Monday, October 21, 2013

Searching for Answers

Ever wish you could search the library website from a single search box? Ever ask why book searches are separated from article searches? How about why you're prompted to log into library databases even after you've logged into myRedlands? 

In a nutshell, it's because the Armacost Library website is comprised of several systems that don't necessarily communicate with each other.

To get a sense of the complex nature of library websites, let's take a look at the library's home page. This page alone knits together a patchwork of nine different systems.

  1. Article Databases is actually an aggregate of over one hundred links to various information systems provided by dozens of vendors.
  2. Books & More is a searchable database, WebPAC Pro, from Innovative Interfaces that helps you find mostly physical items in our collections.
  3. Course Reserves is a separate, searchable module, WebPAC Pro Course Reserves, from Innovative Interfaces that helps you find items reserved by professors for their students.
  4. Journals & Magazines is a searchable database, 360 Core, from Serials Solutions that finds journals, magazines, and newspapers for which full text is accessible through Armacost Library.
  5. Research guides, and many of the library's web pages, created with LibGuides CMS from Springshare, teach you about available resources and how to use them.
  6. Interlibrary Loan, managed with  ILLiad from OCLC, lets you request items unavailable at Armacost Library from other libraries.
  7. How Do I? is a searchable database of common library questions and answers powered by LibAnswers from Springshare.
  8. Today's Hours displays today's hours using LibCal from Springshare.
  9. Library News & the Slideshow integrates library news and highlights using  Blogger from Google, with a bit of help from Springshare and javascript.

While it can be challenging to navigate through a myriad of systems, get to know these tools and you'll develop your skills as a researcher. Use these tools and you'll come to understand their distinct and complementary roles in research. If you have any questions, and I'm sure you do, don't hesitate to contact me or anyone else in the library.

Paige Mann
Physical Sciences Librarian (and Web Experiences Librarian)

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