Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Integrating Local Library Systems and Services into a Campus Network Environment

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Integrating Local Library Systems and Services into a Campus Network Environment

Article excerpt

The impact of high-speed campus networks and the increased access to a national research network is only beginning tO be felt bY academic libraries. Many libraries have planned and have implemented online access to local library Catalogs via campus networks. As more universities provide network access to a wider segment of their populations, there will be a growing demand for libraries to provide additional research services and resources on networks. This article will discuss some of the services academic libraries are providing (or soon will be) to take advantage of expanded campus networks.

Campus networks are not new; however, their increased speed and their growing accessibility to a wider number of users have increased their ability to provide a greater variety of information resources. New technologies have been initially used for traditional services which are translated from the old to new technology. It will be important for the library profession to quickly look beyond these traditional applications and to grasp the wide range of emerging possibilities for information resources development and information services.

This article win discuss how Case Western Reserve University plans to integrate its local library system and library services on the campus network. Included will be local library system implicatiOns, specific services provided or Planned, staffing implications, external relationships, and acceptance issues. It also addresses some of the important issues that will face libraries and librarians during the next five years as campus network services expand and develop.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a private institution of higher education located in Cleveland serving approximately 8,000 students. University Libraries participates with the law library, the Cleveland Health Sciences Library, the Mandel School of Applied and Social Science, and the Cleveland Institute of Music in a joint local library system and in planning for other campus library applications of technology. The online catalog, EUCLID, is a database of over 600,000 bibliographic records and is accessible in the nine participating libraries and branches.

In 1988, CWRU hired Raymond Neff as vice president for information services. His goal was to provide wide access to the campus network. Immediately plans were begun for a fiber optic network which would, when completed, cOnnect the entire university. While camPus libraries do not report directly to Neff, the impact and potential of the expanded accessibility of the campus network have had a direct effect on them.

Local System and Campus Network

The Case Western Reserve University online catalog has been available for students and faculty who could gain access to the university's more limited network since 1987. The libraries allocated three ports for dial access. Prior to the installation of the fiber optic network in the campus dorms, this allocation was adequate and met the demands of the dial access user. Up to twenty-four additional ports may be configured to address increased demand as the network is expanded.

While the online catalog's availability via the campus network was essential for patrons of University Libraries, it had its limitations. Serving a user population which has, for the most part, a knowledge of state-of-the-art computer and network technology has increased the demands made by CWRU and our own library staff. The lack of two important features on our current online catalog have been criticized: lack of a true Boolean search mechanism on the local system, and no ability to directly place holds on materials via the network.

University Libraries does not anticipate that it will be able to provide a true Boolean search mechanism in this generation of local system. CWRU libraries are currently involved in a statewide automation project and consider the abilities of the search engine to be one of the most important criteria for vendor selection. …

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