Library virtual tours: A case study

Library virtual tours: A case study

Research Strategies 20 (2005) 77 – 88 Library virtual tours: A case study Beth Ashmorea,4, Jill E. Groggb,1 a Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Driv...

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Research Strategies 20 (2005) 77 – 88

Library virtual tours: A case study Beth Ashmorea,4, Jill E. Groggb,1 a

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229, USA b Mississippi State University, MS 39762, USA

Abstract Virtual tours delivered via the Web have become a common tool for both instruction and outreach. This article is a case study of the creation of a virtual tour for a university library and is intended to provide others interested in creating a virtual tour of their library the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of fellow librarians. Virtual tours can enhance a library’s Web presence as well as provide much needed information to remote or prospective users. D 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

A January 2002 College & Research Libraries article notes: bAlthough guided tours are still offered in today’s academic library, other tour formats have come (and gone) over the past several decades, often reflecting the popular technology of the timeQ (Oling & Mach, 2002, p. 14). The current popular tour delivery format is the World Wide Web, and virtual tours delivered via the Web have become a common tool for both instruction and outreach. This article is a case study of the creation of a virtual tour for a university library. The purpose of this case study is to provide others interested in creating a virtual tour of their library the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of fellow librarians. Virtual tours can enhance a library’s Web presence as well as provide much needed information to remote or prospective users. 4 Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: [email protected] (B. Ashmore)8 [email protected] (J.E. Grogg). 1 Current address: University of Alabama, P.O. Box 870266, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266, USA. 0734-3310/$ - see front matter D 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.resstr.2005.10.003


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1. Literature review Before undertaking the task of creating a virtual tour, the literature on the topic would suggest two pertinent questions: (1) Is there a need for touring; and (2) What kind of tour should be created, as the innovations beyond the traditional walking tour are many. Library tours represent one of those unique services that most everyone agrees should be offered, but no one can really agree whether or not tours are an essential library instruction service. While this sounds illogical, the literature on this topic, as well as anecdotal evidence, would quickly reinforce this apparent contradiction. Even as early as 1974, tour usefulness was being questioned. Lynch (1974) argued that tours are in fact useful as long as those who are evaluating them keep in perspective the purpose of the tour: Too often, librarians have acted as if users could learn all about a library in a brief tour and, therefore, have tried to cram into users’ heads all kinds of information about using the card catalog, the periodical indexes, the reference collection, while they are on a walk through the building (p. 255).

What often appears to force librarians to question tours is the idea that simply because the tour is not a completely interactive instruction session the tour is not a useful service. Lynch suggests that the tour is merely bThe First StepQ in making users familiar with the facility. Lynch goes on to comment that this familiarity can come from a variety of methods, inperson, self-guided, or otherwise. Like Lynch, Mosley (1997) argues that while the actual information students acquire in tours may be low, the comfort level students have with the library facility increases and therefore warrants the use of the tour as a tool in acquainting students with the library facility. While the usefulness of tours may seem obvious to some, Shirato and Badics’ (1997) comparison of statistics from 1987 and 1995 would support dissatisfaction with standard touring methods. Tours of all kinds were among those activities voted least effective, but the authors do point out that this was out of line with the number of libraries that still continue to offer this service, 82% of libraries in their study. Oling and Mach (2002) have the most recent data on current touring trends. In their survey of ARL libraries, virtual tours were found to be the third most popular form of tours, behind guided and self-guided walking tours. Virtual tours were offered by 21 of 68 responding libraries; the creation and maintenance of these virtual tours was most often the responsibility of the reference and/or instruction departments. Overall, 93% of responding libraries offered a guided tour of the library. In the light of these statistics, there is definitely a strong argument for the addition or continuation of at least some form of touring service. Once the purpose and need for a virtual tour is established, the technology and techniques to use become the next area for discussion and decision. Before looking at the latest literature on innovations in Web-based instruction, it is important to have a firm foundation in basic design principles. Smith’s (2001) Web-Based Instruction: A Guide for Libraries is an example of one source that can provide this foundation. Smith’s book documents the design and development cycle as well as the technical choices of necessary hardware, interface design, and multimedia, including a very useful chart of programming languages to help designers decide how to build in more interactivity. Particularly useful to those designing

