LINUS January 2000 : Library News
NUS Library and research into the new millennium
Lim-Yeo Pin Pin, Central Library RIS Dept
As the NUS Library moves into the new millennium, we would like to review how far the library has come in fulfilling the objective of a library, defined by Jesse H. Shera as "to bring together human beings and recorded knowledge in as fruitful a relationship as it is humanly possible to be" 1.
The NUS Library is building a hybrid library that is "on the continuum between the conventional and digital library, where electronic and paper-based information sources are used alongside each other" as defined by Stephen Pinfield 2.
In addition to building the print collection in the NUS Library, we are building the digital collection which has grown tremendously over the past few years.
We would like to show how easy it is to use the library to obtain materials for your research topic. We will track how John Tan, a fictitious academic staff, goes about getting materials on his topic E-commerce and its impact on lifestyle.
The first place to check for materials held in the Library would be LINC, the NUS Library's integrated catalogue. John would check LINC from his office using a computer linked to NUSNET, the campus network.
Using the keywords Electronic commerce and social, John would find some records. Some of our book records have been enriched with a table of contents or a summary.
One relevant record would lead to other records when a hyperlinked subject or author is clicked. For example, a click on Information society in the above record would bring John to this record below.
John might be interested to explore the ethics of electronic commerce. He would search LINC for business ethics and would find records for this subject. The following example would allow John to view the video on his desktop without coming to the Library to view it simply by clicking on View Video.
John could also check the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences in the Digital Library for background information on his topic. For example, a search using the term cloning would lead John to relevant information.
From index to library holdings
Besides just books, John could look for more recent research done on his topic. From his desktop, he would be able to access databases subscribed by the Library. By searching in the relevant databases, John would find out what has been published on his topic, which may be in the form of journal articles, conference papers and news articles. From the bibliographic citation, it would be possible to check LINC to verify whether the item is held in the NUS Library.
For databases in OVID and Web of Science, this check in LINC is made easy. John would just click on Retrieve local holdings in OVID or Holdings in Web of Science. For example, after searching in Social Science Citation Index and viewing the record in full, one click on Holdings would verify whether the item is held in the Library.
From catalogue to electronic journal
If the Library has subscribed to the electronic version of the journal, John could click on the hyperlink to View the electronic version. He would then get to read the article on his desktop.
From index to full text
Some databases subscribed by the Library would have records that would be linked to full text articles. So it would be possible for John to search an index like IEEEXplore.
From the bibliographic citation, you can obtain the full text from the same database IEL.
The Library has started subscribing to electronic books. E-books could be retrieved through the Digital Library or through LINC.
R. Baumgart (ed.) Secure Networking - CQRE [Secure] '99. International Exhibition and Congress, Düsseldorf, Germany, November/December 1999. Proceedings.
Web Library services
Should John encounter a specific problem while looking for materials, he could send an email to Ask a Librarian where a librarian would reply to his query.
When John comes across a critical article that is not available in the NUS Library, he could send a Request for Document Delivery. The library staff would endeavour to obtain a copy of the article for him. If John is registered for Online Document Delivery Services, the Library would provide him with an electronic version of the article when it is supplied in that format by the document supplier.
John, being an academic staff member, could also ask the Library to purchase a new book for the library collection or request for an inter-library loan of a book from another library in Singapore or from an overseas library.
These services may be requested through the electronic forms available on the Digital Library at: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/digital/
All the above services are currently available to academic staff from their desktop through the Digital Library.
What developments could John look forward to in the future? Well, instead of seeing a common generic screen when he logs in, John could personalize the screen to include only the resources and services that he is interested in. For example, John is from the Department of Mathematics and wishes to select resources in mathematics, physics and computer science. This interface would be available in the near future. John could also expect to receive information on the latest acquisitions by the library on areas related to his research in his email.
Another development of interest to John would be in the area of online searching. Instead of searching the databases one at a time and repeating the same search over and over again across different databases, John would be able to broadcast his search to multiple databases at the same time and receive all the results together. If he encounters any problems he could call for help online and receive instant real-time help from a librarian using a virtual reference service.
John would be able to book a study carrel in the library to do his research or book a videotape to show to his students from his desktop. He would be able to select his favourite study carrel and pick the days that he would like to use it. All he then needs to do is to come to the library with his staff card on the day of his booking to gain access to the study carrel.
We hope what we have done so far and what we are planning to do will help make the task of finding information easier for all our users.
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