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LibApps Directions for Staff

Making the most of Oakton Library's LibGuides & LibAnswers platforms

Subject Guide Expectations

LibGuide expectations as part of Reference/Instruction

1. Guide owners update Subject Guide

2. Include a profile box with real photo of librarian, contact info, email, appt booking on at least one page of guide (See info session below and LibApp Directions For Staff page). This might be on a “contact” or home page. 

 *If for any reason someone is wary of putting their personal photo on the guide, choose a professional photo of the Oakton library, Oakton library logo, or Oakton campus.

3. Complete Springshare videos/trainings:

4. Orient guides to the subject/department at Oakton

7. Link deeper into our resources and list specific and lesser-known titles/databases

  • Link directly (or embed) specific titles/films from Credo,Gale, Alexander Street Press etc.
  • Find lesser-known databases and include them along with subject-specific description
  • Look for new database assets from Becky and/or Sherrill and incorporate on a rolling basis 

8. Include list of related guides

9. Embed content from databases for visual and subject intro, for example a Credo mind map or excerpt, with instructions that patrons will need to login to see the content from off campus.

10. Include “How to” use databases videos/files/links

11. Assign friendly URLS

12. Designate relevant subject category

  • Subject category for subject and topic guides should match academic department name (ask Martinique if subject does not exist)
  • Include as subject “All subject guides A-Z"

13. Work with subject dept chair to review content and layout of guide. Check in with official depart liaison before reaching out as the liaison may want to be involved.

14. Include test-prep resources in programs that require licensing, standard placement tests, etc.

Guides might include:

  • A welcome to the guide video created by you (see example of a video from a course guide video on You Tube. )
    • Include video text as a downloadable word or PDF file
    • Include captions
  • A news feed related to the subject area
  • Database search boxes rather than just links

Guides do not include:

  • Descriptions of the subject or department or courses from the Academic Department
  • General research advice not specific to discipline/program
  • Full citation guide as a tab (Provide relevant boxes or one citation page geared toward that discipline instead)
  • Fun, free, videos about the subject as a welcome (use Credo or other embedded content)
  • A homepage that is purely welcome; does not contain any research-related content

DESIGN Recommendations -- Subject Guides

Some pages you might include are below.

  • Some pages might be combined where it makes sense ie., Background Info & Statistics, Websites & Media.

*ALL links MUST have a description.*


  • Include database asset links 
  • "what is background info" box
  • Could include an embedded Credo article or similar
  • Could add print or e-reference books
  • Information about citing from background databases or books

Avoid: generic videos about careers, clever cartoons etc. Remember students are using this as a resource to do research.


  • Limit books to four or fewer. Rotate these periodically -- at least once per semester.
  • Consider catalog tutorials in print or video.
  • Add a link to the catalog.
  • Information about citing books


  • Limit database links to six or fewer. Be sure they include descriptions.
  • Group databases by general and subject-specific.
  • Consider adding a gallery box with relevant magazines or journals. These should include images and links to the resource in our database.
  • Consider resources about types of articles, peer-review, journalism etc.
  • Information about citing database articles


  • Include links to streaming databases/search bar for streaming databases
  • Curated podcast series or podcast episodes, youtube videos, freely available documentary films, graphics or tutorials
  • Information about citing podcasts, online videos and documentaries

Local Resources:

  • Any locally available archives, museums, galleries, recurring events, libraries etc. (NOT necessary for every subject!) Again, use icons with alt-tags to make it easier to visually navigate.
  • Information about citing museums and events

Professional or Career Resources

  • LearningExpress PrepStep database link w/description
  • " PrepStep tutorials (video or print)
  • Books on test prep for licensing or programs
  • Relevant Prof. Associations (with descriptions) (limit to 4 or fewer)


  • Links to relevant databases
  • Tutorials for using relevant databases
  • Links to census (with description) and tutorials of same.
  • Resources for understanding statistics.
  • Information about citing statistics


  • Limit and organize links by type
  • Include graphics like organizational logos
  • Tutorials or resources for evaluating web resources
  • Information about citing websites


  • Carefully curate a citation page IF you did not include citation info on each of the tabbed pages
  • Include only the information for they style used in that discipline
  • Do not simply link the tab to our large citation page; there is too much information there.

More Help

  • Place get help box prominently on this page
  • Place profile box on this page

Updating Procedures

Updating Guides
Guides are updated minimum 1 time per semester by the end of week 6*:

  • New content added including new videos, featured resources etc.

4. Change content such as featured videos, podcasts, embedded credo excerpts etc.

Once update is complete

Guide is sent to official liaison for review and suggestions

Email is sent to LibGuide team (As of 2021-22, this is Martinique Hallerduff and Becky Sedam)

*Grace period for Fall 2022, complete all updates by Nov.15

General Considerations for Accessiblity


  • Use clear fonts:

    • Don't mix different font types. Stick to the default font (Sans Serif).

    • Use bold, color, italics, and ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, etc. sparingly; each has its own function.

    • Don't use underlines for emphasis. Users will think an underline is a hyperlink.

    • Left-justify text.

Graphics, Table and Links

  • All Images need to have alternate text (ALT tags) included. Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content (such as graphics or images). It is especially helpful for people who are blind and rely on a screen reader to have the content of the website read to them. Learn more about providing appropriate alternative text.

  • Make sure linked text makes sense out of context. Screen reader users may choose to read only the links on a web page. Certain phrases like “click here” and “more” must be avoided. 

Media and Other non-HTML Content

  • Add caption and/or provide transcripts for media. For guidelines and resources to create video caption and transcripts, see Video Captioning Resources from ARL's Web Accessibility Toolkit. Edit automatic captions/transcripts.

  • Ensure accessibility of non-HTML content. If you cannot make it accessible, consider using HTML instead or, at the very least, provide an accessible alternative. Learn more about creating accessible Word documents and creating accessible PDF files.