IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: I9

ER, or Panacea for distance learners?

Antonio Rodarte, University of Texas at El Paso

Mieko Yamaguchi, University of Wales Bangor

Antonio Rodarte presented the nuts and bolts of implementing the electronic reserves module at University of Texas at El Paso. Installation of the client software took 3-5 days and required III support. The hardware requirements included a 4 gigabyte hard drive partition on the III server, high end PC's, a high end scanner, and a network printer. Additional software requirements included Windows 98 or higher, a Java enabled browser, and scanning software, supplied by III.

To use the electronic reserves module requires the creation of course reserve records, brief bibliographic records, and scanned TIFF document files that are linked in the character based system and displayed in the Web OPAC. Course reserves are an option on the OPAC menu and can be searched by course name or instructor. Users can obtain copies by selecting the items that say "electronic copy available" and by typing in their name, barcode and pin number.

Rodarte identified both advantages and disadvantages of using the electronic reserves module. The advantages include: increased access to resources for authorized remote users, facilitating distance education courses, and reduced staff effort in public service lending and reprocessing items. Reserve materials can be activated and de-activated according to course offerings. UTEP plans to interface the reserve module with their Campus Pipeline web-based platform, increasing ease of access. The disadvantages of electronic reserves include: the difficulty in installing the module, the process of setting up the reserve records is time consuming, there is poor image resolution, and the inability, at this time, to restrict access to a single class (available in Release 2002).

The second presenter, Mieko Yamaguchi, discussed how electronic reserves are utilized at the University of Wales Bangor. UWB decided to outsource the digitization of reserve materials, because of staff constraints, and are participating in a UK-wide project to build a databank of journal articles and book abstracts with copyright clearance. Sample examinations are also available on electronic reserves and very popular with the students. A Release 2000 enhancement made it possible to import files in multiple file formats, such as PDF, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and JPEG, and files on remote servers can be linked to course reserve records through a URL.

The images are linked to the bibliographic record through the 962 field and these records are unsuppressed and integrated with the course reserve records for physical items. Author's names are entered into the brief bibliographic records in authorized form to improve access. Electronic materials appear in the order they were scanned, the number of characters is limited, and clicking on the item brings the user directly to the patron verification screen without a chance to view the full bibliographic record. Possible enhancements include: having more characters display, include the ability to re-arrange the order of the display, an option to view the full record with a view this item button.

Statistics on electronic reserves usage are available through Web Management reports and are easily downloaded into a spreadsheet application. In place of a publisher code UWB uses the course number. Fields for course information and patron type are recommended enhancements.

Yamaguchi ended with these suggestions for serving distance learners: provide written "how to" instructions, make sure patrons have barcode and pin numbers, publicize electronic reserves extensively, encourage faculty to make use of electronic materials, consider integrating electronic books, and be aware, downloading time may be a problem.

Included on the handout are instructions for downloading article access report files into Excel and a bibliography of electronic reserves resources.

Q & A Highlights

1) Do the exams include best answers? Yes, they could be typed or hand written if required.

2) Does the library handle copyright? In UK copyright clearance is very time-consuming. This is why UWB is taking part in a project. Limiting access to a single class is needed for copyright compliance though difficult to enforce in practice. The copyright statement appears on the verification screen, but the source appears only on the bib record. Activation and deactivation helps copyright requirements.

3) Do you ever have requests for the same article at the same time? Multiple simultaneous uses are rare but Electronic Reserves allow simultaneous access to the same article by multiple users.

Mary Anne Golda, Roger Williams University