Volume 1 Number 1
SUNYConnect: Libraries Wherever
|Shouldn't all SUNY students have access to a
core set of electronic databases? Why can't a student search all SUNY library catalogs,
and then request books or other resources from whichever library owns them? Aren't there
certain electronic library resources that are needed by every SUNY college? Nowadays,
don't students applying for college expect this basic level of university-wide electronic
Many people involved in libraries today see the need for shared electronic information services. Moreover, they view the lack of such services as a significant deterrent to increasing enrollment and improving student retention. If prospective students don't find these services at SUNY colleges they will take their tuition monies elsewhere.
SUNY/OLIS began creating the foundation of such core online resources in 1995. Today the office is building on those efforts through a virtual library project called SUNYConnect. Joe Branin, Dean and Director of Libraries at SUNY Stonybrook deserves credit for developing an initial proposal for the project. Following endorsement of the concept by SCLD, a Virtual Library Action Group was formed to help develop the project.
SUNYConnect seeks to provide the following:
Larry Randall, on leave from SUNY Purchase where he was the library director, is the Project Manager for SUNYConnect. Larry, Carey Hatch and other members of the Virtual Library Action Group have been busy developing a financial plan and advocating for SUNYConnect. Presentations have been made to the SUNY Board of Trustees' Committee on Academic Standards, Provost Salins' office, the Academic Vice-Presidents of SUNY colleges, the Business Officers' Association as well as to such professional organizations as ENY/ACRL.
Widespread support for SUNYConnect is seen in the SUNY library community. The April 24, 1998 resolution of SCLD is strongly supportive of the SUNYConnect initiative. The SUNY Librarians Association (SUNYLA) has voiced its support for SUNYConnect in a variety of ways including a formal resolution and a letter to the Provost's office. The OLIS would like to extend thanks to Provost Peter D. Salins for his continuing attention to and advocacy for the SUNYConnect initiative.
The SUNY budget process is underway. While the SUNY Board of Trustees chose to remove requests for funding any new program initiatives (including SUNYConnect), other mechanisms for providing the financial foundation to SUNYConnect are being pursued. SUNY/OLIS is committed to progressing towards the complete SUNYConnect model. This is seen as a supplement to existing library services and as such needs to be funded outside the confines of existing library budgeting.
Whether a complete SUNYConnect is achieved in a piece-meal fashion or via a fully funded approach, the fact that progress has been made should not be ignored. SUNY System Administration is committed to continued funding of the core database services already available -- IAC SearchBank ASAP (with full-text), OCLC FirstSearch, Britannica Online (encyclopedia) and the Carl Uncover Reveal (current awareness) services. These resources are available now, SUNY-wide via http://olis.sysadm.suny.edu/sunyconnect/db.htm.
The SUNY Library Contract Advisory Team (SLiCAT) continues to actively evaluate additional database resources. Plans are for more databases to become available to all of SUNY in the not too distant future.
Progress is being made on choosing a common library software system for SUNY. See the article on SLAM for more information.
Larry has been busy working with a team from the SUNYLA Library Instruction Committee to develop a RFP for an information literacy course. Proposals will be requested from within SUNY to develop a web-based course on core information literacy concepts.
More information about SUNYConnect can be found at http://olis.sysadm.suny.edu/sunyconnect/about.htm. Make use of a SUNYConnect prototype at http://olis.sysadm.suny.edu/sunyconnect. Supporting materials describing the program have been distributed to SUNY library directors. These materials are designed to be used to advocate for the program around the SUNY system and at all of the SUNY colleges.
Will SUNY students of the future have access to the online resources now becoming commonplace? Will SUNY and New York be among those providing state-wide electronic library programs for the next century? OLIS and its partners are striving to make the answer "YES!".