Increasing Use of Center Collections

To help libraries derive the highest possible benefit from their investment in the Center, the staff is working to make collection holdings more discoverable to faculty, students, library staff, and other users. In 2003 the Center re-engineered intake and cataloging processes, and achieved some good results: this year the staff added nearly 200,000 titles to the online catalog, bringing the total to over 760,000 records.

Beyond cataloging, the Center staff is finding other ways to increase collection visibility. It implemented a top-down redesign of the Center’s Web site in 2003, making navigation and finding information intuitively easier than before. The site now features a list of archival collections, periodicals, books, and topical materials available on microform from the Center. Visit Microform Index.

Focus, the Center’s online newsletter, now contains more information about particular collections and collection areas, leading more researchers to CRL holdings through open-Web searches.

The Center staff also is “closing the distance” between the user and the Center’s holdings by delivering Center materials more rapidly. Between October 2002 and October 2003, Center staff increased the number of interlibrary loans processed within 24 hours by almost half, and the number of requests delivered within 24 hours by 30 percent. As a result the Center staff is seeing increased use of collections: loans and document delivery are up 5 percent over 2002.

The Center’s Web site now has information about approaches that some member universities have taken to enhance visibility of Center collections. Investing time and effort in promoting the visibility of Center resources can help faculty and graduate students avoid the cost of unnecessary research trips; help interlibrary loan staff minimize time spent on materials needed for extended periods of time (eliminating the repeat requests required for extended loans from other lenders); and generally ensure access to a rich and diverse pool of resources for advanced research.

To support these efforts the Center recently made two new staff appointments:

Don Dyer, the new membership and communications coordinator, will work to get more and better information about the Center, its collections, and its programs to members, partners, and constituents. In this capacity he will edit this newsletter and annual report, and coordinate additions and changes to the Web site. He also will support the Center’s efforts to grow its membership base and its partnerships with other organizations. Don comes to his new role from the Missouri Arts Council, where as program specialist he was responsible for program research and development, fundraising, and creating new private and federal partnerships for that state agency.

Morgan Elmore has joined the Center as Web and digital library specialist. Morgan will work closely with Technical Services, Access Services, and Acquisitions to maintain and add content to the Center’s Web site, expand digital document delivery, and assist the Center and its members in making our collections more visible. Prior to joining the Center staff Morgan was a member of Cornell University’s Digital Library and Information Technologies department where she performed a variety of technical, administrative, training, and design functions to enhance access to their library’s resources.