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virtual tours is the discussion of navigation and visual design considerations, such as the use of cascading style sheets. For more in-depth information on a particular design technique or technical feature, there are many articles in the current literature that address these individual concerns. Xiao (2000) addresses one of the most recent developments in virtual tours, the use of panoramic or virtual reality (VR) to combine the advantages of guided walking tours and virtual tours. Xiao follows the process of choosing the appropriate software and the technical considerations one must consider in implementing this particular type of online environment. Xiao demonstrates the unlimited potential for combining a variety of media in an online environment to give users an entertaining multisensory view of a facility. Vasse (1995) demonstrates how the virtual tour can become a part of a larger courseintegrated library instruction project. In Vasse’s poster session from the 21st National LOEX Library Instruction Conference, she describes how course instructors used MILT, a compact disc of photographs and information about the library’s resources, to introduce students to a variety of resources. The instructor could then modify the tour itself to include those resources of most import to a particular audience. Boff (2000) highlights two tour alternatives that demonstrate how the standard walking tour can be transformed into an active learning exercise that involves individual discovery for the students involved. Both approaches that Boff describes are applicable in both inhouse and virtual tours, which make their creation and use an exceedingly adaptable approach to touring. Early touring articles carefully work through the process of adapting guided walking tours to the virtual environment. Mosley and Xiao (1996) most notably discuss many of the pitfalls and problems that one can encounter in this transition such as updating URLs and deciding on updating and editing control. Mosley and Xiao also provide a welcome perspective on creating multiple points of access and forms of navigation to reach users with specific information needs and those seeking a general introduction. The virtual tour format has also increased in popularity and use because of the popularity of other forms of online instruction. Kocour (2000) found that by including a virtual tour in their libraries’ basic online instruction tutorials, they were able to ensure at least a basic level of knowledge about the library facilities. Additionally, the virtual tour can allow greater customization in touring, as Downing and Klein (2001) demonstrate. Responding to a growing international population, Downing and Klein created a multilingual virtual tour that could combat the anxiety and confusion that can plague a non-native speaker during a guided walking tour. The translated tour is used for a variety of reasons, including recruitment, library orientation, and even improving English-language proficiency. Virtual tours can introduce the library as another campus resource and not just a place to pick-up books. Frantz (1997) describes how re-thinking tours and the information given in them can bring students to a greater understanding of the library as a center of activity for students and not just a research venue. By introducing students to study areas, meeting rooms, snack bars, computer ports, and other general resources, tours can become about using the library to the student’s best advantage, whatever that may be. This alternative introduction to the library could help in combating resistance to using the library.


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Finally, other walking tour innovations can be transferred to the online environment. Walton, Westphal, Lauer, Munson, and Shedlock (2001) use library open houses instead of tours as a way to combat the apathy and disinterest that generally came with library orientation tours. The open house provides a more entertaining environment to learn about the library and allowed users to visit only those stations that interested them. The virtual tour mimics this environment by providing a more visually entertaining online setting and allowing students to pick and choose those resources that interest them. Clearly, the literature regarding library tours is as varied as the styles of the tours themselves. The innovations in online touring are nearly as plentiful as the arguments for and against it. This case study seeks to advise other libraries on how to approach the technical as well as the political issues involved in adding this library service.

2. Birth of a virtual tour At Mississippi State University, two groups within the library independently concluded that the creation of a virtual tour would be a new project for the library. First, the Library Administrative Council (LAC) noted the absence of a virtual tour and fashioned a directive for the library’s HTML committee (purely a review committee). Simultaneously, the library instruction department decided the creation of a virtual tour would be a goal. Traditionally, library tours have fallen under the purview of reference and/or library instruction departments. Thus, the directive from the LAC, via the HTML committee, came to the library instruction department. As library instruction previously had a virtual tour as a departmental goal, the authors agreed to undertake the project. One of the most difficult, and unexpected, hurdles in the virtual tour creation was the juxtaposition of publicity versus instruction. While the administration broached the virtual tour topic in terms of library outreach, or library publicity, the creators assigned to the tour were instruction librarians, thus exemplifying the somewhat Janus-faced nature of tours. As the creators came to understand, design decisions can be greatly impacted by which is the true goal: publicity or instruction. At first glance, the goals of outreach and instruction do not appear so contradictory. What better way to makes users aware of library services than to teach them how to use those library services? Unfortunately, that which is attractive is not always pedagogically sound. On some occasions, descriptions that would be most enticing to new users are not the most effective at communicating the mission and service of a given department. As will be discussed, the key to resolving most of these conflicts is a clear mission and a desire to compromise. Certainly, the publicity versus instruction debate will not be resolved here. LaGuardia (2003) purports that bmost library instruction is not like other educational or instruction endeavor: it is largely public relations.Q Whether or not one completely agrees with LaGuardia’s bold assertion, it would do those deeply concerned with pedagogy in the library well to heed LaGuardia’s advice to bget a realistic perspective on library instructionQ (p. 40). Ultimately, the authors agreed to create the virtual tour for several reasons. First, whether publicity or pedagogy was the motivating factor, a virtual tour does have the capability to expose more users to the library, which is the overall mission. Secondly, 2 months prior to the

