Customized Library Resources Now Available in Canvas

A new student resource has made its way into Canvas. “Library Resources,” powered by Springshare, utilizes the full University Library digital asset catalogue to direct students to a custom page associated with their Canvas course that includes subject guides, A-Z database guides, and the subject librarian for the course’s subject. A limited number of classes may also have a custom course guide. This new “LibGuides” resource hub appears as a navigation item in most Northwestern Canvas courses.

“LibGuides” have previously been available through the Northwestern University Libraries’ website, but the integration now gives students direct access to information relevant to their specific course in Canvas. Subject guides are meticulously designed by the subject-specialist librarians to support students by highlighting key tools and resources in that particular subject discipline while the A-Z database guide may include references to key databases that allow students to find citations and in many cases the full text of journal articles, papers, books, chapters and other literature. Each resource offers a deeper dive into their subject, whether for a research project or paper, or for greater emersion in a specific topic.

LibGuide example screenshot from Econ 101

LibGuide example screenshot from Econ 101

The custom course guide is an excellent opportunity for faculty to curate a collection of course specific digital resources for their students. These guides are designed by the subject-specialist librarian in consultation with the faculty. Past courses have included directions on how to find materials in support of a specific course assignment, advice for accessing references to primary and secondary source materials, or other supportive tools from the library that are relevant to the course theme (e.g., an accounting course with references to useful manuals, websites, and online tutorials). Right now, only a handful of courses are taking advantage of this opportunity, but any interested faculty can reach out to their subject librarian to set up a consultation to explore this opportunity.

John Hernandez, Web & Mobile Services Librarian at Northwestern, has been leading the effort to bring LibGuides into Canvas.

“Our goal in adding the library resources tool is to make library resources more readily available to the student from directly within their course site,” said Hernandez. “By clicking on the Library Resources link you will find there is a guide that will help you begin to explore the wealth of materials the library owns or subscribes to that can help with your work in the course.”

Hernandez explained that resources are automatically selected based on the subject content of the course, though in some cases, an exact match is not possible. In these instances, a default page is presented that allows the student to find a guide by subject.

“So go ahead and click on the link,” Hernandez concluded. “Even if what you find is not exactly what you need, feel free to reach out the subject specialist librarian who can put you in touch with someone or something that will.”

For more information about the Library Resources tool, contact the library at or reach out to your subject librarian to set up a consultation to explore a custom course guide.