Should you make a LibGuide?

  • Does a guide on this topic already exist at Harvard? Unless you are coming at that topic from a different angle, there is no need for multiple guides on the same topic. We encourage you to reach out and collaborate with other librarians to reduce duplication.

  • Is this information best suited as a LibGuide? Think about whether or not the content you would put in the guide would actually be more useful to researchers as an FAQ in Ask a Librarian, an Open Scholar site, a page in Canvas, or content on your library's website. 

Be Clear and to the Point: Write for an online audience

  • List resources in order of importance rather than alphabetically, students usually use the resources listed first.
  • Try to limit lists to 5 items or less. Users appreciate a short, curated list of items. This is especially true of guides designed for novice researchers.

  • Database descriptions should be short and not contain library jargon.

  • Use the same language as the Harvard Library Portal for a consistent user experience.

    • Database instead of e-resources or indexes.

    • Journal or magazine instead of serial or periodical.

  • Test your content. Ask members of your target audience to read your content and tell you if it is meaningful and understandable.

  • Use active voice and action verbs.

  • Use familiar language.

Copying & Pasting Tip
  • Copying content from Word? Use the Paste from Word  icon in LibGuides' Rich Text/HTML editor to strip out extra formatting. Links, Headings, Bold, and Italic will be preserved.
  • Copying from rich text content in LibGuides? Use the Remove Format  icon in LibGuides' Rich Text/HTML editor to strip out formatting. Links will be preserved.

Take Credit for Your Work: Let them (and us!) know who you are

All guides should indicate to users the name of the librarian who owns the guide along with a photo and contact information. Usability tests have shown that students see the attribution of a guide to an expert librarian as an indication of the quality of the guide.

One way to do this is to create a profile box. To edit your profile:

Click on your email address in the right corner of the page.

Click on My Profile at the top of the page.


To add the Profile Box to your guide:

Click on Add Box in the left navigation, choose profile box, and click save.


Where Do You Want Users to Search First?: Using (or not using) widgets

Usability tests show that students like to get started searching right away and will often type in any available search box before browsing. They also show that students have no problem finding HOLLIS+ on their own. If the other content in the guide is more important than a HOLLIS+ or other search boxes, it's unnecessary to include HOLLIS+ or other search boxes at all.

Common widgets for Harvard LibGuides include:

HOLLIS Basic Search

Click the Add / Reorder button and choose Media / Widget. Click the Reuse Existing Widget tab and search for HOLLIS+ Basic. You can use the widget as is. Click the Save button to add it to your guide.

EBSCO Search

EBSCO Search Box Builder

Some vendor widgets may require indicating the URL Prefix for our proxy server -

Proquest Search

ProQuest Search Widget

Some vendor widgets may require indicating the URL Prefix for our proxy server -