu/zombie


Pretty nice post.In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon! I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.


I actually am migrating my portion of the website into libguides. Of course, I work for one of the institutions you mentioned (GVSU), so we are big fans of LibGuides. As someone who isn't really talented at web design, but is in charge of a chunk of the website - it's a godsend.


Well, I guess the next question is with Google, LibGuides, Ebsco, and whatever your expensive ILS is who needs an academic library anyway and if you still have one...I have to ask why do you?

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Hey Brian,
Thanks for sharing this excellent collection of websites.

Dianne White

Sometimes, we reach the point where we need to redesign our website because of such reason. It is true that website design can catch your potential clients' attention, but if your website is less visible to SERP, I don't think that you can gain traffic. Some SMEs use effective SEO (Orange County) strategies to have an effective online marketing. In Orange County, SEO techniques are very essential to most business establishments.


Comparing the cost of getting web hosting and installing Drupal (which is free, and has many of the same features), getting libguides is not a good idea. Even compared to hiring someone to set up a Drupal site (if you can't do that yourself) libguides is too costly for what it is. Webhosts don't even have FTE rates-- Why would they? They're hosting websites! But libguides is more or less a webhost itself.

Ideally, a library should be keeping its own content on its own website, rather than paying a different website to be its website. That is part of a much larger problem if so many libraries cannot get their needs met on their own domains.

John Baldwin

Thanks for the info, Brian! I'm sure readers of this post will find this very useful in redesigning their own website. Coming from the social network design industry, redesigning will not just improve the look of your site, but might as well will help you gain profit too. There are also social network development strategies that will increase the potential of a certain website.

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I think the majority of bloggers today prefer using WordPress or Drupal as their Content Management System. I would like to emphasize more about the use of WordPress to gain traffic thru search engine optimization. IMO, one of the main advantages of using Wordpress as your blogging platform is that it can help you climb the Search results in less time than other CMS available today. Plus, you can integrate many SEO plugins in a Wordpress-powered blog for free.


I'm all for clean interfaces and creative uses of libguides. However, some of the incarnations I've seen of libguides-as-websites end up unduly text-heavy and labyrinthine (SO many tabs! tabs within tabs within tabs! literally hundreds) and, while librarians like the complete categorization of the site (we dig that sort of thing) I don't think it ends up being an intuitive interface for patrons when used as such. Now, I recognize that a few libraries do this well, but many do not and it's an endless eye sore that offers a metric ton of information, but actually communicates with patrons little. Why create yet another tab with tons of text - or worse, a useless tab with only a few lines of text - when you can roll your concept into a video, tutorial, or image? While I think it's possible to use libguides as CMS, it must be done artfully with an emphasis on minimalism in order to be navigable, aesthetically pleasing, and useful to the end user. Just because you can have another tab, doesn't mean you should.

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The great thing with Content Management System is that it lessens the time for website update and allows us to launch new pages with simple steps unlike traditional coding. CMS is also SEO friendly.

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