CEBTS - Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools

Online Library Instruction

Judy Powles
Spurgeon's College
March 2007


  1. Introduction
  2. Aims
  3. Why bother?
  4. What can you do about it?
  5. Planning - Review/Coverage/Script
  6. Using Images
  7. Tools to help and Examples
  8. The way forward

1. Introduction

My credentials - or lack of them! Definitely not an expert viewpoint.

2. Aims

To show that a simple online tutorial can be produced with the minimum of technical knowledge.

3. Why bother?

  • The sinking feeling at the beginning of the new academic year - every year
  • Every new student needs to be inducted in one week. They have information overload and so do you. You say the same thing over and over again.
  • People miss their induction - This means a time-consuming one-to-one session - several times over.
  • Often the groups can be quite large with the result that too many people are squeezed into a small space - making the session quite uncomfortable.
  • There can be different levels of academic ability. Some people understand library processes very quickly. Others do not.
  • Current methods of induction can be tired and/or uninspiring.

4. What can you do about it?

By using online technology you can:

  • reinvigorate the induction process, and
  • meet the expectation of a new generation of learners.

By using widely available software you can:

  • Complement an existing tour.
  • Showcase your library's resources.
  • Encourage independent learning.
  • Save time.

5. Planning

  • Review your current induction process.

    • What works?
    • What could be improved?
    • What do you want to achieve?
    • Will it replace existing handouts and/or tours?
    • Or will it complement them?
    • Who will take on the project? - One person should take overall responsibility.
    • But encourage contributions from everyone.
    • Ask staff for feedback on common enquiries.
    • Ask library users for their input.
  • Plan your Coverage

    • Tour (images of main areas)
    • Opening times
    • Locating/accessing different types of information within the Library.
    • How to use library equipment (photocopiers,PCs, etc.)
    • Assistance/facilities for users with special needs.
    • Library rules! The 10 commandments.
  • Plan your Storyboard/Script

    Map out a structure and consider …

    • How long will it last?
    • Will it include images?
    • Will it be formal or informal?
    • Lighthearted or serious?
    • One guide covering everything or will there be different levels?

6. Using Images

Images can add to the impact of the induction.

Will you use a standard seminary or college logo/colour scheme/font? - Remember that this emphasises the library's place as a full part of the institution. If lighthearted/entertaining rather than academic, use clipart or cartoon images But choose images carefully!

Here are some suggestions for finding free Web-based images

But remember Copyright!

ALWAYS check copyright - if in doubt Don't Use!

For advice on good copyright practice refer to the Technical Advisory Service for Images

7. Tools

  • Presentation Software - Powerpoint, etc.
  • Assessment Software - quizzes/puzzles, etc.
  • Video
  • Other option s- HTML/Flash/AudioTours
  • Presentation Software

    (a) Microsoft Office - PowerPoint.
    • Simple can be best
    • Allows visually engaging/interactive material
    • Offers choice to users through a number of pathways.
    • Users can move at their own pace.
    • Offers hyperlinks to other resources/examples
    • But don't forget "Death by Powerpoint"!
    • Also remember that large file sizes may be a disadvantage if viewed using a modem connection.
    • For advice on good practice see Further Education Resources for Learning (FERL)
    (b) WINK
    • Wink (freeware) = a Tutorial and Presentation creation software
    • Allows screenshots to be captured, explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc to be added.
    • Can generate a highly effective tutorial.
  • Assessment Software

    1. Hot potatoes. This suite, from the University of Victoria in Canada, includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoes is not freeware, but it is free of charge for those working for publicly-funded or non-profit-making educational institutions, who make their pages available on the web. Other users must pay for a licence.
    2. Quandary is an application, also from the University of Victoria, for creating Web-based Action Mazes which can be used for developing surveys and questionnaires.
    3. Question Tools Question Tools is a fully-functional, free, integrated suite of products that allows anyone to create and deliver online lessons, exercises, tests and exams … all without programming, scripting or HTML skills.
    4. Quia (pronounced "kee-yah") is an extensive collection of educational tools and templates. It allows you to create educational games and activities, quizzes, surveys, and Web pages. It is not free but is relatively inexpensive.
    Examples using PowerPoint
    • East Surrey College East Surrey College LRC Online Induction 2005-2006.ppt
    • Guildford College Guildford College.ppt
    • University of Portsmouth Portsmouth University.ppt
    • University of Salford Salford.ppt
    • Hugh Baird College (example of a simple quiz) Hugh Baird College.ppt

    The following are presentations used in teaching sessions at the beginning the academic year by ABTAPL colleagues but could be developed as online inductions.

    • International Christian College, Glasgow ICC (Glasgow) 2006.ppt
    • Oak Hill College, London Oak Hill College.ppt

    This is my own creation but is very much in its infancy!

    • Spurgeon's College, London Spurgeon's Library Tutorial (Level 1). Ppt
    Examples using Wink
  • Video

    The use of video can enhance the induction process but remember:

    • It must look professional! - There is nothing worse than something which looks like a very amateurish home movie!
    • Also remember that people might have problems with downloading a large file of this type.
    • Don't forget that people with hearing difficulties may need captions or a written script.

    Examples of video used in an induction:

  • Other options

    1. HTML This can provide a more polished look to an induction but it does requires HTML skills. It is worth mentioning here that a PowerPoint presentation can be saved as HTML files and uploaded to your institution’s website.
    2. Macromedia Flash allows more polished graphics and sound and is excellent for accompanying an HTML induction - but needs skills.

      Examples using HTML
    3. Audio Tours

      These allow your users to take a self-paced tour of your library and its facilities. Many large libraries have embraced this technology.


      However remember the "embarrassment" factor! Some people might not like to be seen wandering round the library like a tourist at a museum or stately home. The opportunity to download the tour to a discrete IPod or similar might help.

8. Conclusion/The Way Forward

Look at all the examples and:

  • Consider YOUR Library and YOUR users
  • Clarify what you want
  • And BOLDLY GO …

Acknowledging with grateful thanks the help of Andy Kirk, Learning Resources Co-ordinator JISC Regional Support Centre South-East, who provided many of these examples and suggestions, and also of my colleagues in ABTAPL.

Conference for theological librarians 2007


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