College & Research Libraries News

News from the Field

Mary Ellen Davis

Univ. of Maryland a customer service winnerThe University of Maryland (UM) McKeldin Library Reference Information Desk staff recently won third place in the campuswide UM Welcome Challenge.

During the first week of classes, unannounced and anonymous student evaluators visited and phoned the 55 service and office areas on campus that had entered the competition. The evaluators rated the competitors on various aspects of customer service; winners were treated to a trolley ride and lunch with university president William E. Kirwan. Sonia Bernardo, Yu Wsiu Wang, and Natalie

Ateto represented the library and accepted the plaque on behalf of the library.

In preparation for the competition the library added a welcome banner, staff wore special buttons, and the facilities were spruced up. However, Sonia Bernardo, student supervisor and manager, Information Desk, was confident that her staff and student assistants could compete with any service area on campus. “Since the day they were hired,” she said, “I have trained them to provide good customer service at the Information Desk. I tell them to be friendly, helpful, considerate, hospitable, competent, and informative.”

George Bush visits Texas A&M Library

President George Bush visited with Texas A&M University library dean Fred Heath and viewed a digital demonstration in the new Policy Sciences and Economics Library (PSEL) during the dedication of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Wednesday, September 10. The PSEL provides access and services for students, faculty, and staff in political science, economics, and the Bush School through electronic and print resources. The approximately 5,000 square foot library is housed in the George Bush Presidential Library Center. The PSEL offers a limited, specialized collection of periodicals, reference works, and current monographs in political science, government and public service, and economics. It also provides access to electronic journals, databases, and the Internet.

Dean Heath said, “The Policy Sciences and Economics Library represents a dual partnership in which we take great pride. It strengthens the bonds between the library and the College of Liberal Arts faculty whose specific disciplines we serve. And it forges a new alliance with the Bush Presidential Library and Museum which will open in November. These relationships affirm Texas A&M’s commitment to providing outstanding library resources.”

Past exams on the Web at UConn

The University of Connecticut’s Babbidge Library has loaded more than 500 previously used course exams on the Web as part of its Electronic Course Reserve (ECR) project. The exams file, known as the X-File, is part of a fouryear effort to digitize and network as much course reserve material as possible. The file can be accessed at

President George Bush and Texas A&M University library dean Fred Heath at the dedication of the new Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in September.

Students are enthusiastic about the timesaving aspect of the new X-File. No longer do they have to visit the library, wait for their turn to view the materials, and then wrestle with the photocopier. Now they can get the information from the nearest networked computer.

Guided by the Reserve Services coordinator, and with the help of a programmer, student employees scanned the file of paper exams and then linked them to an academic department index from which they are accessible by course name, number, and instructor. Scanning time will be minimal in the future, since faculty now send their exams to Reserve in digital format whenever possible. Library staff are also benefiting from the switch to electronic access. The labor-intensive process of creating and maintaining a multicopy paper file has been eliminated, and repetitious charging and discharging of exams, one of the most heavily circulated materials on reserve, has been reduced. For additional information, contact Dipa Roy, Reserve Services coordinator at or (860) 486-2307.

ACRL’s WESSWeb wins award

The German newsweekly Die Zeit recently named WESSWeb, the Web service of ACRL’s Western European Specialists Section, as one of 67 key sites in the emerging digital libraiy. In a four-part article, reporter Dieter E. Zimmer identified the major issues confronting Internet users today and singled out WESSWeb for its efforts to provide easy access to information, especially electronic texts.

Zimmer’s article is available on the Web at WESSWeb is managed by ACRL member James Campbell, who is director of library technology services at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. WESSWeb is at

ALA hosts first Volunteer Day at 1998 Midwinter Meeting

As part of ALA president Barbara Ford’s theme, “Global Reach, Local Touch,” ALA will hold its first Volunteer Day at the 1998 Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans. The event, cosponsored by the Louisiana Library Association, will give volunteers the opportunity to promote library services, make a personal contribution to the local community, and have a model to replicate in their local communities.

Says Ford, “My first experience with a volunteer opportunity at a conference was with the National Peace Corps Association. Conference participants had the opportunity to contribute to the community where the conference was held and to add a rewarding experience to the conference. Community volunteer activities are now being added to some other association conference. The ALA conference volunteer activities will provide local touch’ and reach out to the local community in the conference sites as well as provide examples of activities that might be adopted at state association conferences.”

Activities such as read-alouds, puppetry, Internet training, storytelling, and shelf reading will take place at area libraries including the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Libraries, New Orleans public schools, Dillard University, and Southern University. Volunteers must register in advance; the September American Libraries included a registration form. Transportation will be provided to and from the local libraries. As more information becomes available, it will be posted at http://info.jefferson.lib.