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assignment of the virtual tour, the library instruction department had written a successful proposal for the purchase of Macromedia Flash for two members of the department, one of whom had previous experience with Flash. The virtual tour was an opportunity to learn the instructional possibilities of Flash, conceivably paving the road ahead for future projects. Third, the two library instruction members assigned to the virtual tour task both had HTML and other Web authoring experience and skills, including Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver. Finally, one of the library instruction team members is an amateur photographer and had experience with digital photography and equipment. All this previous experience – with Flash, Web authoring tools, and digital photography – was integral to the project.

3. Choosing the technology A quick browse of library Web sites provides proof that a variety of technologies are being used to create library tours. Everything from straight HTML to 360-degree panoramic shots is used to construct an orienting and attractive Web site. In the case at hand, the creators took a bmiddle-of-the-roadQ technology that was relatively ubiquitous for the given user population-Flash animation. Macromedia Flash is a commonly used format for virtual tours and in a variety of ways, Baruch College’s ( v_tour/) multilingual virtual tour uses Flash to provide smooth navigation and transitions between departments. Bowling Green State University ( library/lib_tour_main.html) uses Flash in a more cinematic fashion using a floor schematic to zoom in and out and describe the variety of services and locations available. The decision to use Flash was not without its concerns. The first concern was usability. Would those most likely to use the tour have the bandwidth and plug-ins necessary to run a Flash movie? In the end, the rather common usage of Flash on the Internet for interactive animation resulted in the final decision that it was an appropriate technology for this project. According to the Macromedia Web site, bIn June 2002, NPD Research, the parent company of MediaMetrix, conducted a study to determine what percentage of Web browsers have Macromedia Flash preinstalled. The results show that 97.8% of Web users can experience Macromedia Flash content without having to download and install a playerQ (http://, retrieved 9-22-02). For those individuals without the proper specifications and bandwidth, the creators also decided to create a simpler HTML version. The second concern was whether the tour creators had enough experience with Flash to take on this project. 3.1. The trouble with flash While the Flash 5 program provides the opportunity for users to build in greater interactivity and creativity into Web sites, the program is also a software package with a fairly high learning curve. Both of the creators were self-taught Flash users—one with previous Flash projects to her credit, the other a complete novice to the program. In the end, the creators compensated for what they lacked in expertise with resourcefulness and compromise.


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The great advantage of learning software in the age of the Internet is that there is a built-in community of users to help, even if the information does not always turn out to be all that helpful. Web sites such as FlashKit ( proved invaluable in providing easy techniques for creating well-known effects such as a scrolling text box, an effect made much easier in the newer Flash MX version. The other key to making Flash work for new users was to know when to compromise about a desired effect. One of the looks that the creators wanted to achieve was the sense of screens sliding in and out of the frame. The slide effect would be used when a department needed more than one page of information. While much Internet searching was done to find out how to achieve this effect, a simple solution was not found from the Web. Instead, the creators decided to come up with a workaround, a fake effect that would give the look of the screen sliding in and out but would only require simple techniques that were familiar to the creators. The workaround turned out to be the cornerstone of many later successes (Fig. 1). 3.2. Roughing out the design In terms of overall design, the compromise between pedagogy and publicity was not a difficult one. From the instruction perspective, the tour needed to be designed to most closely mimic the library building itself, slowly moving virtual visitors from area to area much as they might move from area to area in the physical building. From the outreach perspective, the design needed to be visually exciting. These two general goals, logical procession and attractive design, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Storyboarding is essential for any Flash project, especially one as visual as a virtual tour. Storyboarding was particularly useful when it came to transitions from department to department and the organization of the various elements—text, picture, contact information, appropriate links. Storyboarding also facilitated the mapping of the tour introduction and any directions the user would need to navigate the tour. Additionally, storyboarding on paper

Fig. 1. Sliding effect.

