Association of College & Research Libraries

Research materials: Now only keystrokes away

Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Forest Resources and the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences have begun using an exciting new electronic delivery service being pilot-tested by the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries. Researchers can now receive journal articles and other library materials via the computers located in their offices, laboratories, and research facilities. The Electronic Document De- livery Service (EDDS) automates, from the researcher’s perspective, the entire process of re- questing and receiving research materials retrieved from other libraries’ collections.

The EDD Service represents the second stage of a larger cooperative research initiative lead by the NCSU Libraries entitled the NCSU Digitized Document Transmission Project (NCSU DDTP). The NCSU DDTP is in- vestigating the feasibility of delivering library ma- terials electronically be- tween research libraries and across campus net- works to the individual researcher. The 14 land- grant libraries participat- ing in the NCSU DDTP use commercially avail- able computer equip- ment to scan or “digitize” requested research ma- terials and transmit the digitized documents via the Internet to the requesting libraries. The EDD Service includes a mechanism that automatically notifies the researcher that the material has arrived at which point the researcher accesses the campus network and retrieves the document. The digitized document is a replica, “a picture,” of the original material that can include both text and graphics.

The NCSU DDTP project has already established that print copies of digitized documents rival high-quality photocopies. The digitized documents can be readily transmitted across heterogeneous computer platforms and imported into standard text or graphics software packages. The NCSU DDTP project builds upon the findings of an earlier demonstration study on the transmission of digitized documents conducted from April 1989through September 1990 by the NCSU Libraries, the University’s Computing Center, and the National Agricultural Library.

The EDD Service consists of two components: electronic mail messaging and direct delivery/pickup of the digitized documents. The messaging system allows researchers to place their article requests via e-mail to project staff in the Interlibrary Center (ILC). The direct-delivery component allows the researcher to retrieve the digitized document(s) from a central campus fileserver via the campus network. The service delivers the requested material directly to the researcher in a machine-readable form. The service is not limited solely to the delivery ofjoumal articles; any type oflibrary information that can be captured in digital form or that already exists in digital form can be delivered over the Internet and across campus networks to the researcher.

Members of the NCSU Digitized Document Transmission Project Team (left to right): Lisa T. Abbott, Eric L. Morgan, Marti A. Minor, and Tracy M. Casorso.

The Natural Resources Library (NRL) staff as- sists patrons that are not connected to the campus network by providing network access through a project workstation lo- cated in the NRL. The pilot service is sched- uled to be implemented at a second site— NCSU’s Burlington Textiles Library—and available to researchers of the College of Tex- tiles in early February 1992.

Lisa Abbott, who re- cently joined the NCSU DDTP team as assistant project manager, is overseeing the EDD Service while working closely with the library staff in the ILC—CarolynArgentati, head of the NRL and Sam Moore of the university’s Computing Center—to implement and refine the EDDS model. The pilot service has been made possible through the Apple Library of Tomorrow (ALOT) equipment grant. The DDTP is funded by a U.S. Department of Education Title II-D Research and Demonstration grant and by the participating institutions.

The 12 land-grant institutions participating with NCSU and NAL in the NCSU DDTP are: Clemson University, University of Delaware, Iowa State University, University of Maryland at College Park, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Utah State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Washington State University.—Tracy M. Casorso, Project Manager, NCS U Digitized Document Transmission Prcject, North Carolina State University Libraries

While we all know the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of library records, sometimes requests come in that may seem quite reasonable. It is important to remind ourselves of the many situations in which it is not appropriate to reveal information about library records. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a task force chaired by circulation librarian Merri Hartse developing a policy on the confidentiality of library records. Part of their policy document includes the following “Examples of requests for library information that are confidential and must not be honored” that we thought C&RL News readers might find helpful.

Examples of requests for library information that are confidential and must not be honored

Circulation and Patron Records

1. A request for the circulation records of a faculty, student, staff or other library card holder by someone else.

2. A request by a faculty member for the identities of students who borrowed reserved items.

3. A request to review the circulation records of a student suspected of plagiarism.

4. Arequesttoseeinterlibraiyloanbonowingrecords.

5. A request for addresses, phone numbers, I.D. numbers or other personal information contained in the patron database.

6. A request to see a list of individuals who are not members of the university community but who have been granted library borrowing privileges.

7. A request by a parent for information such as fines or other fees by the hbrary to Student Accounts Receivable without the student’s permission.

Other Examples

1. A request for the name of the person who has signed out a particular item.

2. Arequestto reviewpast use of study room, listening room, study carrel or CD-ROM work station.

3. A request to reveal the nature of a patron’s reference request or database search.

4. A request for the names of persons who have used audio-visual materials.

5. A request for a list of items photocopied for or telefaxed to a particular patron.

6. A request for a list of suggested acquisitions submitted by a particular patron.

7. A request from law enforcement authorities for the identity of anyone conducting research on a particular subject.

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