You don’t have to get technical to appreciate that the technological and equipment upgrades that occurred in the University Library over the summer are good news for library users.
“We have updated the equipment that is most heavily used by students. There are 10 new laptops, four new digital cameras, five new camcorders and 10 new mini-tape recorders in circulation,” says Associate University Librarian Donna Seyed Mahmoud.
The four old photocopiers were replaced by Copy Services with five new models that are more reliable and easier to use, and 34 new wireless workstations were dispersed throughout the Library.
“The Library is collaborating with the Department of Information Technology on a pilot project to examine whether wired and wireless workstations are equally useful to users. If everything goes well, users won’t distinguish between the two types of computers,” says Systems & Web Services Team Manager Rae Hazelwood.
The 37 stand-up computer stations that do not require users to login aren’t new, but their printing functionality is. “It’s now possible to print from all the Library’s computers. The stand-up workstations are convenient for students and accessible to alumni and community users,” says Hazelwood.
People who carry laptops and other electronics will appreciate that all of the study carrels now have power. “Students are the primary beneficiaries of this change. The carrels on Level 11 east were the only ones without power and, because of this, they weren’t often used,” says Seyed Mahmoud.
The Library’s online presence has also changed for the better with an interface upgrade that aligns the appearance of the web site and the catalogue.
“The cohesive interface emphasizes the increasing integration and interdependence of the Library’s various electronic sources of information and makes it easier for users to move between them,” says Collections and Database Services Manager Rumi Graham.
The technical changes were more than esthetic. “Updated coding was applied throughout the web site. For users, this means faster load times with fewer compatibility issues,” says Hazelwood.
When it comes time to look for journal articles, researchers now have easier online access to the full-text of articles they need.
“Before the upgrades this summer, users were able to link only to the journal level, and that meant users had to do a lot of clicking to find the full-text articles. By introducing article-level linking, we have automated the process that determines if the U of L holds the article. If not, the program auto-fills an interlibrary request form so that users only have to provide their identifying information to validate their request,” says Graham.
Article-level linking is expected to save users a great deal of time.
“The electronic indexes to the periodical literature receive fairly heavy use by students and faculty,” says Graham. “Of the roughly 17,000 periodicals (including government publications) that the Library owns or has access to in any format, about 12,039 are electronic.”
The passing of summer didn’t bring the Library’s ongoing efforts to meet the needs of its users to an end. If you have a Library-related comment, submit it online via the Comments and Suggestions form that’s accessible through the Self-Serve menu on the Library home page at www.uleth.ca/lib.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173