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allowed the creators to envision, collaboratively, the overall look of the Web site. After an unplanned hiatus from the project, the paper storyboards were essential links back to original plans. Because of the ebb and flow of the typical instruction schedule, there were periods of intense progress on the project and then periods of little or no work. The project stalled on a number of occasions when the creators had to wait for approval or materials from other departments. Because a Flash timeline can get rather complex, it was essential to have the paper storyboard as a reference and record of decisions that had been made and problems that had been identified and fixed. Once the paper storyboard was finished, the creators then mapped their ideas in Flash. Sometimes this was done collaboratively and other times it was done individually with the file being exchanged for comments and changes once it was finished. How the electronic mock-up gets made was of less consequence than the division of labor. Early on, the designers identified that while their schedules for time to work on this project often coincided, there would be times when one wanted to forge ahead while the other had other more pressing commitments. This division of labor was beneficial in a number of ways. The first benefit was standardization. When the photographs needed to be resized and touched-up for the tour, it was more efficient to have one individual going through all the photographs to make sure that they were standardized for equal quality and color balance. The next benefit was continuity. By allowing one person to create all of the action script for the non-linear navigation buttons, they all linked in the same fashion and looked the same. Standardization and continuity are also of importance from a usability perspective for the virtual visitor. Consistency and standardization of layout are two of the basic usability design principles for Web-based instruction. Mehlenbacher (2002) asks: bIs there a consistent icon design and graphic display across pages or screens? Are the layout, font choices, terminology use, colors and positioning of items the same . . . ?Q (p. 94). The final benefit to a division of labor was an increase in creativity. Because the designers trusted each other enough to work autonomously, they were able to be flexible about ideas and techniques that were not in the original storyboard. The logo for the entire tour was created by one of the creators working independently for an afternoon. At times, creativity is an isolated explosion rather than a careful deliberation among two or more individuals. While collaboration was integral to the project, a mixture of independent and dependent tasks is valuable. The techniques used to create the sliding motion between slides and the loading screen were both created from browsing Internet Flash tutorials. Of course, browsing is timeconsuming and difficult to do collaboratively, so assigning them to one individual proved to be an effective time-saving measure (Fig. 2). Since the designers had both planned to work on the actual Flash file and they had a fairly tight schedule (2 months was the initial timeline), the chances of each one wanting to work on their particular part of the project at the same time were fairly good, particularly after a meeting where design decisions had been made or problems solved. One way to facilitate this simultaneous work was to have separate files and scenes for separate parts of the project. The short movie introduction to the tour was a separate file that was later added as a separate scene to the rest of tour file. In hindsight, the designers would have liked to have further


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Fig. 2. Tour logo.

divided the separate parts of the project for the sake of editing and simultaneous access to varying parts of the project. 3.3. To map or not to map In the process of designing the screen, four elements were determined to be essential to accurately depict each location: (1) photograph of the location; (2) description of the location; (3) name of the department with contact information and link to any accompanying departmental Web site(s); and (4) a floor map to orient the user to where the department is located on any given library floor. The floor map proved to be a problem. While the MSU Libraries had floor schematics that highlighted the particular departments, these graphical schematics were much larger in size than what a small Flash screen could accommodate. After resizing the map graphic, the designers recognized that the small size made the legend completely unreadable and the picture rather confusing as to just what it was attempting to depict. The designers attempted to obtain the original graphic that was created by another department in the library, but that proved to both be difficult to obtain and risky as there was a distinct possibility that it would still be too complex to have in such a small space. For those reasons, they began to consider removing the maps from the departmental pages. Pedagogy versus publicity is not a one-to-one battle. Obviously, other factors must be taken into consideration. How long would it delay the project to have suitable and readable new maps made? How important was the release date of the virtual tour? Were the maps fundamental to the instructional goal of the tour? Could the goal of orienting the user, a basic instructional goal served by the inclusion of maps, be achieved via other avenues? Ultimately, the designers reached a compromise to make the tour orienting without having the floor maps. It was determined the release date of the virtual tour was important for the fall semester, and it would simply take too long to create new maps. While maps are fundamental to the instructional goal of the tour, there were other avenues to achieve a map-like effect for the virtual visitor. Full-size floor maps are located on the individual department Web sites, which are linked from the tour. Additionally, the designers hoped that by using orienting pictures of the major landmarks and signage for each of the departments, they would provide users with enough visual cues to be able recognize a particular department in the library. Also, the linear navigation was organized such that it would mimic a walk around the library so that users would be experiencing the library in approximately the same order as they would if they were actually walking around the

