Designing Web-Based Support Materials

Along with some related resources, these are the sources I referenced while sharing my “experiences and advice” re: designing web-based support materials (tutorials, LibGuides & LibAnswers entries) with MLIS students in the LS 527: User Instruction class at SLIS. They are also bookmarked at mbfortson’s ls527 Bookmarks on Diigo.

Web-Based Support Materials at UA Libraries

Ask a Librarian | University Libraries

“This is an electronic reference service that provides instant answers to many frequently asked questions. It is one of several ways to contact the UA Libraries.” The How does this service work? entry includes the terms of service and describes the different ways to ask questions.

How Do I… | UA Libraries Subject and Research Guides at University of Alabama

“Short video tutorials and instructional materials to help you use library resources and complete research-related tasks.” This LibGuide serves as our department’s tutorial respository and includes transcripts and links to related resources.

UA Libraries Subject and Research Guides at University of Alabama | University Libraries

“Subject guides, research assistance, and useful resources compiled by your friendly librarians.” The UA LibGuides Author Guide contains best practices and guidelines, information about training, and support for UA LibGuides authors.

UofAlabamaLibraries’s Channel | YouTube

Official YouTube channel of the The University of Alabama Libraries. We use YouTube to publish instructional and promotional videos and use the YouTube sharing tools to embed the videos throughout LibGuides and LibAnswers.

Springshare Product Information

Kablam! It’s the Best Of site! | Springshare

“A collection of awesome Guides, assembled together to help inspire you. Create, collaborate and share with the Springshare community!”

Springshare Help at Springshare

“Guides about guides. Guides about modules. Guides for getting started. Guides for helping you learn our products. Not finding what you need? Let us know! Email training (at) springshare (dot) com.”

The Springshare Lounge

“Discussions, forums, and information for users of Springshare products.”

Springshare Support Blog

“Official support blog for Springshare products.”


Some of the tools I use to design web-based support materials

Adobe Photoshop CS5

Picture and image editing software.

Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

“Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording & editing sounds.”

Camtasia screen recorder from TechSmith

“Camtasia has the right tools for creating professional screen videos… without formal training. With Camtasia, you can easily generate effective videos that help you train, teach, sell, and more.”

Jing, screenshot and screencast software from TechSmith

“Simple and FREE, Jing is the perfect way to enhance your fast-paced online conversations. Create images and videos of what you see on your computer screen, then share them instantly!”

Notepad++ Home

“Notepad++ is a free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.”

Snagit, Mac and Windows screen capture software from TechSmith

“Perfect for enhancing your presentations, documents, and online conversations – Snagit makes it easy to create eye-catching visuals for quick communication.”

Other tools

EDUCAUSE 7 Things You Should Know About … series

Each of the briefs in this series focuses on a single emerging technology or practice.

Learning Objects

This LibGuide from the University of Illinois Library at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign includes collections of learning object repositories and resources for learning about and developing instructional materials.

Tips & Trends

The ACRL Instruction Section committee on which I serve, the Instructional Technologies committee, publishes quarterly tip sheets on new or emerging technologies affecting library instruction.


MERLOT | Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

Repository of “peer reviewed online learning materials.”

PRIMO Database

“PRIMO is a means to promote and share peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians to teach people about discovering, accessing and evaluating information in networked environments. The Committee hopes that publicizing selective, high quality resources will help librarians to respond to the educational challenges posed by still emerging digital technologies.”

Keeping Up


LIS-related blogs I read | Google Reader
Some of the blogs I follow which publish LIS-related content.

These blogs may be of particular interest to those interested in library instruction and user experience:


“Blogging by and for academic and research librarians.”

Designing Better Libraries

“Exploring the application of design, innovation, and new media to create better libraries and user experiences.”

In the Library with the Lead Pipe

“We are a team of librarians working in various types of libraries across the United States… In the Library with the Lead Pipe is intended to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations. Our goal is to explore new ideas and start conversations; to document our concerns and argue for solutions. Each article is peer-reviewed by at least one external and one internal reviewer.”


Char Booth, exploring “the integration of education, technology, and design in library services.”

Information Tyrannosaur

The “dino-mite site of Andy Burkhardt, librarian and emerging technology enthusiast.”

Information Wants To Be Free

Blog of Meredith Farkas, “Head of Instructional Services at the Portland State University Library in Oregon and am adjunct faculty member at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science.”

lauren’s library blog

Blog of Lauren Pressley, Associate Director of Learning and Outreach at the Virginia Tech University Libraries and author of So You Want To B a Librarian.

Pegasus Librarian

Blog of Iris Jastram, “Reference and Instruction Librarian at Carleton College.”

Spurious Tuples

Blog of Catherine Pellegrino, “a reference librarian and the instruction coordinator at the Cushwa-Leighton Library at Saint Mary’s College.”

Walking Paper

“A library design consultancy, shop and blog by Aaron Schmidt.”


ili-l | ILI-L Discussion List

“ILI-L is hosted on the American Library Association server, sponsored by the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and moderated by the ILI-L List Administrator.”

lita-l | Library and Information Technology Association List

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) discussion list.

Professional development opportunities

Online Learning | Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

“ACRL’s e-Learning program provides a unique opportunity to participate in professional development events that are focused on practical, tangible topics and issues.” Sample ACRL e-Learning course: Learning “To Go”: Using the Learning Object Model to Develop Online Instruction.

Referenced in the presentation

About UDL | CAST

“Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone–not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.”

The Principles of Universal Design | Center for Universal Design

Defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

Principles of Universal Design Quick-Reference | Design Research and Methods Journal

“A simple guide that explains and illustrates the principles of Universal Design (UD), providing specific guidelines for implementing UD in any project.”

Rethinking Library Websites with User Experience Design (PDF)

Slides from Aaron Schmidt’s keynote at the 2011 Mississippi State University Libraries Emerging Technologies Summit.

Writing for the Web: Save the Time of the Reader | Walking Paper

“Librarians are already experienced with many types of writing, having written reams of pages for school and thousands of emails on the job. But writing for the web is different and requires a special skill set that isn’t necessarily intuitive or offered as part of a librarian’s graduate studies. Luckily, these skills are easy to understand and can be developed with a bit of practice.”