Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Supporting Material for Database Training, or 'Here’s One I Prepared Earlier'

Alison McNab looks at the wealth of resources available for trainers provided by the information service and content providers within JISC-supported services.

Subject librarians will recognise the following situation: you have spent years trying to persuade Department X to let you run some information skills training for their students, but they’ve always said No! Suddenly you get a phone call asking you to provide training next Tuesday afternoon. You know that you’re being asked to “babysit” and in an ideal world you would negotiate a more sensible time that suited the students’ learning experience. However, you also realise that if you turn this opportunity down you may never be asked again! Naturally, your diary is so full that you have virtually no time to prepare between now and next Tuesday…..

Fortunately, if the training session that you want to run includes introducing library users to online resources, much preparatory work has already been done for you by the information service and content providers within JISC-supported services [1]. These organisations produce a wide range of supporting material which may include: PowerPoint presentations (often including scripts) that can be customised for local use, exercises or worksheets, general or subject-specific handouts, and promotional fliers. The summer vacation is an ideal opportunity to explore the materials listed below, but its also useful to know that they are there as a resource when scenarios like the one above occur.

BIDS [2] was the first of the JISC data centres to host bibliographic databases. It provides HTML Guides [3] for all the services it hosts, as well as Search Tips [4]. PowerPoint files [5] are available for information professionals to use in presentations and training courses; these typically include an overview of the BIDS database services, and introductions to the individual services.

EDINA [6] provides a range of documentation [7] to support its hosted services in HTML, Postscript, and PDF. Copies of EDINA quick reference cards and other documentation may be downloaded and photocopied for distribution to users at subscribing EDINA sites. EDINA Online Learning Materials [8] are available in PDF and Word. The EDINA Training Presentations [9] (PowerPoint and HTML) are intended as self-help guides for registered or non-registered users; the PowerPoint files can be edited and/or incorporated into your own demonstrations of local online resources.

JISC Subject Resource Guides [10] are available in HTML – these outline resources in broad subject areas, and provide details of access arrangements. Some resources are free, while others require subscription and /or registration.

JISCMail, [11] which runs the National Academic Mailing List Service, provides documentation [12] including user guides and FAQs in HTML and Word. Their training material [13] includes reference cards, flyers, and subject cards {HTML, PDF and Word).

MIMAS [14] provides a wide range of service-specific documentation [15] for the services it hosts. Paper documentation [16] can be downloaded in PDF or Word and additional service-specific resources are available: training resources [17] for Beilstein CrossFire are available in HTML, PDF, and Word formats; COPAC provides an HTML User Guide [18] as well as HTML and Powerpoint training slides; [19] a wide range of supporting material is available for ISI services [20] in PDF, PowerPoint and Word formats; documentation [21], including practical exercises, is available for the JSTOR Electronic Journal Service in PDF and Powerpoint; and ZETOC Training materials [22] can be found in HTML, PDF, and Word.

Netskills [23] provides a comprehensive range of Internet training materials, [24] which can be used under licence. Use of Netskills training materials is governed by the Standard Licence Agreement together with the appropriate schedule [either an Educational Licence Schedule or a Commercial Licence Schedule]. Forty-one Training Modules are available – most offering a presentation [with speaker's notes] and a set of hands-on exercises in HTML, PowerPoint and Word. Samples from Netskills modules can be viewed, as can case studies [25] showing examples of use.

NISS (National Information Services and Systems) [26] provides Awareness Resources [27] including PowerPoint presentations giving an overview of NISS [and other EduServ divisions] and an RTF worksheet for new NISS users within further education.

The Resource Discovery Network (RDN) [28] is a free Internet service providing effective access to high quality Internet resources for the learning, teaching and research community. The RDN website includes publications [29], publicity and promotional documents [30] in HTML and PDF. The RDN Virtual Training Suite [31] is a collection of forty free subject based tutorials designed to help students, lecturers and researchers improve their Internet information skills. These tutorials offer self-directed learning and include quizzes and interactive exercises; each takes around an hour to complete.

Two of the RDN hubs provide additional resources:

EEVL Documentation [32] includes an EEVL Guide to Engineering Information on the Internet, an EEVL Reference Guide, a RAM Reference Guide, and an Introductory EEVL Leaflet for end users.

SOSIG User Support Materials [33] include promotional posters and fliers; the SOSIG Desktop guide; a range of subject-specific fliers; and the SOSIG workbook. In addition, a range of Training support materials [34] provides resources for user support activities including an event planning guide.