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library. Finally, the signage within the library is fairly extensive, including many freestanding floor maps. If the tour acquainted users with the names and services located in each department, the in-house signage would direct them to their desired location. 3.4. Designing for your audience’s computer, not your own Another major design roadblock that was encountered was designing the size of the Flash movie and HTML page to fit within the available screen space. Both designers had their screen resolutions set to 1024  768, unlike most of the computers within the library, which are set to 800  600. The resolution issues unfortunately were not detected until the first beta test was conducted with a small group of fellow librarians. Two of the four librarians in the beta test group reported that their screens were cutoff and they were missing the right lower corner. After much investigation, the designers determined that the resolution difference was to blame. After finding a Flash help screen that contained recommended movie size depending on the resolution used (http:// _size01.htm), the designers needed to resize the pictures and reorganize the text and department information. Having checked the resolution before the design process began would have saved a lot of time in both work and troubleshooting. It was also important to check the HTML version of the tour on all browsers. A local computer lab with PCs and Macs allowed the designers to be sure that the coding used would be accessible to as many users as possible and would look roughly the same regardless of equipment. Alternate text was used for all graphics to keep the site disability friendly. Accessibility is another of the factors included in Mehlenbacher’s (2002) basic usability design factors.

4. Helping people get around Deciding on the navigational schema for the project was difficult, as the designers were attempting to accommodate as many navigational styles and preferences as possible. In order to make the tour comfortable for both linear and spatial thinkers and users, the creators opted for both linear and spatial or bjump-aroundQ navigation. Unfortunately, several individuals in the initial and secondary beta test groups were confused by the multiple options for navigation. Based on this confusion, the designers decided to describe both navigational schemas to users in the introduction to the Flash movie as well as on the first screen of the movie. Most navigational decisions were based not on pedagogy or publicity but on fundamental usability principles, such as whether or not users can return to a table of contents at all times. Again, Mehlenbacher’s (2002) list of usability principles proves helpful in determining navigation. In the HMTL version, the creators also attempted to satisfy both linear and spatial users. For the linear user, small arrows were placed at the bottom of each Web page, allowing one to click through the tour like a book. For the spatial user, links to each floor were placed at the top of each page, thus allowing one to jump from floor to floor and from department to department.


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5. Pretty or helpful—do you have to choose? After the secondary beta test, the designers found themselves at an overall design impasse. A debate over wanting pictures that showed areas as users would see them or pictures that made the library look attractive and well used soon ensued. Unfortunately, pictures of doors and signs to orient the user are not nearly as flashy as co-eds thumbing through current journals or groups of students laughing over a cup of coffee. As with other problems encountered during the creation of the virtual tour, compromise was necessary. At times, to satisfy both the outreach and instruction needs of users, the designers simply chose to uses two pictures—one picture which would orient the user and one bactionQ picture, such as library faculty working or library staff assisting students. Such bactionQ or people photographs do personalize the library and make it less intimidating. Further, some areas in the library are simply more visible and easier to locate physically, such as Access Services (which includes circulation); thus, the designers chose to include only an bactionQ picture of a student checking out a book. Some areas within the library, unfortunately, are more difficult to physically locate and possibly more intellectually hidden from the public, such as Technical Services. Therefore, the designers chose to include both a picture of the Technical Services sign and accompanying hallway as well as a picture of library Technical Services staff working. The sliding effect mentioned earlier facilitated the use of two pictures.

6. Clearing pictures and text Obviously, each department in the library wants to be portrayed in the best possible light. Therefore, it is imperative to include each department, particularly in regard to the text about and pictures of a given department. In hindsight, the designers would have sent text and accompanying pictures to each department earlier in the process to reduce any need for backtracking as well as to allow for time for negotiations between the departments and creators to put together the information that is most interesting and most pertinent to new users. By sending text and pictures to each department head and explicitly soliciting approval for both, one can avoid any later miscommunication. For example, one department in the library demanded the use of only bactionQ pictures, and rather than delay the release of the tour, the creators consented and redesigned this department’s portion of the tour. Some delay was inevitable, especially for those departments who wanted specific types of pictures. In some cases, the creators had to take new pictures, or wait for new pictures to be taken. The somewhat disheartening fact was that in some cases the desires of those seeing the tour as a publicity tool simply overruled the instructive elements in the tour.

