A consortium of 16 libraries (SBBL-Biomedical
Library System of Lombardy) was set up in 1995 by the Lombardy Regional
Authority to provide health sector employees with easy-to-use tools for
up-dating bibliographic and factual data bases, full-text electronic journals
and the document delivery service. This rapidly developing service, is
available in over 130 institutes (hospitals, health authority clinics,
research institutes, universities) to users who are experts in a wide range
From the beginning the SBBL has tried
to train librarians or other personnel to act as consultants and to control
the system and help the user. To this end the SBBL organized educational
seminars on the existing services and how to use them; individual, one-to-one
help is available, with guaranteed back-up via the telephone or e-mail.
Information leaflets are also available. All of this has required significant
time and effort.
Broadcasting of the services available
and user education has been delegated to each of the single institutes,
in some cases with poor results. Today, especially in small/medium institutes,
users still expect the librarian to carry out both data base searches and
provide specific articles either because the user himself is not informed
of the services available or because he is unable to use the system autonomously.
For this reason the SBBL is investing
in the education of the user so that he can all the services access, efficiently
and autonomously, without having to take traditional courses which are
time consuming for both the teacher and the student, but rather can take
advantage of an on-line course.
Faced with users of very different
requirements, as regards both interest and knowledge of the computer, it
was necessary to offer specific materials and tools.
To fit in with the very diverse and
continuously developing educational requirements of the user, the SBBL
has developed a new and alternative kind of course which contains lectures
and practical training. To provide widespread personalised training, we
decided to set up self-study courses available on CD-ROM or via the Internet.
This system enable us to:
The idea is to provide the user of the
SBBL service with an instrument that can be consulted us and when is necessary
according to his presents skills and educational requirements.
overcome the time/space barriers, allowing
the user to choose how and when to learn
share resources, allowing individuals
to optimise access to the network for training
improve the educational content using
different media to aid assimilation
improve handling of the educational
content as the digital version is more flexible than printed matter and
can be easily modified, implemented, moved and distributed.
The task of the librarian is still
to give specific advice, user support and up-to-date information on new
Potential users are not required
to have specific knowledge of the use of the personal computer or the programs
and structure of the data bases.
Aims and objectives
The main aim is to make potential
users of the SBBL aware of the information resources available and be able
to use a PC correctly.
The objectives are:
A. to give basic training in the
use of information tools, i.e. the personal computer, floppy disks, CD-ROM
and the Internet;
B. to provide the basic elements
required in order to use the main data bases available at the SBBL and
also the services offered.
The tool chosen for self training
is the hypermedia due to its ease of use, the possibility to adapt it to
the needs of the user, and for the ability to involve reader/user more
The SBBL multi-media self-study course
on CD-ROM comprised 2 CD-ROMs that came in 2 separate packs so that they
can be used by anybody when and us required.
A. Basic course - to understand the
use of the computer, the Windows 95 operating system, the CD-ROM containing
other programs and\or data bases, and the Internet.
B. Course on the use of data bases
- training in how to use the main bibliographic data bases on both CD-ROM
and the Internet.
A. "Basic Course"
The course covers the following areas:
a. The personal computer and the
Windows operating system:
b. Use of the CD-ROM and its programmes
and/or data bases:
brief introduction to the personal computer
(the significance of hardware);
brief introduction to the software (the
operating systems and programs);
Windows: starting and ending a session
and access to the Internet using a password;
description of the desktop objects (folder,
file, icon, window, etc.);
opening, use of and closing a folder,
file, icon, window, etc.;
detailed description of how to use the
commands, i.e. find, copy, rename, delete, open, modify and save a document.
c. Use of the Internet:
installing, up-dating and uninstalling
description of the main functions present
in the data bases of the CD-ROM and their use;
functions of the Windows 95 operating
system for retrieving information from the CD-ROM and their use;
trouble-shooting for most frequent problems
occurring when using a CD-ROM.
B. "Introduction to scientific data
brief introduction to the Internet and
the main services available (http, e-mail, newsgroup, archie, ftp);
the HTTP, use of the browser for surfing
the Web, use of search enginesto retrieve information from the Web,
extraction and handling of the information from the Web page, collection,
handling and use of URL and its link;
the E-mail service, use of a program
for reading and writing electronic mail, sending and receiving a document
the SBBL service on the Internet, connecting,
structure and use.
The course covers the following areas:
b. Bibliographic Information
Links with the history and the services
provided by the SBBL
Catalogue on-line and on CD-ROM
Retrieving articles, document delivery
A Web page and the data bases, connecting,
structure and its use for searching for and acquiring information
Structure and contents covered
e.Chinal, Evidence Based Medicine, Dare
Structure and contents covered
Scrolling the list of journals
Searching for article titles and abstracts
Downloading full text
1. Each CD-ROM will be installed
automatically (for Windows 95) and therefore easy to access.
2. Each CD-ROM contains an index
so that the user can choose the subject and the level required of complexity.
3. Following this choice, the self-study
course will present the topic by means of links, images, cartoons, video
and vocal comments, illustrating the fundamental aspects in a simple manner.
4. Each CD-ROM includes a few brief
exercises to be done at the end of the course so that the user can test
himself on most frequent operations with video examples.
5. The CD-ROMs are in Italian and
for use with the Windows 95 operating system; where possible, they will
also be able to work on the Windows 3.x system.
6. In this project, CD-ROMs for
use with the MacOS or System 7.x. are not currently available.
This package is a useful tool for
understanding the basic notions of computing and a useful reference guide,
for self-training in the use of the main biomedical databases.
The need to provide specialised
training easily and quickly led to the development of lessons dealing with
single issues, each lasting a maximum of 15 minutes. The contents and the
structure of the lessons are adapted to the subject matter and enriched
with images, examples and exercises when necessary. Each lesson is presented
as a link containing related and interactive images, exercises, tests and
Particular attention was paid to
the choice and preparation of tools for use in surfing the net to make
it easy to understand and simple to use.
Each course has an initial subject
index, allowing the user to choose the topic and the level of complexity
to suit his training requirements.
The courses can be consulted with
a common browser and will soon be freely accessible at the SBBL Web site.
1. How to inform users about resource
sharing Gemelli P., Lazzari L., Pistotti V., Veronesi E. - 8th
International Congress on Medical Librarianship and 7th European
Conference on Health Information and Libraries, London, July 2nd - 5th,
2. SBBL: Biblioteca virtuale, Servizio
reale Veronesi E. The Digital Library: Challenges and solutions for the
new millenium, Bologna, June 17-18, 1999 http://www.aib.it/aib/commiss/cnur/dleveron.htm
3. La biblioteca digitale (2000)
A. Salarelli, A.M.Tammaro, Milano, Editrice Bibliografica. pp. 226-233
4. Comunicare in biblioteca (2000)
V. Comba, Milano Editrice Bibliografica. pp. 93-135