Window & screen repair - any good books/sites?

Hi, We have a '67 raised ranch house in Ithaca NY. It was a rental in the late 80s/90s and was in sad shape when the previous owner bought it. He put in new windows on the upper level. Now we have this house and would like to fixed up the lower windows until we can afford to replace them.
The lower level windows are unusually large: 36" x 72" (3 x 6 feet). There are 7 in all and they really help make the basement airy and bright. From what I understand we have single-pane slider windows in the middle of the sill and slider-type storms on the outside. The storms have screens and all the screens are in bad shape - all have torn fabric and two have bent frames. What is weird is that they don't seem to fit in their space in the window frame. I'm almost wondering if an previous owner had replacement screens made and got the size wrong because they seem about 1/4 an inch too wide to fit. Both my husband and I have spent way too much time messing with those windows and screens and trying to figure them out. The previous owners obvious didn't know how either as the screens are in place with wire & duct tape - a pretty sorry looking solution. It could be that I don't understand the situation and there is a trick to this. I'm half tempted to take a screen apart and cut the sides down a 1/4", put it back together just to see if my theory is right about them being the wrong size.
Writing this I recall that some storm windows are designed for the owner to take off the glass and put on the screens. I now wonder if I took off one of the panes of glass, the screen would fit in that slot? Does that sound like what may be going on here?
So does anyone have any information about windows and frames and how screens are supposed to fit into them?
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