STS offers collegial counsel

The Continuing Education Committee of ACRL’s Science and Technology Section (STS) is offering assistance to those new to science librarianship. Coined “Collegial Council,” the new service provides a listing of 42 experienced individuals who are willing to help less-experienced librarians with all aspects of librarianship. Do you have to provide reference service, build the collection, evaluate collections and services, organize/shift stacks, create a homepage, design flyers, etc.? If your job has ever required you to do something you did not learn in library school, Collegial Counsel may help. The next time you are asked to do, write, shift, present, catalog, teach, organize, or administer something for your job and do not know where to start, turn to STS’s Collegial Counsel resource list. The list includes the names of volunteers, their areas of expertise, and contact information. You may choose to contact anyone on the list whose experience and expertise matches your needs or interests. Experienced sci/tech librarians willing to share their expertise are also sought. For more information or to request the list, send your name, position title, work address, e-mail address, and phone number to: Kathleen “Pix” Fleming, Science & Engineering Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202; e-mail: kflemin@; phone: (313) 577-6310; fax: (313) 577-3613. Please specify how you would prefer to receive the list (U.S. mail, e-mail, or password-protected Web site).

STS deadline for sci/tech abstracts: Nov. 21

ACRL’s Science and Technology Section’s (STS) Forum for Science and Technology Library Research Committee wants your research for presentation at the 1998 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Send an abstract not exceeding 250 words by November 21, 1997. Details about the submission and selection process were published in the October issue of C&RL News and are available on the Web at For information or questions, contact: Tamera Lee, Auburn University, AL 36849-5606; phone: (334) 844-1749; fax: (334) 844-1758; e-mail: TammyLee@Lib.Auburn.Edu

NOTIS creator replaces automation software with Endeavor’s Voyager

Endeavor Information Systems Inc. announced that Northwestern University will convert to Voyager, Endeavor’s information management system for academic and research libraries.

Northwestern was a library automation leader in the late 1960s and early 1970s, developing a number of firsts in research library automation: first online system, first circulation system, and first online catalog with realtime circulation status. Under the leadership of former university librarian John P. McGowan and his colleagues James Aagaard and Velma Veneziano, NOTIS (Northwestern Online Total Integrated System) became the system of choice for many large academic and research libraries. In 1987 Northwestern formed NOTIS Systems, Inc., a wholly owned company whose mission was to actively market the system.

Jane Burke, former president of NOTIS and now Endeavor’s president and CEO, said, “This is both a wonderful and humbling opportunity for Endeavor. To put the Voyager system into the mother library of NOTIS is probably every library automation company’s dream.”

David Bishop, Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian, stated that “the purchase of the Voyager system represents a major commitment by the university administration, Information Technology Division, and the library to enhance library service in the 21st century. When fully implemented, Voyager will improve service to users and allow the library staff to function more effectively and efficiently.”

Submissions needed for ACRL book: Academic libraries and student success

Does your library have an impact on the success of students on your campus? Have you developed a successful course or program focusing on student research skills or campuswide activities? ACRL is developing a book on academic libraries and student success, and the editor would like to hear from academic librarians. There will be sections on technology initiatives, campus committee activities, working with diverse and disabled populations, the image of the library and librarians on campus, freshman seminars, and more. To contribute or for more information, contact: Maurie Caitlin Kelly, Environmental Resources Research Institute, Penn State University, at

NCES issues report on distance education

Distance Education in Higher Education Institutionsis the title of a report issued by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in October. Although the data in the report are from 1995, the report is being billed as the “first comprehensive national survey of distance education by colleges.”

The full-text electronic version of the report is available at distance/index.html. The highlights section of the site offers 10 summary items, including one about libraries. The report found that “access to library resources varied depending on type of library resource”: 56 percent of the institutions offered an electronic link to the library, 62 percent had cooperative agreements for students to use other libraries, 45 percent assigned library staff to help distance education students, and 39 percent made library collections available at remote sites.

1998 IPEDS survey changes

The 1998 Academic Libraries Survey that is part of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) has been updated. The survey, which collects data about staff, expenditures, collections, library and electronic services, makes changes to some of the counts and definitions used. Details about the changes may be found on ALA’s homepage at ors.html (click on “The 1998 IPEDS ALS”).

CCLA delivers computers for visually impaired

The College Center for Library Automation (CCLA) in Florida has delivered special workstations to the 60 campus libraries of Florida’s 28 community colleges. J. Richard Madaus, director of CCLA said, “Delivery of Assistive Technology Workstations to all LINCC [Library Information Network for Community Colleges] libraries is a significant milepost on our road to providing universal access.”

The workstations allow visually impaired users to independently access LINCC, the online catalog of community college library holdings, and a variety of research databases and electronic information resources. Developed by CCLA, each workstation is a personal computer equipped with a screen that reads aloud the text on the monitor, a magnification program that enlarges the size of the text on the screen, and terminal emulation software. The LINCC Assistive Technology Workstation was tested by students, faculty, and library staff at Florida Community College at Jacksonville and at Broward Community College, Central Campus.

CCLA was created in 1989 to enhance the community college educational experience via statewide access to shared library resources. CCLA provides LINCC, an automated information system that features computerized library resources, electronic information services, and automated library management functions. LINCCWeb is available at http://www.ccla.lib. ■

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