Magazine article Information Today

BuCat Service to Off-Campus Students

Magazine article Information Today

BuCat Service to Off-Campus Students

Article excerpt

Brandon University's online catalog (BuCAT) serves as a regional gateway to the resources of an academic library. Access is gained in one of two ways: (1) direct dial to the university's Micro-VAX, or; (2) through the Canadian packet switching network from communities with a Datapac node.

Several distance-education centers throughout the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are equipped with a communications link that features a simplified sign-on protocol. Students are encouraged to begin their library research by using the online catalog, instead of relying solely on a librarian to choose appropriate material in response to an inquiry.

Comprehensive Access

BuCAT offers comprehensive access to resources available in the library. As do most automated systems, BuCAT provides author, title, and subject indexes that may be searched using the Boolean operators "and," "or" and "not." Searches may be delimited further by date of publication.

The unique aspect of BuCAT is the fact that its database contains not only LC monograph records, but also government publications, selected journal-article citations and abstracts, and the complete ERIC-document file. A catalog search therefore will locate a variety of sources, not merely relevant monographs.

Users who log-on to BuCAT find a ten-item menu which lists the available databases. Among these are the online catalogs of the Universities of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Access to these larger collections facilitates bibliographical research, although desired items must be ordered through Brandon's interlibrary loan department.

Circulation: Tech Support

Individuals in remote locations who wish to borrow from the Brandon University library contact the off-campus services librarian, who fills requests received by mail, telephone or fax. At present, there is no interactive process that allows online ordering of items located by a catalog search. This capability will be added to BuCAT in the future.

Technological support for off-campus library services is largely in place. In order for the technology to be effective, however, considerable effort must be devoted to instructional activities.

Library research using an online catalog demands that users be familiar with search techniques. …

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