The Library Research Tutorial is the Association of College and Research Libraries PRIMO Site of the Month for November 2019. The PRIMO database, which showcases exemplary online instruction materials, is maintained by the PRIMO Committee of the Instruction Section (American Library Association). Each site of the month offers insights and ideas via an interview with the sites creator(s).
The UMGC Library provides access to many resources including millions of books and ebooks, online databases of millions of academic and trade journal articles, as well as collections of newspapers, OER content, business information, and more. Enabling access to all of these are network software tools that allow for cross searching, cross-database linking, acquiring articles that we don’t otherwise have access to from other academic libraries, and accessing books from the USM and affiliated institutions libraries. None of this could be done, or at a reasonable cost, without working with other libraries and groups of libraries through library consortia.
University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI)
The first and most important library consortium that UMGC is part of is the 17-member University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI). Purchases of many of the most used library databases, such as Academic Search Ultimate and ABI INFORM, are coordinated through the consortium. Funds from the members are pooled to put towards shared group access for some resources, and for others the consortium negotiates pricing on behalf of all the members. By doing so, the libraries are able to provide greater numbers of databases for a lower amount of money than going it alone. (Although negotiation happens on the consortial level, individual universities must still have their own individual licenses with the various vendors, and each university typically also subscribes to other resources negotiated directly with the vendors, so we cannot share the databases from other universities.) Further, software systems for cross-searching (OneSearch and FindIt) are provided through the consortium, as are the platforms that allow for quick interlibrary loan between the campuses and access to the larger national/international interlibrary loan networks. The USMAI also provides the shared catalog of physical library materials (CatalogUSMAI) that allows for users at any of the 17 libraries to access and retrieve any of the 10 million volumes in the collection. The catalog also coordinates the process of shipping materials between libraries. Any individual library would not be able to provide near the same level of service and wealth of materials to users if it did not belong to the consortium.
Maryland Digital Library (MDL)
The second major consortium that underlies our operations is the Maryland Digital Library (MDL). All USMAI libraries are also members of MDL. Organized under State of Maryland law, this broader consortium includes the USMAI schools, Maryland community colleges, and independent colleges and universities such as Goucher College, Johns Hopkins, Stevenson University, and St. John’s College. This larger umbrella leverages more members in shared negotiations to further reduce the cost of electronic resources for all members. As with the USMAI, all members benefit and are thus able to provide more resources to users than they would be able to afford otherwise.
Libraries are focused on providing streamlined and intuitive services to end users, so much of this “under the hood” complexity is hidden behind the scenes. There the ongoing work of consortium staff, library administrators, librarians, and library staff ensure that all member libraries are successful in carefully stewarding resources while also fulfilling their missions of meeting the research and information needs of all end-users on our campuses.
The Big Sort
Within the cold depths of the UMGC Archives, what has been dubbed The Big Sort has commenced. This project involves combing through all the unsorted boxes within the archives: boxes that haven’t been opened since they were first placed on shelves many years ago. Before Renee Brown became the UMGC Archivist, materials sent to the archives were packed up and put downstairs due to lack of time time and staffing. It was finally decided to unearth these hidden treasures.
The Big Sort entails opening each non-archival box, pulling out every document, folder, and binder, and determining where in the archive’s many collections they belong. It also entails finding documents that do not belong in the archives, which must be properly disposed of.
Several goals will be achieved with this project. First and foremost, the Archives Team will endeavor to make enough room on the shelves for the newly acquired Asian Division collection. This goal can potentially be achieved by meeting another goal: finding and extracting materials that do not belong in the archives and disposing of them. By doing this, the team is ensuring that everything within the walls of the archives is material that can be used to document the history of the university.
Another major goal of The Big Sort is to make old materials newly available. While these documents have been in the archives for years, it’s not been known precisely what they are or what information they provide. By establishing what collections these documents belong to and ensuring their proper placement, these materials are made available for future use. The opportunity to flesh out some of the collections that have been lacking materials, such as the Human Resources collection--which went from being barren to chock full of folders--is especially exciting.
