These "critters" are thriving well and abound over the entire continental U.S. More and more universities are adding OWL components to their existing writing center programs at a prodigious rate. The following is of necessity only a partial listing of the species and focuses on the already well-known, fully established OWLs.
- Helsinki University of Technology
- Although this site is not technically an OWL, it is nonetheless an impressive and unique cousin. Started in 1993 by Ruth Vilmi, the site boasts a truly international Email Writing Project. Students from across the world in Asia, Europe, and North America come together to share indeas and insights about numerous academic and technical topics. The primary goal of this project is to allow students the opportunities to practice communicating in English. The "Individual Writing Exchange" is a forum where writers from differing "rhetorical backgrounds" consider ways to make their writing more effective on the international stage. One can only hope that more projects of this scope and type grow along with the already more established OWL species.
- Michigan Technological University
- Michigan Technological University OWL's home page is one of most attractively designed of the species. Simple to navigate, the home page comprises a set of three color-coded links to general information, services offered, and paper and web resources. One of the most appealing features of this OWL is its bibliography of their "favorite books and articles that have helped [them] work with their students." The links MTU provides to other OWLs is also extensive.
- Purdue University OWL
- One of the oldest and most venerable of its kind, the Purdue University OWL publishes the most extensive and comprehensive writing handouts. Virtually all other OWLs on the web contain a link to this OWL, and wisely so. The Purdue OWL publishes handouts on grammar, punctuation, spelling, ESL, general writing concerns, research paper and citation information, as well as on business and technical writing. Links to Internet research engines are also provided.
- Renssalaer Writing Center
- This attractive OWL not only offers online help for both common writing problems and reference tools, but also provides a link to Cristian Perez's Internet Resources for Technical Communicators. Moreover, the site provides concise and extensive handouts on a variety of writing contexts such as abstracts, cover letters, laboratory reports and resumes. These handouts provide information on the kind of document itself--definitions and contents--as well as stylistic concerns, a process guide to producing the document, and examples. RPI also provides an extensive list of web-based and gopher-based writing centers and resources, including links toThe Chronicle of Higher Education, ERIC, and The Gutenberg E-Text home page.
- The University of Maine Writing Center Online
- The University of Maine has produced an attractive, easy-to-navigate, and informative OWL. Most of the information deals with the University's onsite writing center, but a wide range of links are provided to other sites. One of the items that makes this site especially noteworthy is the myriad links provided to foreign language dictionaries and ESL resources. The links provided to other online writing centers and labs is probably the most extensive listing of OWLs anywhere.
- University of Oregon
- Also known as "WORD,"the University of Oregon's Writing Online Resource Directory, this OWL again provides services primarily for its own students and composition program. While it includes an online grammar hotline (lesyk@oregon), the other resources provided are geared to the courses offered, instructor's home pages, and handbooks.
- Virginia Tech OWL
- Although primarily serving only onsite students, Virginia Tech's OWL is well on it's way to becoming a true bird of the cyberspecies. The site provides a grammar hotline, a self-serve gopher (under construction), and an electronic tutoring environment. The grammar hotline is conducted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the electronic tutoring environment currently requires a student to go to the writing center itself to schedule an appointment and to drop off a copy of the paper.
- Webb School of Knoxville Online Writing Lab
- Although this site offers no offsite services, this OWL is probably the first to be developed specifically for middle school and high school students. The site offers tutor and teacher resources for talking to students about their writing. In addition, the Writing Center hosts presentations from community writers. A truly impressive venture, this species of OWL will hopefully flourish in time.