Electronic reserves continues to be a very popular service with faculty and students alike (since fall 2001, approx 20 courses per term; more than 200 scanned files per term; more than 20,000 downloads per term). In May 2002, the Library began a one-year limited trial to determine the feasibility of obtaining copyright permissions to mount copyrighted material on electronic reserves. During the time of the trial, the Library is funding associated fees. Plans are underway to survey faculty this Fall regarding reserves service. The survey will be web-based with technical assistance being provided by the University's, Information Systems and Technology (IST) department.
Virtual Reference service will be introduced to the campus community on October 15, 2002. We will offer the service for 3 hours each weekday, 1-4pm.
Based on the results of usability testing with students and faculty, the top page of the Librarys web site was re-designed. The new top page was introduced in August. We will continue to employ usability testing as the basis for further improvements to the web site. http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/
Students and researchers at UW have access to 7906 full text electronic journals. Some recent additions to the electronic collection include:
A wireless network is fully operational in the Davis Centre Library. Work is also underway to install the infrastructures necessary for wireless communications in both the Dana Porter Library and the University Map and Design Library. We hope to have all three libraries providing wireless access by the end of the year. The Library received funding for this project from the University's CFI grant.
In conjunction with the University's major fundraising effort, Campaign Waterloo: Building a Talent Trust, initial planning work has started on an Information Commons to be located in the Davis Centre Library. A team has been formed to develop plans for the Information Commons that will include a Flexible Learning Lab. The group will consider design and cost details and will also take into account the broader Library goal of enhancing and modernizing the entire Davis Centre Library learning environment. http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/staff/infocommons/
Renovations on the first floor of the Dana Porter Library are nearing completion. A comfortable new study space is being created, containing a mixture of lounge seating and study tables. For those students who have laptops, most seating will have access to ethernet drops and power. (Another project will soon install a wireless transmitter on the floor). The lounge will also contain open shelving for the newspaper collection.
In a climate-controlled room leading from the north side of the lounge, the extensive microfilm and microfiche collection has at last been given a 'permanent' home. Also, a new viewing area for film and fiche printers adjoins the lounge, behind noise-reducing glass and utilizing special lighting. A service point has been created on the floor to assist users with questions and to provide general circulation services. As there will be extended quiet times at the service point it has been situated to allow staff to handle much of the processing of materials being returned to the library from other sites.
Last term, the Library's signage committee worked with a team of 4th year students in Kinesiology 470E (Seminar in Integrative Ergonomics) to investigate wayfinding issues in the Davis Centre Library. The study confirmed concerns about the current signage as well as identified other issues of importance to our library users. The student's web-based report along with results of other studies conducted is included on the signage committee's website. http://library.uwaterloo.ca:80/staff/signage/study/index.html
A project team was appointed in July to review the requirements for public workstations in the UW libraries in light of anticipated changes in library services, user needs, and the Library and campus computing environments. Examples of specific issues leading to the review were the inability to provide some requested functionality at the public stations because of the current security restrictions, conflicting recommendations for the web browser, and campus computing developments such as the installation of wireless networks. A report, with recommendations and implementation options, is expected in the Fall.
In August, TUG replaced five TRELLIS servers that were installed in 1997 when the TriUniversity Group implemented the Voyager system. The new server configuration remains housed at UW and is composed of two SUN V880 database servers and three SUN 280R application servers. The switch to the new servers went very smoothly, thanks largely to UW's IST Department's assistance with the purchase, set up, and data migration. Performance appears to be much enhanced, with improved response time for users and run times for large jobs reduced by 60-70%.
One of our librarians, Paul St. Pierre, recently hired for the newly created position of undergraduate services librarian, attended the fourth Summer Institute on Learning Technologies. The Institute is sponsored by the Office for Partnerships for Advanced Skills (OPAS). OPAS is a partnership of Ontario's universities and leading Canadian companies dedicated to advancing organizational and individual learning.
Each university in Ontario was invited to send one participant to the Institute which was designed to provide: information on a range of relevant technology innovations; an opportunity for participants to share exemplary practices currently in use at Ontario universities; and a forum for a series of presentations and seminars to discuss key issues regarding learning technologies. Paul is the first librarian to attend the Institute.