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LibGuides Manual

Structure of a LibGuide

Before you begin creating a new LibGuide, it is helpful to understand the overall structure of a guide and the components that make up a guide.

Video Tutorial - Setting Up a Guide and New Guide Components

Begin by watching a short video tutorial that provides an overview of LibGuide components, required elements in a new guide, and best practices for creating LibGuides at the Library of Congress. This video is 09:25 in length.

View all LibGuides Tutorials on the LS Training website.

Components of a Guide

Image of the Migrant Mother LibGuide

LibGuides are created in "the cloud" and stored in the special account/area for the Library of Congress. Published guides are presented in a custom URL -- -- and are indexed and discoverable via both the Library's P1 search as well as external search engines like Google. LibGuides use an overall hierarchical structure to present your content which is described below:


The “guide” is the large container for your content. Once your have created a new guide, it will automatically be in the "Unpublished" status.  Other possible statuses for a LibGuide are "Published", "Private", and "Submitted for Review". 


Friendly URL

Each guide created in the LibGuides system will be assigned a unique ID number. The first thing that you will want to do is to assign a "Friendly URL" to your guide. Friendly URLs should be human readable and are used by search engines as metadata to increase the findability of your guide -- an important component of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Rules for Friendly URLs (guide and page URLs)

  1. Use only lowercase letters
  2. Use complete words; avoid abbreviations
  3. Separate words with hyphens; do not use underscore characters
LibGuides assigned ID: 
Friendly URL:


Title and Description

Each guide should have a unique title and description; these are extremely important components for “search engine optimization” (SEO). Take care to create something that is easy to differentiate in search results. Both guide titles and descriptions are limited to 255 characters. It is recommended that you use all 255 characters in your guide descriptions. Some examples of excellent guide titles and descriptions are found here:

Guide to Law Online (any state) -
* the descriptions across this series are consistent, and enhance the title with specifics
Monroe Doctrine: Primary Documents in American History (and other Primary Docs) -
* this description explains what the "Monroe Doctrine" is and puts it in context in American history, as well as describes the focus.
Music Notation: Preferred Preservation Formats for Digital Scores
* this description explains more about the technical aspects of the guide's content as well as its purpose.


Group and Type

Please assign the appropriate Group (these are primarily your division or program area) and Type (Subject, Internal or Template).


Subjects and Tags

You should assign at least 1 subject to each guide you create, but no more than 3-4. Instead use tags to create additional subject-specific keywords for your guides. Tags are not case sensitive, but it is recommended that you capitalize proper names, countries, divisions at the library, etc., then use lowercase for everything else. You do not need to separate the words in tags with hyphens or anything other special character. Please note: both subjects and tags can be used to create lists of guides that match a topic or series. These can be created using the Widget feature in LibGuides.

Guide Pages

Each guide consists of one or more pages, depending on the amount of content you wish to include.

Introduction is the default home page for your guide (you cannot change this, but you can suppress the “page title” on the home page for your guide).  You can add additional pages to your guide as needed.


In order to add content of any kind to your guide, you must first add a box. There are two areas of a page where you can add boxes:

  • Left column (navigation menu) includes two standard boxes: 1) the “Ask a Librarian” box appropriate for your guide; and, 2) the “Authorship” box, which is normally only used on the first page of any guide (for an exception to this policy, see the American Women: Topical Essays guide). 
  • Right column (large content area) includes the bulk of your guide content. In this area, you can add “standard”, “tabbed” or “gallery” boxes.

Box Content

In order to add content to your guide, you will need to use the Add /Reorder button:
Add / Reorder button

  • Rich Text/HTML
  • Database
  • Link
  • Media / Widget
  • Book from the Catalog

A combination of these can be included in a single box.  Use boxes to ‘chunk’ your content into logical sections.

How to Edit a Guide's Title and Description

Renaming a guide:

  1. Click on the current title at the top of the guide (it will have a blue dashed underline). 
  2. In the text field that appears, enter the new title for the guide.
  3. Click on the blue checkmark  button to save your changes.

When to Use Internal Guides

  • When creating a guide on staff-specific training manuals, best practices, and/or procedures, select  "internal"  as the "Guide Type".
  • Note: it is the responsibility of the guide owner to determine if a password is appropriate for the guide.  
  • when you have completed the guide, select "change status" and select "private" from the "publication status" drop-down menu

internal guides