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Library improves online features

Managing Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 09:02

As technology changes the ways we work and communicate, Myers Library also seeks to reach out to students through new technology.

This is being done through additions to the library database system, a new website, “Ask a Librarian” features, and a mobile web app. These new features were created in hopes of aiding students in their research endeavors and updating the library to meet the demands of new technology.

One of the new library features is a research and writing guide that can be found at http://ottawa.libguides.com/. This page features different subject areas and topics that are relevant to each. Right now, these topics tend to be fairly general, such as writing in the APA style or the more common majors such as business and education.

Instruction Librarian Caleb Puckett explained that the library plans to add more subjects and guides to the list.

“We’re doing them for general skills and assignments that students may encounter along the way, but then we will have more specific content eventually,” Puckett said. Additionally, the libguides site offers the Ask-A-Librarian feature through which students can send a research question to a live librarian from 10 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. This allows a librarian to help students with their research in a very convenient way, without the student ever having to set foot in the library.

“You’re working with the student real time so you can share a screen with them or send them a link. It’s easier than a phone conversation,” Puckett said.

In addition to the new libguides website, the library features located at the student portal are also still present, but more features have been added. One of these features is a QR code that can be scanned by a smart phone. This leads to a mobile app version of the libguides site.

Director of Library Sources Gloria Creed believes the innovations will allow the library to be relevant to the needs of today’s students.

“We’ve worked together in trying to get this up because we thought that it was really important to get the library into the 21st century, we need to get to students where they are,” Creed said. “We’re right in your living room with you. We’re in your mobile phone. We’re at your finger tips.”

Associate Director of Library Sources Jan Lee sees a lot of benefits in the new library resources.

“I see it as being a real positive, because we need to keep up with the technology that our students are using,” Lee said.

Creed agrees, explaining that the library is easily-accessible and open to all students.

“We’ve moved from being a library that’s just a physical library to an interactive, virtual library that’s available to students university-wide online,” Creed said.

The library will continue to build onto these resources for students and faculty, and it plans to add more features when the new library building is completed. Some of these additions may include a media lab, meeting rooms, a 24/7 commons area, compact shelving and a smart classroom.

 

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