VOL. 08, NO. 4; JULY


Educational hypermedia applications: a methodological approach

Donatien Bourdette 


Implementing hypermedia educational applications means much more than just designing and sequencing a few screens. Such an approach is not enough today to support the learning processes envisaged in constructive, collaborative or experiential learning philosophies. This paper proposes instruction as an act of supporting knowledge building on a particular topic, improving the ability of the learner to use the content domain to perform authentic tasks, and providing these tasks with the tools needed to develop the skills of building an informed response and evaluating alternative responses. Hypermedia applications are one such tool the instructional designer can use to support constructionist, collaborative and experiential learning. Understanding hypermedia as an educational technology and its role in educational practice is key to successful learning environments. Moreover, the way to prevent a backlash against the use of this educational technology is to recognize and integrate the technical and pedagogical components of instructional design in a methodologically coherent manner. Rapid prototyping is an ideal approach that facilitates the integration of various agents in educational software development, subject matter experts, educational designers and software developers. However, the gap between expert / professional and non-expert / non-professional developers is narrowing as the modern hypermedia authoring tools are becoming more comprehensive and easy to use. Current authoring tools aim to support both professional quality and do – it-yourself efforts, so the developer of a hypermedia educational application is now often her / himself the educator. Nevertheless, a suitable conceptual model and a comprehensive design process should always be present.

Academic Heads of Department’s management information needs in UK universities

Liane Piedalue 


The number and variety of goals and CSFs identified by Heads of Department suggest that they have had to accept a significantly expanded portfolio of responsibilities and duties than before. While teaching and research were obviously central to departmental activities, department heads also recognized the importance of focusing on resource management, maintaining and developing external links, addressing external demands, attracting students and repositioning their department in the marketplace. In attempting to fulfill these disparate duties, they were generally not well-served by their universities ‘ management information support services. Universities must take much more account of the perceived or anticipated management information needs of academic department heads when planning and implementing information provision strategies. Department heads themselves need more opportunities to familiarize themselves with the issues involved in managing information systems, especially the limitations of such systems, and with what they might expect from a system designed to meet the disparate needs of a variety of potential users. Department heads need to be much closer to consulting on the actual design of management information systems. Universities need to clarify and, if possible, simplify their information provision structure. Management information of potential use to academic Heads of Department may currently be collected, stored and made available (if not always effectively distributed) by a variety of units within institutions, ranging from Registrars, Finance Officers and Management Information Offices to the library through Industrial Liaison Offices, Student Services and Marketing and Public Relations Offices. There is often duplication of effort and confusion about the specific goals and objectives of individual units and the relationships between them and often equally strong reservations on the quality, value and effectiveness of the services they provide. While the range and complexity of the management information required and available may preclude the development of a’ one-stop-shop’ approach to satisfying the management information needs of Heads of Departments, there appears to be scope for better coordinated use of existing information technology to support integrated information services rather than, as in some institutions,a

Investigation of the Sheffield Libraries impact

Carolyn K. Laguna 


Research has shown that for most users, the public library is a service of inestimable value, enhancing quality of life, and fulfilling an essential need that no other pursuit or activity satisfies. It also raises questions about the kind of benefits people get from the public library service and how it determines the frequency and pattern of library use. Particular questions in urgent need of further research are:

  • What has the impact of library closures over the past 5-10 years on people’s lives and, in particular, on various community groups?
  • To what extent have recent changes in opening hours affected people using public libraries?
  • What is the most effective opening hour range and pattern to ensure accessibility for the widest range of socio-economic groups?
  • What determines the value and frequency of public library service?
  • What factors make local library service indispensable, not highly desirable?
  • What is the potential for enhancing educational support for independent local librarians?

Cataloging in ‘ 90s special libraries

Charles C. Taylor 


The cataloging needs of the special libraries surveyed in this study are characterized by their diversity, as evidenced by the predominant use of in-house codes and perceived lack of co-operative schemes utility. Most librarians create quite brief records, mostly shorter than AACR2’s simplest level of description, confirming our initial belief that the “findings list” approach was sufficient. However, our strong impression is of a profession that takes cataloging seriously, as most have had to think a lot about their practices as standard codes are seen as failing to meet the needs of special libraries.

Study of digital ranch development

Linda T. Broderick 


A lack of research on the role of information and information needs currently hampers improvement of information services to rural industries. This paper provides preliminary findings from the first phase of a project investigating the role of information, including the cattle ranching community’s use of networked information services— a major information user group in rural environments. A national survey of 1,600 cattle ranchers and members of America’s Red Angus Association reported selected findings. Results show that the “electronic” or “digital” ranching community is in the early stages of development as early adopters start using networked information services. Implications are derived for cattle ranchers developing digital libraries.