If you are providing training or briefing sessions on aspects of creating and managing digital information the following two services can help:

The Arts & Humanities Data Service [35] provide training materials [36] on the AHDS website, including help in managing your collections and how to deposit digital data with the AHDS. Resources provided by individual parts of the AHDS include: a range of Policy and Guideline Documents [37] from the Archaeology Data Service; Guides to Good Practice [38] from the Visual Arts Data Service; the Oxford Text Archive [39] provides current publications, reports, and presentations on its website; the History Data Service provides guides to good practice and technical information on creating data [40], as well as documentation for The Great Britain Historical Database; [41] and the Performing Arts Data Service are producing a series of Guides to Good Practice [42].

TASI (the Technical Advisory Service for Images) [43] has been set up to advise and support the academic community on the digital creation, storage and delivery of digital image archives. Training resources [44] are available in HTML, PDF, and PowerPoint. The Training section lists TASI’s workshop programme; a list of books and journals that TASI thinks is useful to keep up to date with developments in digital imaging; and online training materials. The Digital Images In Multimedia Presentations (DIMP) [45] consist of a range of tutorials on preparing and manipulating digital images for use in multimedia presentations, and case studies on integrating images into common applications together with information on how different applications handle images.

Please note that, although freely available, some of the services noted above may place restrictions on the use to be made of their materials. In addition, some sites may block access from sites that are not in the ac.uk domain. Links to the majority of resources mentioned above are listed on a webpage which forms part of the UKOLUG website: Database Training Resources - demonstration, training materials, and documentation for end-users [46].


  1. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/services/
  2. http://www.bids.ac.uk/
  3. http://www.bids.ac.uk/info/login/serviceguides.htm
  4. http://www.bids.ac.uk/info/searchtips.htm
  5. http://www.bids.ac.uk/info/login/servicedemos.htm
  6. http://edina.ed.ac.uk/
  7. http://edina.ed.ac.uk/docs/doclist.html
  8. http://edina.ed.ac.uk/docs/olm.html
  9. http://edina.ed.ac.uk/training/
  10. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/subject/
  11. http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/
  12. http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/docs/
  13. http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/training.htm
  14. http://www.mimas.ac.uk/
  15. http://www.mimas.ac.uk/docs/
  16. http://www.mimas.ac.uk/docs/paper.html
  17. http://www.mimas.ac.uk/crossfire/docs.html
  18. http://copac.ac.uk/copac/userguide.html
  19. http://copac.ac.uk/copac/training/html/webdemo.html
  20. http://wos.mimas.ac.uk/documentation.html
  21. http://www.mimas.ac.uk/jstor/jdocs.html
  22. http://zetoc.mimas.ac.uk/support.html#materials
  23. http://www.netskills.ac.uk/
  24. http://materials.netskills.ac.uk/
  25. http://materials.netskills.ac.uk/case-studies/
  26. http://www.niss.ac.uk/
  27. http://www.niss.ac.uk/about-niss/aware/
  28. http://www.rdn.ac.uk/
  29. http://www.rdn.ac.uk/publications/
  30. http://www.rdn.ac.uk/publications/publicity.html
  31. http://www.vts.rdn.ac.uk/
  32. http://www.eevl.ac.uk/document.html
  33. http://sosig.ac.uk/about_us/user_support.html#materials
  34. http://sosig.ac.uk/about_us/trainers.html
  35. http://ahds.ac.uk/
  36. http://ahds.ac.uk/training.htm
  37. http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/policy.html
  38. http://vads.ahds.ac.uk/guides/
  39. http://ota.ahds.ac.uk/publications/
  40. http://hds.essex.ac.uk/create.asp
  41. http://hds.essex.ac.uk/gbhd/docs/db_index.asp
  42. http://www.pads.ahds.ac.uk/padsGuidesSeries/
  43. http://www.tasi.ac.uk/
  44. http://www.tasi.ac.uk/training/training1.html
  45. http://www.tasi.ac.uk/training/dimp/dimp1.html
  46. http://www.ukolug.org.uk/links/training.htm

Author Details

Alison McNab
Academic Services Manager, Pilkington Library, Loughborough University

Email: A.S.McNab@bigfoot.com

From 1 July 2001 Alison will be the Collections Manager, DNER Office, King's College London