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CIST-605: Information Sources and Services: Research Guides

Getting Started with LibGuides

Tools for getting started in LibGuides

Writing for the web

Writing for the Web

Basics

Write for all readers. Some people will read every word you write. Others will just skim. Help everyone read better by grouping related ideas together and using descriptive headers and subheaders.

Focus your message. Create a hierarchy of information. Lead with the main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, sections, and pages. Place the essential information at the top of the page.

Be concise. Keep your sentences short and clear.  Avoid unnecessary modifiers. Cut the fluff.

Be specific. Avoid vague language.

Be consistent. Stick to the style points outlined in this guide.

Voice and Tone

Voice & tone

All writing should use a consistent tone that is friendly, conversational, and direct. Avoid overly formal and academic language.

Use the active voice. Avoid passive voice. Words like “was” and “by” may indicate that you’re writing in a passive voice. Below are recommendations that we use here at UAlbany Libraries. 

Bad: Video chat rooms can be reserved by students.
Good: Reserve a video chat room for your interview.

Bad: Copies of the libraries' newsletter can be found on the About page.
Good: You can find copies of our newsletter on the About page.

Use “we” and “you” when referring to the Libraries and your audience respectively.

  • We can help you find relevant resources.
  • Use the Library Search to start your research.
  • Please silence your phones in Quiet Zones.
  • Leave books in book return bins for us to track and shelve.
  • Submit your requests to the scholarly communications team.
  • New Website Navigation Based on Your Input

Write for your readers

Write for your readers


Your ibrary community represents many users with varying research skill levels. Please keep this in mind when you are writing content for your website. Some, but not all, could fall under one or more of the following categories:

  • Undergraduate students

  • Graduate students

  • Alumni

  • Faculty

  • Staff 

  • Visiting scholars

  • Community members

  • People with advanced research skills/People with no research experience

  • People with advanced web skills/People with no web experience

  • Some people might have extensive research skills but little web experience, or vice versa

  • Users with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments