refer to my site only as reference for using a rear stand and the "big honkin phonebook" idea for supporting the rear tire while sliding out the axle. but for a '97, the axle diameter's smaller and the tools required vary.
The spacer is common to many different Ducati models and way too many people have installed it backwards with the narrow side against the swingarm, because it looks like it can fit that way. It will chew up the swingarm if you get it in backwards.
The only other tricky part is getting the rear wheel aligned after you put it all back. Don't trust the alignment marks on the swingarm. Better to use a tape measure, the string method, or the long straight-edge method. Even just eyeballing it from the front is probably more accurate than those morks.
I have always used the marks to align the tire and now you have me thinking that my allignment could be off.
Is the string method just tying a piece of string somewhere on the front of the bike and pulling back?
Where do you tie it?
What do you measure it against?
With the string method, you wrap a long length of string around the rear tire once then run one length up each side and past the front wheel. You position each piece of string so that it is just barely touching the leading edge of the rear tire and use the string as your straight edge. You then measure the distance of the string to the front tire. If you have dual front brakes, it's easier to measure to the brake rotors.
A big straight edge like a flourescent light tube or a carpenter's level is easier to work with. Personally, I trust my tape measure to be close enough and it's plenty easy to use. If I had a long straight edge handy, I would use that method, though.