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Guides best practices: How to build a guide

After using this guide, Stanford Libraries staff will be able to build, assess, and maintain research guides that address specific information needs.

Before you start...

Review the Content Creation Guide (CCG). The CCG offers guidelines for writing and formatting for Stanford Libraries web content. Everyone who creates guides should be familiar with these. Following these guidelines ultimately contributes to a coherent and consistent website, which promotes the credibility and user experience of all of our content.

Quick start

Do's and don'ts

Check markDO add guide descriptions and page descriptions
For accessibility reasons, it's important to add descriptions to guides and pages. Moreover, adding descriptions will help search engines, like Google, return your guide as a result.


Check markDO add your own, brief descriptions to databases, books, and other content items.
Vendors write the default descriptions for librarians. They are full of words that mean nothing to users. Moreover, research shows that "students are not willing to read an annotation more than a sentence or two long."


Check markDO link directly to SearchWorks instead of directly to the item
SearchWorks is our source for maintaining up-to-date information for resources. Resource links break frequently. Using SearchWorks means we only have to update links in one place.


X markDON'T add library location or call number information to the description
An item may have multiple locations, and it's best to let the user decide where they want to go. Additionally, this information may change.


X markDON'T overwhelm the user with options.
User's don't typically read webpages from start to finish. Avoid long lists of resources. Only provide the most relevant and useful resources for the learning outcomes you wrote.