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Getting Started with LibGuides

Tools for getting started in LibGuides

Guide types

Guide Types

Assigning a type to a guide facilitates discovery; there are several pre-defined types of guides


Research guides are designed to provide instruction and guidance on a specific academic subject at UAlbany, e.g. History, Public Administration and Policy, or Sociology.

Guides designed to support the teaching and research needs of a specific course, e.g. HIS 292: Trials in United States History
See the Course guides section below.

Guides that pull together information on a central topic, tool or research area that is not generally considered to be an academic department or program, e.g. Black Lives Matter, Native American Law, or Impeachment.

The purpose of creating topic guides should still be a pedagogical one, so make sure that your topic guide frames the topic vis-a-vis our library resources (databases, books, journals, other research guides). Offer advice on the guide on how to research the guide topic and similar topics. If you have questions, please consult with LibGuides Working Group before creating Topic guides.
See the Topic guides section below.

General Purpose
Guides that provide general information on a collection or service at the library, e.g., Mesoamerican Codices, or Career Resources.
Please consult with LibGuides Working Group before creating General Purpose guides

Guides made to be shared and used by library staff, not indexed by search engines, link required to access, e.g. UAlbany Libraries' Web Content Style Guide
Please consult with LibGuides Working Group before creating Internal guides

Course guides

Course guides overview

Guidelines for course guides, because of the narrowly focused audiences, must be considerably more flexible in design and style than any other pages. The principle focus should be on providing resources and instruction for a particular course, in consultation with faculty; however, because course guides are also linked on subject gateway pages, and some people outside the course will inevitably use them, authors should also make an effort to adhere to general design principles to ensure some consistency with the rest of the site.

Tips for Course Guides

  • Rationale:  if there is a relevant research guide determine if is there enough new and unique content to justify a course guide.
  • Profile: essential to have a profile box with the appropriate subject specialist on all course guides. It might also be relevant to add details of other subject specialists who might assist (especially for cross-disciplinary topics).
  • Instructor Collaboration: important to work carefully with the course instructor. Make sure that you obtain a copy of the course syllabus first.
  • Guide Title: We format course guide titles with course numbers and course name. Template:
  • Citation Style/Tools: if a major assignment for the course is a research paper, consider including a tab/box on the appropriate bibliographic citation style and/or tools/ link to the citation guide.

Topic guides

Topic guides overview

Topic guides are excellent to address current events, hot topics, drill down on a specific sub-subject or to highlight archival collections or other resources good to research a particular topic. The topic guide should still be created with a pedagogical purpose in mind. The guide should not duplicate content in another existing guide. Authors should adhere to general design principles to ensure consistency with the rest of the site.

Tips for Topic Guides

  • Rationale: The topic is not reflected in any of the subject guides. The topic is about important and/or relevant current events or hot topics that are researched, taught, or are important to the university.
  • Purpose: Make sure that the main/home page explains the purpose of the guide to the users and what to expect to find in the guide
  • Avoid Duplication and Contextualize the content of your topic guide: Topic guides must contextualize the information of the topic guide with library resources and advice on how to research the main guide topic and related topics.

When using Shared Content Boxes, ensure the information is contextualized by pairing shared content boxes with specific advice, examples or resources related to the topic of the guide. 

If listing databases, ensure there is some contextual information and/or advice to explain how those databases are useful to research the topic. Keywords or subject headings (linked to searches in Primo) are good ways to contextualize the information in the guide.

Consider linking to similar guides (from UAlbany Libraries or other libraries) if appropriate.

  • Profile: a profile box is not required for a topic guide, but you are welcome to add one if you like.
  • Guide Title: Include the word "Topic" at the beginning of the title to help with sorting.

See the following examples of topic guides for inspiration:

  • Native American Law
    This is an introductory guide for anyone interested in researching current Native American Law or the history of the relationship between Native American tribes and the US government.
  • Literature Searching for Systemic Reviews
     to our library guide to resources for systematic reviews! Systematic reviews are important in public health, social welfare, health sciences and a growing number of disciplines. In this guide, we focus on important aspects related to the literature search.