7. Test, test, and test again Testing proved to be the most important part of the development process. Once a functioning beta was created, it was sent to four other librarians for testing. Not only was this helpful in

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terms of catching problems such as the resolution problems that were discussed earlier, but it was also useful because the beta testers were able to catch everything from typographical errors and missing information to broken links and malfunctioning features. Fellow librarians and library staff members are often the greatest resource for perfecting the tour design and content. It was also useful to employ phases of testers. The first phase of testers were other members of the instruction, reference, and technical services departments. All of these individuals had some Web authoring and technology experience and were therefore able to help diagnosis the problems they encountered as well as describe them accurately and demonstrate them to the creators when necessary. The second phase of testers was the Libraries’ HTML review committee. This committee serves as a group that evaluates any new pages before they are added to the libraries’ Web site. Led by the Libraries’ Webmaster, this group is a mix of technical and public services faculty and staff with a wide variety of technology skill levels. Because many of the larger functionality issues were caught by the first phase of testers, the second phase helped more in fine-tuning the tour from a usability perspective. It is important to note that testing does not require a large-scale effort. Smith (2001) discusses a variety of evaluation techniques as well as the fact that usability testing can require as few as five users to receive useful results. Additionally, the creators wanted the tour ready for the new students in the fall; therefore, there was simply not enough time to perform large-scale testing.

8. Discussion The greatest lesson learned in the creation of this virtual tool was not the use of a particular technology or the importance of a good overall design concept. In the end, the most important lesson dealt with was having a statement of purpose for a project such as a virtual tour. The designers should be clear on whether the tour is being created for publicity, instruction, or a hybrid—which would almost always be the case. The virtual tour, or touring of any kind, can be a highly political library service. The authors were unprepared for the enormity of dealing with the entire library to create what seemed initially to be a small online instruction project. It is rare to have the entire library involved in any one project, and it required the authors to keep perspective on the place of touring within the library’s services. It was at this point that the authors were reminded of the literature on library tours and the reluctance of some to see touring as instructive and worthwhile in the light of innovations in library and information literacy education. This reluctance is not wholly unfounded. The plain fact is that touring may be more publicity than instruction, but with good design, careful use of innovative technology, and recognition of the duality of touring, the exercise can transcend its inherent advertising nature and impart useful and essential information to its user.

9. Conclusion Regardless of the debate over the usefulness of touring, it continues to be a service that is demanded by library patrons. While it may not be as pedagogically oriented as a hands-on


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instruction session, it can serve a variety of other equally important purposes, particularly when librarians and staff are willing to embrace a variety of techniques to transmit information. The virtual tour format is one in which basic information about library facilities and services can be conveyed to a wide variety of users and prospective users in an entertaining, attractive and useful manner. While the technologies to create tour formats come and go, the tour itself remains.

References Boff, C. (2000). Transforming library orientation tours. LOEX News, 27(3), 5, 11. Downing, A., & Klein, L. R. (2001). A multilingual virtual tour for international students. College and Research Libraries News, 62(5), 500 – 502. Frantz, P. (1997). Library rats: Overcoming resistance to libraries. Research Strategies, 15(1), 48 – 51. Kocour, B. G. (2000). Using Web-based tutorials to enhance library instruction. College and Undergraduate Libraries, 7(1), 45 – 54. LaGuardia, Cheryl (2003). The future of reference: Get real! Reference Services Review, 31(1), 39 – 42. Lynch, M. (1974). Library tours: The first step. In J. Lubans (Ed.), Educating the library user (pp. 254 – 268). New York7 R.R. Bowker. Mehlenbacher, B. (2002). Assessing the usability of on-line instructional materials. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 91, 91 – 98. Mosley, P. A. (1997). Assessing the comfort level impact and perceptual value of library tours. Research Strategies, 15(4), 261 – 270. Mosley, P.A., & Xiao, D. (1996). Touring the campus library from the World Wide Web. Reference Services Review, 24(4), 7–14, 30. Oling, L., & Mach, M. (2002). Tour trends in academic ARL libraries. College and Research Libraries, 63(19), 13 – 23. Smith, S. S. (2001). Web-based instruction: A guide for libraries. Chicago7 American Library Association. Shirato, L., & Badics, J. (1997). Library instruction in the 1990s: A comparison with trends in two earlier LOEX surveys. Research Strategies, 15(4), 223 – 237. Vasse, S. J. (1995). Creating dMILTT: A multimedia interactive library tour. In L. Shirato (Ed.), The impact of technology on library instruction (pp. 233 – 235). Ann Arbor, MI7 Pierian Press. Walton, L., Westphal, T., Lauer, B., Munson, K., & Shedlock, J. (2001). No more tours: How library tours of the past become today’s celebrations. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 20(1), 39 – 48. Xiao, D. Y. (2000). Experience the library in a panorama virtual reality environment. Library Hi Tech, 18(2), 177 – 184.