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Creating and Hosting OER using LibGuides: LibGuides Pros & Cons

undefinedIt's not an overstatement to say LibGuides made this project possible. The size and complexity of this project required that we limit effort managing the platform so that we could focus on updating the content. The "pros" for using Libguides include it's cost, familiarity, similarity to other content management systems, flexible permission and access controls, and customizability including the ability to include the MathJax JavaScript library to display equations.

The "cons" of using LibGuides are largely related to managing and updating large chunks of HTML, something the platform was not really built for. Most of these issues can be addressed by pre-processing HTML in a stand-alone editor (e.g., Notepad++) before importing it into LibGuides and "stacking" Rich Text/HTML fields.


  • Already Paid For!
    Once we determined LibGuides could host the textbook, there were no strong arguments for incurring new costs. It's not like we had a budget, anyway.
  • Familiar Platform
    Librarians have years of experience creating and managing LibGuides; no need to reinvent the wheel learning a new platform.
  • Easy to Teach
    LibGuides is similar enough to other content management systems that faculty editors are able to catch on quickly.
  • Reduces IT Involvement & Dependencies
    Campus IT means well, but they have bigger fish to fry. Better to keep projects "in house" if you can.
  • Group & Guide-Level Permission & Access Controls
    With permission and access controls, it's easy to cordon off OER projects from the Library's other LibGuides while providing access to the folks who need it. LibGuides CMS makes this easier.
  • Custom CSS/JS
    Group and guide-level CSS control supports global style management and cleaner HTML. Our ability to link the MathJax JavaScript library to display equations made this project possible.


  • Character Limits
    LibGuides enforces character limits on Rich Text/HTML fields, which is a challenge when importing large chunks of HTML. Our solution was to "stack" multiple Rich Text/HTML fields into a single box to minimize visible breaks while allowing us to apply custom CSS to the entire box.
  • Cannot Link an External HTML File 
    LibGuides does not support linking external HTML or XML files to a content area for display. Such a feature would simplify managing larger content blocks. Maybe this is something we could have done with a widget asset, but we didn't get that far.
  • No Find/Replace in the Rich Text Editor
    This would be helpful for batch revising larger chunks of HTML. Our solution was to work back and forth between the Rich Text Editor and Notepad++ or Adobe Dreamweaver.
  • Rich Text Editor Auto-Editing on Save
    We avoided changes to our HTML by editing and saving content in HTML view only. The ability to link external HTML files could help here.
  • No Link Tracking in Rich Text/HTML Fields
    This would be useful for reporting. Possible solutions include Bitly or Google Tags, but we didn't get that far.