V. College Goals and Projects

F. University Library

 

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY  (updated 2.2000)

Committee Members: John Lamborn , Chair; Carol Hansen; Joan Hubbard; Wade Kotter 

In service to the University community, Stewart Library provides access to and instruction for using electronic information resources which enhance and support a high-use core collection of print materials. An integrated library system is used to acquire, catalog, access, and circulate library materials. Electronic access to periodical literature, as well as a growing number of general reference works and subject-specific databases, is provided through compact disc and Internet based databases. An increasing number and variety of information resources are accessed electronically. 

As part of its mission to continue to improve access to materials, the Stewart Library continues to work on the following goals: 

  • continue to acquire generally needed resources, particularly in electronic formats available to a large numbers of patrons 
  • participate in planning, co-ordinating, and implementing consistent campus-wide and off-campus access to electronic sources 
  • continue to participate in projects of the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) to provide for cooperative resource sharing and a statewide integrated library system 
  • collaborate with the campus academic community to provide shared access to discipline-specific electronic resources 
  • to develop programs to train users in locating, using, and managing electronic information 
  • to use the state-wide technology initiative to enhance access to and use of electronic resources and services 
  • to adapt existing Library collections and services in response to new developments in information technology 


Status

Since the 1960s, libraries have experienced exceptional growth in the area of information technology. This process accelerated in the nineties with the upsurge in web-based resources. Library use of information technology is not limited to information resources. All functions of a modern library, from Reference to Circulation to Instruction to Cataloging to Acquisitions, are electronically dependent. Finally the library must juggle the need for electronic information resources and equipment with the need to continue the acquisition of more traditional resources such as books, journals and videos. 

The Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) has been successful in obtaining money for universities wide access to basic databases. The Library has also benefitted from the statewide access to general databases provided by Pioneer. The University and Library development have been increasingly successful in raising private funds to provide for additional information resources. The increasing use of CD-ROMS and web based systems for materials such as encyclopedias and subject specific handbooks (e.g. The Life and Work of Chaucer) mean that not only computer access, but multimedia access is important. 

Weber States commitment to online education continues to stretch library resources. Off-campus access to databases and the provision of document delivery systems are possible, but require new equipment, software, and staff. Many databases charge additional fees for outside access. Use of Stewart Library resources by on-campus and distance learners continues to grow. 

Unfortunately, while donors are often willing to provide information resources, the money for equipment and software to run these resources is rarely forthcoming, despite the fact that the information is unaccessible without the appropriate equipment and software. The Library does its best to recycle and reuse equipment, as well as actively seeking outside funding. However, the fact remains that we are constantly behind in upgrading equipment, to the point that, in some cases, access to information and instruction opportunities are compromised. 

ARCC grants provided to the Library in recent years have allowed the Library to make progress toward its goal of improving access to information resources for members of the University community by providing equipment, software and licensing fees.  Recent grants have resulted in :  (99) replacement of the failing projector in Classroom 31, and implementation of a networkable CD-ROM tower in Reference; (98) replacement of  the Ariel workstation for Interlibrary Loan, and upgrades of public workstations in Reference; (97) implementation of a government documents workstation to provide access to federal government CD-ROMS previously kept in storage, and implementation of the proxy server for remote access to IP restricted full-text databases. 

The Library is grateful to ARCC for its past support. Over the next 3-5 years, we will need additional support in the following areas: 

Reference and Information Services

The Reference and Information Services area provides access to and help using library resources. At this time, approximately 65 databases plus library catalogs are networked on 31 computers, 2 located at the desk for staff use. There are 7 stand alone stations used for databases licensed to a single station. In addition, mediated access is available for 3 expensive database vendors: Dialog, STN, and FirstSearch. The increasing number of databases accessed over the web and the increasing number of multimedia resources mean that, barring major changes in technology, reference computers will require upgrading approximately every 3 years. Thanks in part to ARCC funding, Reference workstations were replaced or upgraded in summer 98. 

The reference area currently has a total of 38 computers. We have workstation slots for an additonal 12. Outlets are available to expand to another 12-24 stations with relative ease. Because of current usage and the cost of updating equipment and software for stations we currently have, we do not expect to expand the number of computers in the near future, but would hope to expand by 12 within the next 5 years. 

The WSU-Davis Branch Library, part of Reference, has 3 computers that are less than two years old. We anticipate that these computers will last approximately 4 years, barring major changes in databases and software. Because of space limitations at the facility, we would add a maximum of 2 more computers. Usage does not warrant any additions at this time. The plans for the WSU-Davis campus include plans for a library building. While all efforts will be made to acquire equipment with the building funds, this new building will significantly add to the numbers of computers maintained by the library. 

Instruction

The library maintains an active program of instruction, including both formal classes and a large numbers of workshops and informal class sessions. Given the nature of information resources, it is impossible to teach these classes without student access to library computers. The library currently has two multimedia classrooms. Room 138, with 27 computers, was upgraded with gift funds during the summer of 98. Because of the cutting edge use these computers are put to, they need to be upgraded every 2-3 years. The 26 computers in Room 31 are 2 years old. Other equipment in the classrooms, such as the Elmo and other display units, will probably be usable for the next 3-5 years, barring major changes in technology. However, use of both classrooms is heavy and the need exists for another classroom and/or a "mobile" instruction station which can be used in Special Collections as needed.

