Library trades paper periodicals for electronic

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With new periodical system, more than 1,000 students can access information from the library simultaneously.

By Selina O. Affram

The library has traded the old, outdated system of paper periodicals for a new electronic system.

Periodicals Librarian Candace Peterson said, “People who produced the encyclopedia would never have produced it in print if they knew about the electronic system.”

The library in Moody Learning Center first began incorporating electronic periodicals in 1986, which were then on disc and loaded onto the database accessed online.

Peterson said the new system is more efficient and saves time and money.

With the electronic system, students are able to do research 24 hours a day from the comfort of their homes.

There are certain exceptions with the periodicals.

Certain periodicals on microfilm that have pictures are not accessible through the Internet and are reserved as microfilm in the library.

With this system, more than 1,000 students can access information simultaneously.

With the paper and microfilm references, only one student has access to the material at a time. 

With paper or microfilm periodicals, students must look for the subject and check within the library’s subscriptions and holdings list to see if the particular volume is available.

This is time-consuming, compared to the simple click of a computer mouse, Peterson said.

Students do not have to search every search engine. 

They can search different periodicals in one database, instead of running around searching different indexes.

Peterson said the students have been more receptive to the new system, compared to having to struggle with keeping up with 1,000-page references and waiting in lines to have access to the references. 

The paper reference index had more than 20,000 periodicals compared to only 1,000 electronical references.

The problems that librarians run into with the paper references are that the papers easily tear and are hard to keep track of and store.

Funding for the periodicals comes from the student financial tuition accounts paid at the beginning of each semester and is catered to the needs of the students. 

“You get the biggest bang for the buck,” Peterson said.

In the past, $56,600 was spent for about 680 subscriptions compared with only $3,300 for 17 subscriptions today.

Peterson said that learning how to use the database is worthwhile, even if that means taking at least one hour at the beginning of the semester to become acquainted.

She said the time of all students is important.

Receiving the best results while researching a project involves evaluating the best process of finding the information needed. Databases and computer indexes can help in this process.

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