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Integrating Library Services and Resources with Canvas

Information for instructors on how to integrate University of Michigan library resources, such as search bars, research guides, and modules into Canvas sites. Also, how to give someone Librarian access to your site.

Adding library tools to your Canvas site is a great way to give your students research support throughout the semester and consolidate information and resources in one area.

Introducing the new U-M Library Tool

In the times before COVID, U-M offered four distinct tools that instructors could add to their Canvas site. As of July 21, 2021, we have combined our original four tools and added a few new ones, to our new "Library Tools" tool. With the new tool, instructors (also anyone in the Teacher, TA, Designer, or Librarian role) can build a customized Library resource page for their course.

Adding Library Tools to your site

Go to the Settings page and select Navigation. Locate "Library Tools" at the bottom of the long, long list of available tools and move it to the short list of active, visible tools at the top.  While you're at it, we recommend moving default tools you don't intend to use down into the list of hidden tools. Once you see "Library Tools" in your site navigation, go to the tool to add content.

Building your Library Tools page

Our new tool includes the same "Ask A Librarian" tab that we use at the U-M Library website. There are also links to "Locations and Hours" and "Ask A Librarian" at the top of the page. The new tool also includes a rich text "Introduction" field so that you can present just-in-time, course-specific context for the resources students will find on the page.

Build your Library Tools page by adding "Blocks." Current block offerings allow you to:

  • embed a single (or a number of single) U-M Library Research Guide(s)
  • create a list of links to Research Guides
  • create a list of links to recommended Library Databases
  • embed recommended videos
  • create a list of links to other recommended resources
  • display Course Reserves for this class
  • embed a Library Search field
  • spotlight a single Library staff as "Course Specialist", including contact info
  • feature a number of "Library Specialists", including contact info

We continue to offer "U-M Library Research Guides," as a separate, out-of-the-box tool developed by as part of our Research Guides platform. You can use this tool to embed a single guide, or a specific page from a specific guide, in a Canvas page. Instructors who use Canvas Modules will find  both "U-M Library Tools" and also "U-M Research Guides" listed as "External Tools.

Some instructors are used to adding "U-M Library Research Guides" to their site navigation. You can still do this, but we recommend you consider using "Library Tools" instead so you can take advantage of added flexibility. Also, so you can avoid SpringShare's current no-edit bug.

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