Bibliographic Services 

Bibliographic Services is that portion of the library responsible for purchasing, cataloging, and processing library materials. All of these functions are computer-based. Bibliographic Services uses modules of the Horizon integrated library system developed for these functions. The system initially required use of OS/2, but as of spring of 99 all will be changed to an NT based system. The computers in this area are expected to perform at an acceptable level for another 1-2 years, barring major changes in technology. Cataloging also requires access to OCLC, the national cataloging utility. Use of OCLC requires additional computers and special machinery, which has been updated in the past year and is expected to last a minimum of 2 more years. There are 19 workstations in Bibliographic Services, of which approximately 8 have OCLC connections. These stations are expected to perform at acceptable levels for another 2-3 years. 

Access Services

Access Services consists of Circulation Services (which includes Current Periodicals and Microforms) Media/Reserve Services, and Interlibrary Loan. Computers in these areas are used to check out materials for circulation and in-house use. Media maintains VCRS, cd players, tape players, and other equipment needed to use the librarys multimedia holdings. Media equipment is currently in good shape, and barring major changes in technology, is expected to last at least 3 years. The library expects to purchase at least one DVD player in the near future. A decision has been made to implement an electronic Reserve system, to provide web access to course materials. To do so will require the purchase of special software, a scanner, and another NT server. There are 12 workstations in Access Services. Five stations may not be Y2K compliant and should be replaced in the summer of 99. The remaining stations are expected to perform at acceptable levels for the next 2-3 years... barring major changes in technology.   ILL has 3 computers with OCLC capabilities, the Ariel workstation and a fax. Implementation of an automated ILL system (such as ILLiad) and a planatary scanner to expedite digital reproduction of print materials is planned for the near future.  Both will greatly expand the lending/borrowing capabilities of the library.

Faculty and staff computers

Most library faculty and staff, by the nature of their jobs, are constant computer users. However, the high end users requiring high capacity PCs are limited to the Systems Team (7 computers), the Reference & Information Services Librarian, the Instructional Services Librarian, and the Library Secretary. These computers need to be upgraded approximately every two years. The library rotates computers from high end uses to lower end users as they age. The higher end computers are rotated to faculty and staff, based on their usage and needs (e.g. this past summer, CPUs removed from Reference were used to upgrade the oldest/slowest CPUs used by staff). There are currently approximately 13 faculty computers and 29 staff computers. These computers need to be upgraded every 3 years or so to keep up with changes in database software. Current faculty computers are no more than 1-2 years old. The lowest end computers are used for public library catalog stations in low-security areas. Barring major changes in technology, these computers need to be updated every 5-6 years. 

Library Servers

The Library maintains several servers to run its information resources. Barring major changes in technology, these servers will require replacement approximately every 4 years: 

Horizon server houses the librarys integrated system the public and technical modules. The server is currently 2 years old and has a service contract. It is expected to last at least another 5 years. 

Novell/CD network server is about 2 years old and is expected to last to about 1999. Although many information resources are moving to the web, there are still a large number of more specialized resources that will remain on CD-ROM for the foreseeable future, as well as other internal network needs. 

Webpac/RSS server provides off-campus access to the library catalog.   It was upgraded in 1999 and is expected to serve our needs through 2001. 

Proxy server provides remote access to license-restricted databases. Funds to purchase this server were provided by ARCC in 1998 (Thank you!). In operation since Fall of 98, the proxy has proven extremely popular with the University community. It is expected that the server will last 2-4 years.  However the complexity of setting individual PCs to use the proxy is too much for many users.  A simpler form of access is required.  The library will most likely migrate to a "remote authentification system" by 2001. 

3M Self-Check server provides for patron empowerment by allowing users to check-out books without assistance from Circulation staff. This server was brought into service during the summer of 98 and use has increased steadily since implementation. 

Library Computer Lab

The Library computer lab is jointly administered by the Library Systems Team and Academic Computing. The Lab was upgraded Fall 1997. It now has 35 PCS and 3 Macs. Due to the extremely hard usage experienced by lab computers and the need for current software and equipment, it would be best to upgrade the lab every 2 years. Realistically speaking, that boils down to as often as can be afforded. Current equipment needed to enhance the lab includes a color printer and scanner and a workstation to run them from, so that heavily used student stations are not impacted. 

Projects

Planetary Scanner
Rationale:   Bound volumes present a problem for projects requiring the transfer of information from print to electronic format.  Currently a photocopy of the printed page is made, then the photocopy is scanned  for conversion to electronic format.  This places undue stress on the binding of the volume, adds to the cost and workflow of the process, and is generally inefficient.  Purchase and implementation of a planetary scanner (aka “book scanner” or “publication scanner”) would allow for direct scanning and format conversion.  This would improve the operation of the Interlibrary Loan Office, permit a broadening of  the scope of the library’s  document delivery service, and provide an opportunity to develop format conversion projects for Special Collections..
 

Workstations for Persons with Disabilities
Rationale: Neither the library’s classrooms (2) or its Reference & Information Services area have a workstation suitable for use by persons with disabilities.  Such stations should have a large monitor, a special keyboard, and reading/viewing software installed for the vision impaired.  One station in each classroom and one in Reference is recommended. 
 

Remote Authentication System
Rationale:  During the last two years the library has been pleased to offer remote access to restricted databases via its proxy server.  However, the complexity associated with configuring a personal computer to use the proxy server has frustrated a large number of “remote” patrons.  To alleviate the problem, the library intends to replace the proxy server with a Remote authentication System.  Use of the latter will do away with the necessity of individual PC configuration and thereby improve service to WSU’s distant learners. 

“Mobile” Teaching Station   
Rationale: Use of the library’s two electronic classrooms has grown steadily in recent years and there is a definite need for another such facility.  Since neither the physical space or the funds are available to construct an additional classroom, the library recommends construction of a “mobile” unit that duplicates the setup of a classroom teaching station.  This unit would then be used in Special Collections as needed


Weber State UniversityOgden, Utah 84408

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