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Research Guides: Guidelines for Creating/Revising Guides: Use the Correct Asset Type

Tips, suggestions, templates and best practices for creating libguides

Use the Correct Asset Type

When you add an item to a box, you are adding an Asset.  LibGuides 2 currently supports the following assets:  Rich Text/HTML, Database, Link, Media/Widget, Book from the Catalog, Document/File, RSS Feed, Guide List, Poll, and Google Search.  Not all Asset Types are covered by this best practice guide. 

While it is possible to convey all the information in your guides using the Rich Text asset, doing so should be avoided for the following reasons:

  • Rich Text assets cannot be shared between guides.  Every other Asset Type can be.
  • Other asset types have functionality built into them that is extremely time-consuming to do by hand.
  • Other asset types are much easier to maintain than Rich Text assets.

Database assets

Do not use Database asset types. As of December 2017, Yale University Library does not use the Database A-Z list from SpringShare. Guide owners and editors should use Link assets to add a database to their guide.

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Link assets

Link assets allow you to build a reusable list of links. The links are managed centrally which means that if the link changes, the correction must only be made in one spot and the changes will promulgate out to all guides that reference that link.  As with adding Database assets, adding links using the Link asset takes a little more time up front, but the time and effort saved in maintenance is well worth it.

A new feature in LibGuides allows you to rename links.  The changes will not affect the master Link asset but will give you the flexibility you need for altering the display of the link in your own guides.

When adding a Link asset, first click the Reuse Existing Link tab and search to check to see if there is already a link asset that points to URL you want to add to your guide. You may have to search for the title of the resource rather than the URL (see example). Always look to reuse a link asset first! choose Link from the Add/Reorder dropdown. This is very important to do for database handle URLs in particular.

Media/Widget assets

In addition to the advantages of reuse, using Media/Widget assets instead of inserting the widget code into a Rich Text asset protects your guide from damage from malformed widget code.  If you use an Rich Text asset to insert a widget and the widget code breaks the LibGuide, Springshare will need to be contacted and a support ticket opened to fix the guide.  If you use a Media/Widget asset and it breaks the guide, you can simply edit or remove the Media/Widget asset yourself.

Book from the Catalog assets

While it’s not hard to create a list of books in the Rich Text asset, using the Book from the Catalog asset offers several advantages:

The Book from the Catalog asset can be reused.  Each book you enter into the guide is kept as a separate asset that can be reused anywhere else.  The book you create can be easily inserted into other guides.

The Book from the Catalog asset can be automatically entered by ISBN.  By simply entering the ISBN for a book, you can automatically load all of its information.  Title, author, publication date, cover art, and a description are automatically entered for you and all you have to do is add the call number and link URL.

Click-through statistics will be recorded for individual Book from the Catalog assets.  Clicks are not recorded for Rich Text assets.

Using Database Handles as Link Assets

To add a link to a YUL licensed database, use the handle from the database list in Quicksearch as the URL. Please always use a database handle URL if there is one available, rather than the direct URL to a licensed resource. You will have less need to update your link assets if you use database handles, since they are maintained in a separate system and automatically updated.

The database handle service automatically registers new resources to a persistent URL (handle), and makes sure existing handles always point to the current and correct database URL.

Using the database handles means that the link you are using for a database on your LibGuide will always be up-to-date, because database URLs are maintained behind the scenes. Please contact Steelsen Smith ( in Library IT for questions or problems related to handles.


  1. After opening the Add a Link menu in LibGuides, check to see if a link asset for the database you need already exists. If not, proceed to step 2.
  2. To find handles in a Quicksearch database record, switch to “Display in MARC view”.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the record and copy the 956 field, starting with http· For example

Note: This is not the same as an Orbis handle. Database handles always contain “yuldb” within the URL structure.