Skip to main content

Getting Started with LibGuides: 3a. Link Options

Link Options

LibGuides provides two kinds of link boxes, Links and Lists and Simple Web Links.

In a Simple Web Links box, you enter the name of the link, the URL, and an optional description of up to 256 characters. The links appear in a bulleted list, with the descriptions appearing when you move the cursor over the name.

In a Links and Lists box, you enter the the name of the link, the URL, an optional description of up to 256 characters, and (also optional) additional information of unlimited length. The links appear in a bulleted list with the descriptions beneath the names and, if there is additional information, an icon that you click on to bring up that information.

Links can also be included in text boxes.

This page describes the advantages of link boxes, differences between the two types of link boxes, and possible reasons you might want to put links in text box.

Advantages of Link Boxes Over Links in Text Boxes

Link Boxes:

  • Automatically arrange resources into bulleted lists that are neater, more consistent, and easier to create than they are in text boxes.
  • Automatically format descriptions of the resources on a separate line or in a pop-up box (depending on the type of link box.)
  • Make it easier to manage and edit content, with each element (title, URL, description) of each link able to be edited via a form instead of having to move through a long block of text to make changes.
  • Allow tracking of linked resources, showing how often each link in each box has been clicked on.
  • Allow for global URL changes, making it possible to change all instances of a resource's URL (if necessary) in one step, instead of one at a time.
  • Encourage concise descriptions. There are limits on the length of descriptions, but shorter descriptions are generally better and in keeping with our goal of less text-heavy guides. (There are sometimes good reasons for longer descriptions, but there are also other options for making them available.)

Comparing Links and Lists Boxes and Simple Web Links Boxes

Simple Web Links Links and Lists
Description limited to 256 characters. Main description limited to 256 characters. Additional information unlimited.
Description appears in pop-up when cursor is moved over link. Main description appears in box under title. Additional information in a pop-up when icon is clicked on.
Can include online sources only. Can include online and non-online sources together.
Works well in narrow left column boxes without lengthening box. Descriptions below title can cause narrow left column boxes to be very long.
No star rating. Lets users rate resources from 1-5 stars.
Automatically puts resources in bulleted list. Automatically puts resources in bulleted list.

2 Possible Reasons to List Links in Text Boxes

There are two possible disadvantages and reasons you might want to keep links in a text box:

  1. Size limit on descriptions: A Simple Web Links box gives you only 256 characters for descriptions. A Links and Lists box gives you that and an additional pop-up description unlimited in size. There may be cases where you feel it's necessary to provide a longer description without a pop-up. In general, though, shorter is better; the longer the text, the less likely our users are to read it.
  2. Inability to group links in a box: There may be cases where you'll want to group Web links by some category. You cannot do this in a single box (though you can create separate boxes on a page for different types of links.) You can also add descriptive text, with no size limitations, at the top of an Web links box, but only at the top.

Subject Guide

Beth Seelick's picture
Beth Seelick
This research guide was created by Professor Beth Seelick (1955-2019).
"A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." ― Henry B. Adams