Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Digital collection hits the million mark

DU’s Penrose Library has crossed a milestone in the digital age by adding the millionth URL to its catalog.

Over the past few years, librarians have been converting items in Penrose Library to a digital format and have compiled a substantial number of online periodicals, journals and resources as part of its online catalog. The effort means students, faculty and researchers can access many different sources of information quickly and from anywhere.

“Users want full text and they want it now,” says Chris Brown, reference technology integration librarian. “Penrose is on the forefront of providing digital access for our DU community and the public.”

Digitization has helped the library offer more materials to more of its users. For example, Anna Sher, a DU associate professor of biology, can use digital databases such as “Biological Abstracts” and “Web of Science,” which index 1,952 and 6,321 unique journals respectively. Using these databases, Sher can find articles she needs in journals such as Wetlands, Biological Conservation, and Journal of Arid Environments.

“I may be the only professor on campus who regularly uses these resources so it doesn’t make sense for Penrose to carry them just for me and my students,” Sher says. “But because they have online subscriptions, valuable time and effort is saved. Ultimately, this means better quality work and more productivity for me and my students.”

Collections Librarian Michael Levine-Clark works with a consortium of libraries in Colorado to provide access to far more titles than Penrose could ever afford to subscribe to individually.

“Where a scholar might have to travel to multiple libraries to see 16th-century books, now they can go online and search the full text of multiple editions,” Levine-Clark says. “Our push is to put our money into new digital collections.”

Betty Meagher, metadata and materials processing librarian at Penrose, says it is her job to make it easy to find the materials housed in Penrose, physically or digitally.

“Users want convenience,” Meagher says. “We set it up so when they search for an item, it is seamless and they can see everything we offer related to their search.

“You definitely have to be tech-savvy to be a librarian these days,” Meagher says.

So, what was the millionth URL? The publication happens to be, Computers and education: e-learning from theory to practice by Baltasar Fernández-Manjón.

And yes, tagging metadata was added to it as well, so users can search “millionth url!” and find the article.

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