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UA library driving toward information highway

By Stephanie Corns
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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UA library officials are offering students an electronic alternative to the hassle of checking out materials from its crammed reserve files.

The UA Main Library is converting many reserve items from paper to electronic form, making them available on the Internet.

"The goal is to replace the traditional way of having folders on reserve," said Cheryl Neal, a library specialist and team leader of the pilot project. "We want to reduce the number of people coming in and checking out folders."

UA students can use the electronic reserve system for the first time this semester.

Students are able access material via the Internet 24 hours a day, while the reserve room has limited hours, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. Users can also download items on to a disk.

"This is just one project this year to move us toward a digitized library," said Joanne Martinez, a knowledge management librarian.

What The Library Will Do

Scan typed or photocopied articles and/or tests (or ASCII files on disk)

Create digital files

Store the electronic files on the library server

Provide professors with a URL which they can link to from the course page

If professor doesn't have a web site, or wishes to have passwording automated, go to Electronic Reserve Tools at: http://www.u.arizona.edu/ic/polis/

The library will notify the professor when the scanning is complete and return materials via campus mail

To participate in the new pilot service

Gather all typed or photocopied articles and/or tests

Fill out electronic reserve form available at the main library reserve desk or e-mail the library at askmmr@bird.library.arizona.edu

Bring completed form and all materials to be digitized to the reserve desk, located on the 1st floor of the main library

Let the library know if the material will be used again next semester; server space is limited

The library is working with the Integrated Learning Center on the project. Faculty are given the option of putting literature on reserve in either paper or electronic form.

"We don't want it to be on both," Martinez said, adding that the library is concerned about keeping expenses low.

A cost analysis will be complete later in the semester, she said.

Upkeep of files in the reserve room will be eliminated with the electronic method, helping the library cut expenses, said Carol Friesen, supervisor of the maps and media reserve area.

"The reserves can be a mess sometimes," Friesen said. "The copies aren't always good."

Martinez hopes to save staff time with the new system.

"That (organizing the reserve room) is labor intensive and takes a lot of time. We think this will help with maintenance," she said.

Library specialists in December began the conversion of the 15,000 to 20,000 documents held on paper. So far, they have transformed 1,500 records to electronic form.

The library expects to have another 6,000 files converted by the fall semester.

The reserve materials can be accessed from either a professor's web page or through POLIS, the Project for OnLine Instructional Support.

"There are so many options available, they're not really locked into anything," Neal said. "We think it's resulting in a product that is easy for faculty to use."

A password is required to access the texts, prohibiting students outside certain classes from attaining the documents.

Faculty are allowed to electronically reserve one chapter or 10 percent of a book, along with articles of any length and class tests, Friesen said.

Librarians hope to add maps and audio to their online archives and images.

Friesen said faculty and students seem enthusiastic about the project.

"We've had positive feedback so far," she said.