zzProcedures and best practice

This is ACU Library's agreed procedures and best practice when creating "how to" Library Guides using the LibGuide software.


ACU Library Guides provide guidance on the most useful and relevant resources to support the academic work of ACU students and staff. These procedures and guidelines outline the Library Guides governance framework and best practice for creating guides.

Library guides

ACU Library uses the LibGuides platform to publish library guides:

  • to support students in the academic disciplines taught by our Faculties
  • for research students and early career researchers
  • how-to guides for commonly used resources (e.g. EndNote)
  • relating to services and resources that are provided by the library.

We no longer use LibGuides for newsletters to academic staff.

ACU Library guides are:

  • focused on a topic identified as a gap in information provided to clients
  • a taste of relevant key resources rather than a comprehensive listing of all resources in specific discipline
  • structured and well laid out with prioritised information included on the landing page of each guide
  • consistent in design and navigation from page-to-page and guide-to-guide
  • concise and easy to read, using plain language (no jargon) and communicating concepts efficiently using ACU brand voice
  • accessible and do not create barriers for users with disabilities, catering for an audience of diverse learning needs.

Overall management of library guides at ACU is the responsibility of the Library Manager, Information Literacy. Additional areas of responsibility for library guides include:

  • Library Manager, Faculty of Education and Arts
  • Library Manager, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Library Manager, Faculty of Law and Business
  • Library Manager, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
  • Library Manager, Research Services
  • Library Manager, Digital Services
  • Library Manager, Data Quality and Digitisation
  • Library Manager, Copyright

These Library Managers are guide Owners for their faculty/area. Guide Owners will nominate a guide Editor for each library guide they own.

Guide Owners

Are responsible for the content and overall quality of the library guides allocated to them. It is the library guide Owner’s responsibility to co-ordinate the development of any new guides and organise the regular maintenance and updating of all guides owned by them. Guide Owners should ensure that changes to guides are not made in isolation but are discussed by, and consensus reached within, their Teams/LARS Faculty groups.

Guide Editors

Are responsible for the content of new and existing guides within their Teams/LARS Faculty groups. They collaborate with their Library colleagues and guide Owners to ensure best practice and that ACU Library procedures are followed in the creation and maintenance of guides.


Are responsible for maintaining and updating the ACU Library guide templates. They can create new guides if required (once approved by the appropriate guide Owner) and add database assets. They are also responsible for final quality assurance of guides in relation to accessibility, Writing for the Web, ACU branding and brand voice. Administrators will liaise with guide Owners to ensure the ACU Library Guide Procedures and Best Practice Guidelines are followed.

ACU Library's Procedures and Best Practice document is available on the Library’s shared drive at N:\Library\Technologies\Library Guides.

Approval process

The creation of new library guides requires an approval process, to ensure consistency of purpose and product across all guides. Approval is sought from the relevant Library Manager and completion of the ACU Library Proposal form which is available on the Library’s shared drive at N:\Library\Technologies\Library Guides.

The appropriate guide Owner approves:

  • the creation of the new guide
  • content in the completed guide
  • any new pages to be added to a new or existing guide.

They also ensure ACU Library Guide procedures and best practice have been followed when developing/reviewing the guide.

Digital Services (guide Administrators) approves:

  • the overall look, feel and branding; checking for best practice and may request a review of guides that do not reflect ACU Library procedures and guidelines.

Reassigning guides and closing accounts

Guide Owners are responsible for notifying Administrators when a staff member who is an editor leaves ACU. Email LibraryHelp@acu.edu.au and nominate a new Editor for the guide(s).

Administrators remove the staff member from LibGuides administration and reassign guides and assets to the new Editor.

Library Guide templates

All ACU Library guides must use the standard library guide templates (zzTemplate: Library guide | subject by Diana Cranage or zzTemplate:Library guide | how to by Diana Cranage) that reflect ACU branding and best practice for digital communications.

The templates include:

  • ACU Header
  • Footer
  • Single column for text
  • Left navigation
  • Accordions (only available in the How-To Library Guide template).

Multiple content boxes and tabs are no longer considered best practice for ACU Library Guides and should not be used.


