- The Web has taken on increasing importance in the libraries, becoming
a gateway to an abundance of electronic resources, instructional
activities, outreach, and reference services. The libraries' homepage
continues to be one of the most frequently accessed on campus. A
new, professional design enhanced the appearance and consistency
of the pages, with a growing number of new and revised subject guides
to assist users in navigating their way to information. Also of note
is a large and growing list of electronic journals, Web-based tutorials,
interactive floor maps, presentation of collections held in the libraries,
and online exhibits. The ULS help page was redesigned to give clearer
access to help topics, and an experimental interactive library skills
quiz was added to this page. A Java tutorial for Boolean searching
was created, as was a dissertation Web page with interactive links
to the library Web catalog. Most of the library publications are
now available on the Web, facilitating 24-hour access and more timely
- The phrase "library without walls" came closer to reality.
Access to the libraries' electronic resources was given a tremendous
boost by using names in the VCU One Card database to create a library "proxy
server," authenticating off-campus users. For a significant
number of resources, it is no longer necessary to visit campus to
have equal access.
- Tompkins-McCaw Library has increased the number of bibliographic
training sessions it is offering in response to the growing
complexity of Web and other electronic resources. There has been
a payoff in larger number of students enrolling in classes, resulting
in a 38 per cent increase in attendance. New user aids were created
for Web versions of Medline, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. New courses
were developed on using the librarys proxy server and on
searching Medline with Internet Grateful Med and PubMed. A pilot
program for M-III surgery students on searching and evaluating
Internet resources was created. There was an increased interest
from MCV Hospital personnel for library educational programs.
- On the Academic Campus, University Computing Services staff
and ULS faculty and staff presented Internet Brown Bag lunches.
ULS classes for university faculty, staff and students included "Statistical
Sources on the Internet" and "Censuses -- The Roadmap to
the U.S. Economy", among others. A new instructional and outreach
initiative was also launched -- Brown Bag lunch sessions targeted
at specific departmental audiences. Initial sessions were scheduled
for the Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, English/History,
and Social Work.
- Cabell Academic User Services faculty and staff provided library
instruction and outreach services to undergraduate and
graduate level classes. For example, Government Documents faculty
and staff provided instruction on federal and state government
information, including census, defense, environmental management,
fashion, international trade, marketing, social work, urban studies
and planning, scientific and technical reports, statistics. As
a second example, following the migration of databases from the
mainframe to other platforms, Instruction and Outreach faculty
and others offered workshops on database alternatives.
- To provide higher quality and more reliable printing services to
faculty and students, the library and other units in the university
contracted with a vendor to implement a pay-for-print operation.
Segments of the student population were vocal in their opposition
to having to pay for printing, leading OIT to reduce charges, which
helped to quiet objections in the latter half of the year. For the
first time, the library could offer color and laser printing to the
public. By spring, the library was able to reduce costs further through
- Users now find it easier to renew books, with the revision of a
Web-based renewal form and with the implementation of telephone renewals. Web-based
forms for requesting holds and recalls and delivery services
were also revised.
- A reduction in staff accelerated the librarys decision to
move most of its mainframe databases to a client-server environment.
Almost all those databases are now running on remote servers at a
vendors site and accessible through a Web interface. The library
elected to retain running Medline on a local server to ensure better
response time, but its mainframe version was similarly discontinued.
At the very close of the year, Medline was upgraded to a more advanced
version, permitting, among other things, more sophisticated searching,
more complete information, and the potential for automatic updating
for better currency.
- Cabell services to persons with disabilities were
enhanced through re-conditioning the Perkins Brailler, installing
DecTalk on the public adapted computer workstation, and re-loading
JAWS screen reading software on the public adapted computer workstation.
- A new relationship between the university and the Medical College
of Virginia Hospital affected operations within the library. The
most visible impact was the closure of the Hospital Library,
which served for many years as an outpost to the Tompkins-McCaw Library.
Serials, monographs, and multimedia materials from the Hospital Library
were integrated into the Tompkins-McCaw Library collection.
- As part of the new Ph.D. in Allied Health Sciences, the Tompkins-McCaw
Library developed a Health Informatics course proposal.
- Tompkins-McCaw Library was awarded a $33,000 contract from the
national Library of Medicine for the initiation of the "Western
Virginia AIDS Information Outreach Project."
- In response to user needs, the Tompkins-McCaw Library began offering e-mail
access in the computer lab.