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Where's the Library for this Course? - Moving the Library to Where the Students Are

Wednesday, January 1, 2003


Every university library has developed a collection of resources to support faculty and students. Paper versions of guides to appropriate resources in the libraries' collections, variously called library guides, "on-focus series," or "how-to-locate series," have now been turned into Web-based guides. These documents have one thing in common: they are not easily distributed to, or found by, students when they need them. As a result, students do not acquire the kinds of research skills—we call it information fluency—that they need and instead rely on commercial search engines and the uneven resources of the Web. With the adoption of course management systems, universities have an extraordinary opportunity to place critical library resources onto students' desktops. This presentation describes how four units at Penn State collaborated to ensure that within a year, every section of every course that uses ANGEL, our Course Management System, will have easy access to library guides appropriate to that course, and that the e-reserves will be "pushed" to the students' desktops. By doing this project collaboratively, we answer the question posed by David Cohen in a recent "EDUCAUSE Review" article: "Course Management Software: Where's the Library?"

The answer is, the library is where the courses are being taught.

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