Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

That's My Bailiwick: A Library-Sponsored Faculty Research Web Server

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

That's My Bailiwick: A Library-Sponsored Faculty Research Web Server

Article excerpt

The University of Iowa Libraries provide a unique, new, scholarly publishing outlet for their faculty and graduate students. With the prevalence of personal faculty home pages and course Web sites in just about every department on campus, it's not very hard for faculty to find a Web server somewhere for storing an HTML file. And, with some work, faculty can often find some "techie" to help convert a document to HTML or to save a list of links.

What is rare, however, is a space on the Web where faculty from all disciplines can find a home for their scholarly research interests, coupled with a computing environment and a knowledgeable staff to help them "follow their bliss" in digital form. The Information Arcade's new Bailiwick project does just that.

The Need for Something New

For a number of years, academic departments in the humanities and social sciences have been able to mount departmental information on the University of Iowa's central Web server maintained by academic computing. More recently, two centrally administered course Web servers have been made available to any faculty member or teaching assistant offering a credit course. Based on feedback from faculty and graduate students, however, the university libraries learned that there was no place for a research idea or other academically oriented "pet project" to be published on the Web. Instead, faculty and students needed to bury these somewhere on a personal home page, often with a commercial Internet Service Provider at their own expense. Rising to address this need, the university libraries sought to provide a well-respected, institutionally supported Web server for just this sort of electronic publishing endeavor. What originally started as simply a "projects" directory on the library's general Web server has now grown into the Bailiwick project.

Officially launched in March 1998, Bailiwick provides a space on the Web where academic passions can be realized as highly specialized and creative Web sites. It is not simply a place for personal home pages, nor is if intended for course Web sites or academic departmental information. Rather, Bailiwick is designed to provide faculty, staff, and graduate students with Web space where they can focus on a particular area of scholarly interest.

Bailiwick is not meant to serve as the new model for scholarly publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Most electronic publishing initiatives arise from an attempt to transfer existing models of print publishing to the digital environment. A small number of electronic scholarly journals are currently published on the University of Iowa campus, and the university libraries already provide a number of ways to support this medium, from archiving to cataloging to hosting journal sites, as one element of the university libraries' new Scholarly Digital Resources Center.

Bailiwick, instead, provides a Web space that allows authors to harness and exploit this new electronic medium, permitting new models of expression with multimedia, hypertext, and the ability to incorporate anything in digital form. It is not intended to substitute or even compete with traditional scholarly publishing or electronic journal publishing. Rather, Bailiwick pro vides an opportunity to engage in an entirely new medium for scholarly communication.

A History of Innovation

The heart of the Bailiwick Project within the library environment is the Information Arcade, an award-winning facility located in the University of Iowa's Main Library. Opened in 1992, the Information Arcade is a place that provides access to published electronic information resources coupled with state-of-the-art multimedia development workstations that allow faculty and students to digitize and manipulate source materials that are not already in electronic form. The facility also houses a fully networked electronic classroom, with twenty-four student workstations, where classes from throughout the university are held--some for the whole term and others for one or two class sessions. …

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