The working group, appointed by library directors at University of
Wisconsin campus libraries, began their work in March 1999.
Their charge, defined by members of the Council of Wisconsin
Libraries Distance Education Committee, was to develop a web-
based tutorial intended for new users of university-level libraries.
These freshmen, sophomores or returning adults would be
taking one or more courses at a distance. The tutorial is intended
to provide library research assistance to students who do not
have easy and immediate access to traditional bibliographic
The group began by assessing web-based tutorials from other
institutions to further define needs of Wisconsin distance
education students and to determine whether Wisconsin\'s needs
were the same or different. We began by reviewing about fifteen
tutorials and ranking particular aspects. Ulrike Dieterle, then of
University of Wisconsin - Platteville, prepared a list of criteria and
subsequently summarized the working group\'s evaluations.
Ulrike was hired by WiLS to head the template and content
We determined that we had two criteria or objectives most other
tutorials lacked. These two criteria focused on technical
sophistication of the users and a generic approach to the tutorial
content, that is, a research process not dependent on any one
parent library. We wanted a tutorial that would run easily and
quickly on a low-end computer, one that did not have lots of
speed, or video or audio capability. This is because many
students, particularly returning students do not have high-end
computers. Our second objective was that we wanted a tutorial
that was not specific to any one library or library automated
system; we wanted to teach principles, not train keystrokes.
We are using the University of Wisconsin Collaborative Nursing
Program students as usability field testers for the tutorial,
although we wrote the seven modules of the tutorial for a general
distance learning audience. As we receive the evaluations from
the students and begin to analyze their comments we expect to
make changes to the Research Tutorial.
The librarians who provided content and development guidance
on this project are Ulrike Dieterle, UW- Madison, Health Sciences
Library; Betsy Richmond and Jill Markgraf, UW-Eau Claire; Anne
Kasuboski, UW- Green Bay; and Linda Piele, UW-Parkside.
Debbie Cardinal of WiLS, acted as Project Manager. Cheryl
Olson, WiLS, edited the HTML content and assisted with
organization. Sheila Zillner, WiLS, designed the graphics and