  • Place important information and key resources on the landing page of each guide.
  • Keep sub-pages to a minimum. Our ideal guide consists of one page only displaying relevant key resources.
  • All ACU library guides will be published. We no longer have unpublished guides. On a case by case basis the Library Manager, Information Literacy may decide to leave certain guides private, especially where they include ACU Library internal processes and procedures.
  • Give priority to electronic resources to improve usability and reduce user frustration. Print books included in a guide will require a strong case for inclusion and will require Associate Director Libraries, Client Services approval.
  • Keep links to ebooks, individual journal titles and web pages to a minimum to enhance user experience and lessen scrolling.
  • Do not duplicate content:
    • Always check the assets list before adding new assets and use existing assets rather than creating new ones.
    • Don't copy or link an asset – instead, map to it. This way we can update once and it is automatically updated in all guides that use that link.
    • If wording needs to be changed with an asset, use the custom description box.
    • If information appears elsewhere in a library guide or on the Library website, link to it but do not duplicate it (i.e.)
    • How to reference - link to the Referencing Guide
    • Library Search - link to the Find page (or the home page) of the Library website
    • Endnote - link to the existing EndNote guide.
  • Do not use Library Chat or Library search widgets in Library Guides.
  • Aim for no more than 30 words in each sentence. Short sentences are easier to read and understand.
  • Aim for no more than 3 sentences in each paragraph.
  • Use plain language - don't include jargon or acronyms that some students may not understand.
  • Make links meaningful - don't use 'Click here' etc.
  • Use only one meaningful hyperlink per resource and place it at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph.
  • Consider ‘F’ eye tracking evidence when adding content. Top load and front load all pages, that is, put the most important information top left and down the left side of the page. The most important words should be at the start of each sentence. These will allow readers to skim the content and quickly identify content that is relevant to them.
  • Start each page title with keywords (topic terms or phrase). Make them unique, relevant and no more than 65 characters long (including spaces) so users can quickly identify which pages are relevant to them.
  • Keep URLs short and meaningful. If multiple words are required, use a dash (or hyphen) between words. For example, use 'social-work' not 'social_work'. This improves Search Engine Optimisation, SEO. (SEO recognises dashes as word separators).
  • Use correct heading structure, H1, H2 etc.
  • Make headings relevant, clear, concise and specific. The user should be able to work out what the guide, page, section is about immediately from its heading.

Brand Voice

  • Use active rather than passive language. For example, 'The dog chased the ball' (active) instead of 'The ball was chased by the dog'.
  • Use “us” and “we” when referring to the Library and “you” when referring to the student(s).
  • Focus on benefits for our users and not descriptions of resources. Why is this resource or service useful to a student or staff member? Why should they take time to look at it? What's in it for them?
  • Keep your content short and to the point. It's easier to read and understand.
  • Use plain, simple language. It's easier to read and understand.
  • What does the reader really need to know? Leave out any information if you are adding it 'just in case'.
  • Follow best practice as demonstrated in Writing for the Web training. Check out the 4 Syllables website for information on Writing for the Web.


  • Reuse, reuse, reuse assets!
  • Don’t create new link assets if there is already one available.
  • Use database 'assets' from the LibGuides A-Z databases to link to databases and ebook or ejournal collections.
  • Link direct to individual ebooks rather than to a Primo record. This means that if Primo goes down students will still be able to access the books.
  • When creating a deep links to individual ebooks, ebook chapters or articles remember to add the EZProxy prefix - http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url= This will allow students to access them off campus.


  • Use correct heading structure; e.g. H1, H2, etc. This allows screen readers to read the content correctly.
  • Make links meaningful. 'Click here' is not meaningful to students. especially those using assistive technology.
  • Links should open on the current page, not in new page/tab. This improves accessibility for students using assistive technology.
  • Don't underline links.

The 4 Syllables website also has information about accessibility.


  • Use images sparingly; if an image doesn’t enhance your content don’t put it in.
  • Don'r use stock images from the internet. This is a directive from MER.
  • Don't use images of people who are not ACU students or staff. Ideally they will be current students or staff.
  • If you take photos of ACU students or staff, including Library staff, make sure you get a signed MER Video & Photography consent form from each person photographed. Consent forms are available from the MER Sharepoint site.
  • ACU approved images can be viewed by going to MER’s image collection. Contact Library Help to request a download. Use of some images may require approval from MER.
  • Ideally do not include book cover images. They take up additional space that might be better used for content.
  • If you must include an image, add short text alternatives for all simple images. For example, ‘Ebscohost logo’.
    • Exclude noise words ‘This is a…’, ‘Photo of a …’
    • Don't add alternative text for purely decorative images. In fact, don't add decorative images at all!
  • If you need to use tables or graphs you will need to add a long text alternative so that students using assistive technology can read them. Contact Library Help for more information.
  • If you need to use logos get them directly from the publisher website. Take care when resizing these images.
  • More information about images is available at 4 Syllables website


  • Ensure that information in all guides is relevant and up-to-date.
  • Resources recommended should have a publication date of no more than 3 years (older publications may require a justification).
  • All guides should have a review date of no more than 6 months.
  • The date when a guide and its content was last reviewed should appear at the bottom the Contacts section of a subject guide and at the very bottom of a how to guide. Don't confuse this with the 'Last updated' date that appears automatically whenever anyone edits a guide.

