Engineering Library and Technology Commons launches new web page
As the academic year begins at the University of Missouri, a bright and shining four-story addition to Lafferre Hall is something that is very obviously “new and different” for Engineering students. Not as noticeable, but also new and different, and with some of the same potential, such as state of the art resources for an enhanced educational experience and student success, is the new web page portal to the Engineering Library and Technology Commons (ELTC).
“There’s so much information in a library that it can be overwhelming,” said Librarian Judy Maseles. “With the new web page, we’ve tried to show all of the possibilities, yet make it simple to use. Resources are emphasized front and center.”
Maseles, who also serves as a web content manager for MU’s branch libraries, said that most people find a couple of databases that meet their needs and then use them for everything, even though there are many others that may serve them better. She points out that the ELTC web page offers some great options.
“LibX turns every web page into a potential library,” said Maseles, referring to a Firefox extension available for installation from the new site. The browser, developed at Virginia Tech and modified for MU’s use by Maseles, provides direct access to MU Libraries resources from any web page you choose with an embedded “Find it @ MU” cue.
“You can highlight any text and then use the MU catalog to look for books and articles, by right-clicking on it for search options,” said Maseles. “And if you come across an article in Google Scholar, for instance, you can right-click for another database option and choose libX.”
Also under the “Research Tools” drop-down menu is EndNote, software that stores and organizes users’ reference citations and formats bibliographies. Additionally, research guides listed there break out resources into specialty interest areas.
Tutorials and video demonstrations on how to use the available resources also are just a click away from the main page.
Maseles said that there are over 4,000 electronic book titles in the engineering library that can be accessed from the webpage. An electronic reader may be downloaded that will allow users to search do a full text search of the titles and will also allow readers to make notes in the book and save them if they set up an account.
“I’ve done several graduate student seminars and other classes for students at faculty requests, demonstrating the available resources,” Masele said. Individual students wishing for help can make an appointment for a personal walk-through.
Maseles said that her group did extensive testing and analytics to come up with the new design template, adopted all of MU’s branch libraries. She is especially fond of some of the simple offerings that she believes are big priorities for users, such as clock on the home page showing the library’s open hours for the current day.
ELTC usage hit an all-time high in April 2009 with 25,385 walk-ins, and Maseles expects it to continue to increase.
“We’re hoping that this website will allow users to be more self-directed,” said Maseles.
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