The small booklet that is labled Italian Sourdough Starters (came with mine for free free), is very basic and easy to follow. There are only really two pages of directions on maintaining and starting the cultures. Everything you need to know is spelled out pretty simply there, but I know I was nervous about possibly messing up. Guess what, I DID! If you do a search on the forum you will find some posts from others about what they did wrong, and advice from the experienced. Here is what I did wrong.
For the first few days of feeding it really does not seem like anything is happening at all. You are supposed to feed them on a set schedule. The book says that after the first signs of activity you can start feeding them every 6 to 12 hours. I ended up not being around to feed them for a lot longer than recommended, and when I got back I found the the culture had peaked, expanded to spill out all over my counter, and fallen back. This must have happend right after I fed it, and it had sat for way too long with no food after peaking. I think I had forgotten that I was on the 6 to 12 hour feeding schedule, and thought it was OK to leave them unattended for 24 hours. Normally this is not a big deal when the cultures are mature, but since the starters were in the activation stages this really set me back. Luckily Marco came to my rescue and told me that I had just let the culture over acidify, and recommended a procedure for getting everything back to normal. The problem is that it took me so long to get the cultures to recover I was sure I had killed them. Sure enough these resilient little buggers ended up pullling through and becoming my prised possesion!
Bottom line here is keep an eye on them and be ready for that first time they explode with action. At that point they will need a feeding very soon after. Follow all of Eds instructions to a T. Get the temp right (my oven with the light on and the door cracked was perfect). Get the feeding schedule right. Measure out the flour and water. Discard the right amount each time. If you follow all that is in the booklet (unlike big old dummy me) , you will surely be successful. Also just remember that these things are actually hard to kill. I remember a fellow forum member who got to the point where the culture spilled out, and they threw the whole mess away. Don't be discouraged, because you will be rewarded.
GOOD LUCK, and feel free to ask any more questions.