It's advisable to manage your data inside a geodatabase. You can set one up with a few mouse clicks.
Where to find ArcGIS 10
Documentation and Tutorials
Training Seminars and Web Courses
1. Web browser: Online help from Esri.
2. Within ArcGIS: Pull down the Help menu or press the F1 key to access local on-line help in the Windows Help interface.
3. Windows Start Menu: Access Help directly from a choice in the ArcGIS folder (without opening ArcGIS first).
1. Web browser: Tutorial instructions from the Esri website.
2. Within ArcGIS Help (see left column): expand "Essentials Library" and then "Getting Started with ArcGIS Desktop.”
Duke affiliates only can download ver. 9.3 tutorial data (one tutorial at a time as .zip files) when needed. We're in the process of making the ver. 10.1 data available (summer 2013).
3rd Party Tutorials
ArcGIS Introductory Tutorial, University of Arkansas Libraries: A nice intro for social science users, focusing on vector data, but getting dated (based on v. 9.2).
Introduction to GIS and Census Mapping Tutorials using Census data, from Baruch College, CUNY. This has been used with the Duke SSRI classes. The related Gothos.info blog has a lot of useful tips relating to GIS software.
Recorded training seminars from Esri cover specific topics. These are free, and typically are recordings of 1-hour webinars.
These free videos are typically just a few minutes long, and cover a range of specific how-to topics for ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS online, and for several of the desktop extensions and special applications.
Web Courses (Esri Virtual Campus)
(Duke affiliates only)
These online courses (which don’t require separate data) provide training in a wide variety of ArcGIS applications (more in-depth than Training Seminars; more choices than tutorials).
To obtain the access code and instructions to use any of them, you must be a Duke University affiliate and must first contact Peter Harrell with the request for the courses you need. Tutorials consist of one or more 3-hour modules, and the time to take one is estimated from 3 hours up to 21 or more hours total, depending on the topic.
A selection of ArcGIS software manuals are located on the bookshelves in Data & GIS Services cluster (Perkins 226).
Below are a few examples, or check the library catalog for more books.
Some books include tutorial data on a DVD/CD, which can be temporarily installed on the D: drive or in your "my documents" space on computers in Perkins 226.
Lining up data in ArcGIS : a guide to map projections
Understanding Map Projections (general conceptual guide)