During the year I attended the following meetings:
Private College Librarians BI Librarians Shenandoah Oct 16 ASIS Pittsburgh Oct 26-29 Scholarly Humanities Communications William and Mary April 20 Internet workshops FirstSearch at Blacksburg 16 July SIGWAIS at LC 23 July
I appeared in the following courses and workshops (and produced handouts for most): Biology 182 (Winter Term, 5 meetings) Religion 473 (Winter Term, 5 meetings) Kary Smout's class 11 and 13 November Jeff Barnett's class 18 Jan Ham Smith's class 21 Jan Darcy Russell's University Scholars 23 Feb Alex Brown's class 31 Mar Internet workshops for faculty and staff 10, 11 and 17 May Tom Urbach's Computers in the Classroom workshop (gopher demo) 12 May
I produced short written pieces with appeared in: The Colonnade (April) Writing in the Disciplines (May)
REFERENCE LIBRARIAN AND COORDINATOR OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION
Electronic Access is one of my principal interests and responsibilities in both Reference and BI aspects of my job. Because this realm changes so rapidly, a substantial part of my daily activity is keeping up with new resources as they appear in various quarters of the Internet; I then must find effective ways to make them available to students and colleagues, and to provide the basic skills necessary to make efficient use of the resources. In some respects this is no different from the traditional print-centered work of Reference and BI: people come to the Reference Desk with questions whose answers can be found with Library tools, and students need to learn the location and the use of Library tools. What is different is that many very useful tools now exist _outside_ the walls of the Library, and they must be learned and consulted IN ADDITION TO the traditional print-based tools.
During this year the array and availability of electronic tools has grown substantially: John Doyle's Internet gateway (often referred to as 'lawlib', but now more properly called Netlink) has a much easier interface than it did a year ago and has achieved legendary status among the Internet community ("The Greatest Internet Site"). I first used lawlib on the eve of my interview at W&L, and since my arrival it has been my primary Internet exploration tool. It wasn't until early November that I figured out how to access Netlink from Annie terminals, but thereafter I spread the word to classes and in reference encounters. I used Netlink extensively in the Biology 182 course, with considerable success and some attendant frustrations when too many users tried to access it at once (the night before assignments were due...).
Netlink's inclusivity and power make it a difficult tool for the beginner to comprehend, and it was clear to me that some means had to be developed to make the riches available through Netlink accessible to a wider population. It was not until early March, and in the light of my experiences with Biology 182, Religion 473 (and several appearances in other classes) that the appropriate solution to the general-access problem occurred to me, in the form of a Library partition of the W&L Gopher (basic operation of which had been established by John Doyle). I sketched an overview of the possibilities of a Library Gopher in a meeting on March 4, and in subsequent weeks met with John Doyle and Ruth Floyd to discuss its implementation. Over the next two months I gathered information and learned necessary skills (basic UNIX being the most essential) and the reorganized Gopher appeared on May 3; since that time I have been maintaining and enhancing the Libraries and Information Access burrow, and preparing the way for the W&L Gopher to act as a main information access pathway when the Fall Term starts. In addition to hundreds of links to distant resources (arranged by departments, for the most part), the Gopher contains a (growing) array of locally-produced texts. It is intended that basic information on the range of bibliographic access tools (print and electronic) will be available for consultation and downloading in the form of guides and pathfinders, and I anticipate that this use will grow rapidly among W&L students and faculty.
The use of the W&L Gopher as a text repository and a link to extramural information requires that we be prepared to teach and support the use of this and other electronic information access tools; I am working with people in University Computing (principally Ruth Floyd and John Stuckey) to develop and present workshops and other supportive services covering the broad range of electronic tools --electronic mail, usenet news, listserv lists and other resources as well as the W&L Gopher and Netlink. I did three faculty/staff Internet workshops in mid-May, and anticipate a much-broadened schedule of similar workshops and clinics in the coming year.
In a couple of years W&L has leapt from the age of the card-and-paper library to one in which electronic access is assumed for many resources and anticipated for others. The great challenge of 1993-94 is to make W&L an electroic campus in fact and in deed as well as in potential; most of the hardware to accomplish this end is now or soon will be in place, but the challenge of teaching the necessary skills and outlook to such a varied population is daunting in the extreme, and will require fast footwork and diplomatic skills. I am writing to faculty members individually (but sending the same letter to all members of a department) to briefly describe the new resources and offer assistance by myself and other reference librarians in making resources accessible to students via in-class appearances. I expect to be largely responsible for documentation and support in the use of FirstSearch and Lexis/Nexis, and I am working on guides which will be mounted on the Gopher and produced as handouts for use in classes.
Another realm in which I have interested myself is the process of planning for the new Science Library. My bibliographic and collection development responsibilities include the several science departments, and I have expressed my interest in the position of Science Librarian, when it is created. I have been familiarizing myself with the several library collections and with faculty research activities. During July and August I have been at work on issues relating to collection development for the Science Library, includidng a census of the journal holdings and detailed planning for the reference collection. In the latter connection I have made and circulated to the Chairmen of Chemistry, Geology and Physics lists of present branch library holdings which seem likely candidates for the Science Reference collection.
From time to time I have done software housecalls, including installation of ILL software during the cutover to PRISM, programming function keys on Wyse terminals, correcting instructions for remote ILL request submission, and occasional other minor interventions.
The essence of the job of Reference Librarian is that it is interrupt driven --new tasks are dealt with as they arrive, wile older ones continue in the background. At the best of times the result is exhilaration; at the worst it can be disorienting and productive of numbing anxiety. I have experienced much of the former and little of the latter during the year, and I feel that the year has been a success in every respect.
It is difficult to summarize the year in terms of goals met and not met because no set of goals in the realm of electronic librarianship is likely to remain unchanged by the press of new possibilities; workshops such as those I attended at William and Mary (Scholarly Humanities Communications) and Library of Congress (SIGWAIS) present possibilities and information that redefine the landscape of available tools, and new resources on the Internet require that one explore undreamed-of technical realms. My goals are to stay informed about the frontiers of the electronic library, and to find appropriate means to convey what I find to people who can make productive use of the resources and information; the only barriers to accomplishment are my own limitations in understanding what I encounter.
(Bibliographic Instrction Program and Circulation summaries deleted)