Finally, The Big Sort is providing a much-needed opportunity to reorganize the archives. While the archives may look like a study in chaos to the uninitiated, it is all sorted into collections that have their place within the archive. As many of these collections continue to grow, however, they need more shelf space. Once The Big Sort is complete, the collections will be reorganized to better fit their needs and accommodate those that continue to increase in size.
So, if you happen to pop down to the Archives, please excuse the mess!
Mariette Largess is the UMGC Library's new Digital Access Services Librarian. She works with Course Development and other Student Affairs units on projects and as an advisor on metadata and classification, and provides technical and reference assistance to Library users. Mariette received her undergraduate degree in History from Trinity University (then College) in Washington DC. She then attended The Catholic University of America for her graduate degree in Information and Library Science. She began working at the National Agricultural Library through a cooperative agreement with the University of Maryland in 2008, where she spent nearly 10 years.
Meaghan Wilson is the Assistant Archivist in the UMGC Library. She processes and digitizes archival materials and provides reference assistance. Meaghan graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelors in European History and just last year earned her Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Maryland iSchool. She previously worked at the National Archives and Records Administration in Fort Worth, Texas and has held internships with the National Park Service Museum Resource Center and the NASA Goddard Archives.
Colleen Quinn joined the UMGC Library as a Reference and Instruction Librarian. Colleen handles all forms of reference questions and provides instruction for UMGC students, faculty, and staff. She received her MLIS from Rutgers University in May 2017, with a concentration in Digital Librarianship. She previously worked as a Reference & Instruction Librarian for Harrisburg Area Community College at their Lancaster and Lebanon campuses. Colleen has recently become the liaison for AskUsNow! Cooperative.
John Coogan, Systems & Electronic Resources Librarian, published an article entitled "E-Resources Troubleshooting and User Support at a Primarily Distance Learning/Online Higher Education Institution: Current Practice and Future Considerations" in the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship.
Megan Davis and Neal Pomea, Reference and Instruction Librarians, presented a poster, Library Collaboration with Course Development on OERS in July at the Towson Conference of Academic Libraries, Towson, MD.
Julie Harding, Assistant Director, Public Services, and Ryan Shepard, Reference and Instruction Librarian, will publish an article entitled "The Lifecycle of a Research Tutorial: From Concept to Implementation and Beyond" in the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship.
Robert Miller, Reference and Instruction Librarian, presented Roll with the Changes: Meeting Student and Faculty Needs in Online Library Instruction in October at the Maryland Information Literacy Exchange (MILEX) fall workshop and meeting, Loyola University Maryland, Columbia, MD.
Ryan Shepard, Reference and Instruction Librarian, presented The Lifecycle of a Research Tutorial: From Concept to Implementation and Beyond at ACRL 2019 in Cleveland, OH.
Cynthia Thomes and Robert Miller, Reference and Instruction Librarians, presented Designing Effective Research Assignments: The Library Can Help! in June at The Innovative Library Classroom conference in Williamsburg, VA.
Cynthia Thomes, Reference and Instruction Librarian, presented Context is Crucial: Redesigning Assignments to Increase Students’ Likelihood of Knowledge Transfer in October at the Maryland Information Literacy Exchange (MILEX) fall workshop and meeting, Loyola University Maryland, Columbia, MD.
The UMGC Library provides library liaison services to UMGC faculty. We welcome the opportunity to work closely with faculty to provide tailored library services for individual classes, whether it be visiting your online or face-to-face class, assisting in adding information literacy components to specific course assignments or projects, or providing handouts or online resources customized to your discipline or current course topic. Please keep the liaison librarians in mind when you have library related questions, need extra help with research, or need instruction on how to use our resources.
Please complete the Faculty Request for Library Instruction form to schedule one or more sessions for your classes.
Need instruction but don't have time to schedule a facilitated session? Consider adding a stand-alone instruction module to your online classroom or add a link to the Library Research Tutorial. Please contact your library liaison for more information.
We look forward to working with you!