Review before you publish

All guides should be carefully reviewed by guide Owners before being sent on to Administrators for a final quality assurance check and to be published and added to the Library website.


Ideally all staff creating or editing Library Guides will have:

  • received basic training in creating LibGuides. Springshare provide great online training and support documentation.
  • Attended Writing for the Web training. Online information is available at 4 Syllables.
  • Excellent knowledge of the subject area and resources ACU Library has available in this subject area.

Create a new guide (for guide Owners only)

Springshare have excellent online resources to help you create and edit LibGuides. These simple instructions will get you started. Contact LibraryHelp if you have any problems.

  1. Sign into LibApps Email LibraryHelp if you don't have a LibApps account.
  2. Click on 'Subject Guides' under 'Admin Interface'. Do this even if your guide will use the "How to" template.
  3. Under 'LibGuide Shortcuts', click on 'Create Guide'.
  4. Use the drop down menu to change 'Start fresh' to 'Copy content / layout from an existing guide'.
  5. Choose zzTemplate: Library guide | subject by Diana Cranage for a subject guide or zzTemplate:Library guide | how to by Diana Cranage if you are creating an 'how to' guide.
  6. Enter the guide name beginning with zz, for example zzDrama.
  7. Add a description for your guide. What do you hope to achieve with this guide? Who is it for? Why should people use it?
  8. Change the 'Guide type' to 'Subject Guide'; if you are creating a 'How to' guide leave the type as 'General purpose'.
  9. Use the drop down menu to assign the guide to the 'Library - one' group.
  10. Change 'Share guide content' to Internal.
  11. Click on 'Create guide'.

Once you have created your guide you can edit the guide URL and the page URL to make them more meaningful. Otherwise you can leave it and the Administrators will update these as part of the final approval process.

Adding an Editor (for guide Owners only)

  1. At the top right of the guide, click on the round cog, the symbol for 'Guide Information'.
  2. Click on 'Guide Editors' in the drop down list.
  3. Type in the name or scroll down the list highlight the name of the person you want as Editor for this guide.
  4. Click on 'Save'.

Contact Library Help anytime for assistance with creating or editing library guides.

You can also post questions to the Library LibApps Workplace group. Other staff may have the same question too!

Submitting for publication

Once your guide is finished and approved by the guide Owner you can submit it for final checking and publication. Have a look at the short video below or follow these steps:

  • Click on 'Published/Unpublished'
  • Change Status to 'Share'
  • Under 'Publication Status' select 'Submit for Review'
  • Add a Message to tell us what changes were made (e.g. help adding content to accordions, new guide to go live, new page titled 'x' added, etc.)
  • Click 'Save' & Close

Digital Services will review the guide and liaise with the guide Owner about any changes that might be required.

Editing accordions in a how to guide

Editing the accordion panels in HTML can be fiddly. Formatting will need to be done with HTML (e.g. hyperlinks, bulleted lists). Have a look at the video below. If you prefer Digital Services can put your content into the accordions:

  • Create a NEW box for each accordion
  • Add your content and clearly label the heading name and body content for each accordion panel.
  • Submit your content for review following the steps above.
  • Make sure you add a Message that this content is for a how to guide using accordions
  • We will mark up your content and add to accordion panels.

Linking to individual accordions

We can now link directly to individual accordions within our new revamped 'how to' guides.

IT have provided us with custom JavaScript which has been enabled in all LibGuides.

For example, link directly to the Literature/systematic reviews accordion in the Higher degree students and early career researchers guide.

If you are are LibGuide owner/editor with guides that use accordions, you will need to update some of the HTML to give each accordion a unique URL.

In a nutshell, replace:

  • heading1 with accordion-name-heading (x2)
  • example1 with accordion-name (x3)

Last reviewed January 2019


Video: Libguides publishing workflow - how to submit new changes

Video: How to edit accordions in Libguides