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LibGuides: Standards & Evolving Practice

Guidelines and resources for building effective research guides at Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans.

What is the Purpose of Research Guides?

Research Guides are for learners. In other words, guides are not just for information sharing, but rather they have a pedagogical function. They should have a primary audience, learning objectives, and help students with their research and information literacy skills in a specific context. The context of a Research Guide is typically one of the following: discipline, topic, course, or academic task (e.g. citation, literature review).

At at many academic libraries, the research guides at Monroe Library are maintained within Springshare's LibGuides product. Research Guides are also one of several elements in Monroe Library's web presence, which also includes are official website and social media. 

What is Evolving Practice?

We often use the term "best practices" when talking about quality standards. However, upon further reflection and based on feedback from colleagues, I realize that "best practices" implies there is one correct and superior way of doing something. An authentic pedagogy, however, cannot make such universal claims. In our instructional design and in our teaching, we must take into account the learners and their context. Therefore, instead of using the more common phrase "best practices," I have opted for "evolving practice," which I hope is a more open, flexible, and experimental framing. In this way we invite variation and experimentation in community with our learners, sharing ideas for effective LibGuides without making the claim that there is a single best way to design them.

How to Use This Guide

This guide describes the basic elements required of all published research guides of the Monroe Library as well as tips for how to create successful, learner-centered guides. Use the standards and evolving practices provided to refresh existing guides or to create new ones. A rubric is provided to help you assess your guides before and after publication.

Recommended readings are provided on each page should you wish to explore the topic more deeply. Open access resources are listed first, followed by publications that require institutional subscription access.

New to LibGuides by Springshare?

Springshare, the company that produces LibGuides, provides a robust set of tutorials and documentation on their website. When logged in to the LibGuides platform, click Help in the top menu for access to tutorials and FAQs. Consider these pages to get you started:

You may also find helpful the excellent guides by Jesse Martinez at Boston College Libraries.

Guide Authors

An earlier version of this guide was originally authored by Adam Beauchamp in 2021 for Florida State University Libraries. Adam adapted this guide for Monroe Library at Loyola University New Orleans in 2024.
"Accessibility" and "Maintaining Your Guide" content adapted with permission from Jesse Martinez at Boston College Libraries.
Rubric for guide review inspired by the work of jamie ding at California Polytechnic State University, Robert E. Kennedy Library.


Except where otherwise noted, the content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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