Video and computer assisted instruction (CAI) were used in combination to create an instructional program for Open Learning students who are novice library users. An important requirement was to enable the students to develop generic skills that could be applied to any library and catalogue system. The instructional analysis involved identification of strategic knowledge applied by expert librarians, and analysing this to reveal the declarative and procedural knowledge base necessary to carry out search tasks. The instructional materials used a design strategy that involved cognitive modelling of the relevant processes in the video material, and also in the CAI package where the student is able to practice all skills and to gain experience of the range of catalogue systems available. The instruction focuses on learning strategies that will enable the novice user to use an unfamiliar catalogue system by understanding basic attributes and having the ability to locate appropriate instructions and be able to relate these to standard search procedures.