Technology Plan - Library & Learning Resources
The Library is the center of learning where students can gather information from books, magazine, newspaper and journal articles, and a wide variety of audiovisual sources. Individualized help from a librarian enables students to formulate paper and speech topics and find appropriate research sources. The librarians provide instruction individually and in class sessions in specific skills to increase students’ information literacy and give them the confidence to become lifelong learners. In this day and age, busy community college students need online access to Library resources 24 hours, 7 days a week.
The Library maintains a web “Gateway to Information” to facilitate access to the online catalog, electronic databases, and links to about 1,000 important academic & reference websites. The Library also has an online interactive tutorial called “Searchpath” that is especially geared toward Distance Education students. It also has a blog where current Library related news is posted, and it maintains a Google custom search engine that is able to retrieve pages from over 150 academic web sites.
Both Chabot and Las Positas libraries use the SIRSI Library Catalog for their book and audiovisual collections. The catalog sits on a server hosted by the SIRSIDynix Corporation, and records are updated by Chabot librarians and classified staff.
Twenty online subscription databases are available for student use; included are 6,335 full-text journal, magazine, and newspaper titles, as well as selections from over 20 reference book series. Access to these databases is available off-campus through the District’s proxy server, using the EZProxy software.
94 computer stations are available in the Library for student use; 12 are in the reference area for library research purposes only, 24 are in Room 119 which is the site for Library Skills courses, and can be reserved for individual course instruction in library database use, and 58 are in the Mezzanine as the Student Computer Lab where students can work on their homework assignments, whether it be on Blackboard or Microsoft Applications. Two computers are outfitted with adaptive technology to assist disabled users. Printing from computers to the two networked student printers is controlled; payment for prints is mandatory utilizing GoPrint.
We plan the following improvements to the Library’s technological resources:
- Continue to refine, tool, adapt, and maintain the Library website.
A website must always grow and change in order to adapt to students’ needs.
- Offer brief screencasts and other tutorials on library research (outside of Searchpath)
The main challenge is to find time to do so, but this can be achieved if planned far enough in advance. Additional screencasts could help students with different learning styles and allow remote assistance when a librarian is not available to help by phone.
- Have an E-books database
An e-books database is necessary for the growing number of Distance Ed courses, and it would give all students remote access to books 24/7, and from home. The Library is currently reviewing such a database to determine whether it truly meets our students’ needs, and if so, how to finance it.
- Set default margins for printing that use paper more efficiently.
For example, the current default .75 margins for printing in Internet Explorer are wider than what the Library subscription databases currently estimate for articles in HTML format. With students currently paying ten cents per page, a large document in HTML format could end up being quite expensive for them. The default print setting should have smaller margins.
- Hire a technology/computer lab assistant to help students with hardware and software problems.
The only supervision our student computer lab has is by one part-time audiovisual tech person. This isn’t adequate to students’ needs.
- Expand accessibility with adaptive technology such as a Kurzweil reader/scanner and additional voice reading licenses (e.g. Dragon NaturallySpeaking).
These improvements are essential to meet the needs of our disabled students.
- Consider purchasing software that makes reserve articles available by remote access.
If we get such a product, we have to work out technological and personnel solutions in addition to covering the cost of such a platform or server.
- Implement control software such as Public Web Browser to ensure that students use Library computers for research purposes only.
This is necessary to guarantee that students are not using the reference room computers for non-academic purposes such as chat, email, online social networks, and games.
- Provide a bigger computer classroom with at least 50 computers for library instruction sessions.
This is being proposed as part of the Bond construction. Right now, classes bigger than 24 students do not get hands-on training for a library orientation.
- Investigate solutions that student lab and reference computers will have better privacy and security safeguards.
A financial commitment and approval from computer support people is what’s needed. For now Microsoft controls are not adequate enough, especially on the privacy issues for students. It’s easy to get into a browser’s history, or change it back to automatic passwords, etc. Browser history is set up at twenty days, etc. A public computer should erase anything linked to a student’s private searching habits.
- Investigate and work with campus computer support so that reference, student computer lab, and the library classroom computers have customizable computer profiles.
This would allow browsers to contain preset bookmarks and other options that are specific to that particular service area. For example, a reference computer could have its browser permanently set to the Library home page. A permanent “favorites” toolbar could lead to common reference links such as database pages and the library catalog., allowing students who are elsewhere on the Web to easily access Library resources when needed.