Break everything day

Since our library has had LibGuides, there has been a long-simmering desire among the librarians to standardize the layout of our guides. In fact, a few years ago we attempted to do this by building a standardized template that the librarians were encouraged to use. But this voluntary standardization did not work at all. The librarians continued to use whatever guide template they wanted to. It was a big flop.

Now, we’re going to try again, but this time the standard template will be non-optional. I expect this to be effective, in a somewhat brutal way. If we insist on one style, existing guides will be shoehorned into that style. This will not be seamless, because some things will invariably break in the new layout.

What I’ve proposed to the librarians is that we have a “break everything day”. We’ll switch all of the guides over to the new layout all at once, and then collectively fix everything that we broke. Of course, I’m going to try to minimize the surprises: I’ll do a test run in advance, to see exactly what we’ll be dealing with. We can identify what guides will be most affected, so that we can better plan our response.

We’re planning to have our “break everything day” this winter. As a bonus, it’s a great opportunity for me to clean up some legacy CSS. If we’re breaking the guides anyway, deleting some old CSS won’t be a big deal; it will all get fixed at the same time, in one big group effort. Win-win.

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