The Newsletter of the New Mexico
State University Library
Vol. 12, No. 3
Researchers at Work : Dr. William C. Eamon
Gwen Gregory, Head of Post-Cataloging
Dr William C. Eamon, director of the Honors Program, is an active
researcher in the history of science and medicine and the history of
Renaissance Italy. He is interested in the philosophical and academic
tradition in science and medicine, especially in medieval and early modern
Italy. He is currently researching the 16th century Italian surgeon
Leonardo Fioravanti, who was an important figure in the popular medicine
of his time. We spoke with Eamon in August, to learn about his research
and how he uses scholarly information.
Eamon's Fioravanti project focuses on this lesser-known medical figure and
how he influenced popular views of medicine. Eamon has visited
government-run archives in Florence, Venice, Rome, and other Italian
cities in search of original source materials relating to Fioravanti. He
has created a database containing the names of over 500 contemporaries
Fioravanti mentions in his writings, and he searches for information by or
about these people. He has also traveled to the National Library of
Medicine in Washington, DC, to study some of their manuscripts and rare
16th century medical books. For more general background reading and
current awareness, he uses the NMSU Library's books and journals. He is
also a heavy user of our interlibrary loan services.
Since joining the NMSU faculty in 1976, Eamon has seen definite changes in
his research methods. In the beginning, he did not have funds to travel.
Thus, his research was limited to what he could conduct locally. He
confined himself to the "more conventional questions in the history of
science" that could be researched using readily-available books and
journals. He used interlibrary loan to obtain items from other libraries.
As he has become successful in getting grant funding, he is able to travel
and use the primary source materials in the U.S. and other countries.
This has enabled his research to move to new topics, which have not been
explored by others. He advises junior faculty to begin writing grant
proposals as soon as possible: "getting research grants gives you a lot
Back to Citations
UMI Dissertation Express Now Available
Deanna Valdez, Interlibrary Loan
The Interlibrary Loan Office has a new pilot program for all dissertation
requests. Dissertations will be obtained through UMI Dissertation Express,
if available. The dissertation will be delivered to the library via
express carrier within a few days.
It will be loaned to the patron for one month. After the loan, the
dissertation will be added to the library's collection for future use. If
you want a copy of a dissertation to keep, you should indicate it on your
ILL request form; cost is $24.50. A copy of most dissertations can be
obtained within a few days for this amount.
To aid in locating pertinent dissertations, First Search now has the
database Dissertation Abstracts available for searching.
A dissertation which is not available through UMI Dissertation Express
will be borrowed from another library. There will occasionally be a
dissertation that is not obtainable, even directly from the university
involved. Requests can be placed three ways: in person at the
Interlibrary Loan Office in New Library; through the interlibrary loan
option on the Cafe Ole menu through telnet; or through the interlibrary
loan Web form. For additional information , please call the Interlibrary
Loan Office at 646-4737.
FirstSearch Offers 60 Databases on the Web
Donnelyn Curtis, Interim Head of Collection Management
The World Wide Web continues to improve as a resource for scholarly
information. Beginning this semester, the NMSU Library's home page
provides access to 47 additional bibliographic and full-text databases for
the NMSU community through the FirstSearch service. Last spring semester
the library provided access to only 13 FirstSearch databases. Some of the
new databases available are: Dissertation Abstracts, Book Review Digest,
Disclosure, EconLit, INSPAC, GeoRef, Public Affairs Information Service
(PAIS), and RILM (music).
The FirstSearch package covers a wide range of academic disciplines as well
as areas of general interest. Some of the databases are being provided to
NMSU users electronically for the first time, while others have been
available in the library in CD-ROM format. Access to the 60 FirstSearch
databases is made possible through the library's participation in a
consortium of academic libraries in New Mexico and Texas and through the
cancellation of the print and CD-ROM versions of some of the databases.
Faculty, staff, and students at NMSU can access FirstSearch on the CafeOLE
web page at http://lib.nmsu.edu/article.html.
Select FirstSearch from this page. Text-only access is available
through the telnet version of Cafe OLE at lib.nmsu.edu. For help in using
FirstSearch contact a reference librarian in either library (646-5800).
New Web Pages for Interlibrary Loan
Jivonna Stewart, Interlibrary Loan
In an effort to provide better service and to respond to the interest
shown by our patrons, the Library has created an Interlibrary Loan area
on our web page at http://lib.nmsu.edu/depts/illdds/index.html.
Through this site, NMSU faculty, staff and students can fill out request
forms for needed materials or find answers to questions about the
interlibrary loan process. Browsers from other libraries can access our
Visit our site and let us know what you think! As always, your comments
and suggestions are valued.
Sun News Index Available on the Web
Cheryl Wilson, Head of Special Collections
The Special Collections staff is pleased to announce the availability of
the Las Cruces Sun News Index on the web. The Las Cruces Sun-News Index
currently provides researchers access to the articles appearing in the
newspaper from January 1, 1995 through April 30, 1997. Please note that
this is an index to articles. Full text of the articles is not available
online. The address is http://lib.nmsu.edu/resources/sunnews/index.html.
The scope of the index includes all news and feature articles relating to
Las Cruces and Dona Ana County. Editorials and Letters to the Editor
concerning only local issues are included. Sports stories relating to
NMSU, Las Cruces and Dona Ana County high schools, and other local teams
and athletes are indexed, but elementary and middle school sports stories
are not. Obituaries and death notices are indexed. Birth, engagement,
wedding, and anniversary announcements are not indexed. Club and
organization meeting announcements, the Police Blotter, Sound Off and
advertorials are also excluded.
The Las Cruces Sun-News is available on microfilm at the NMSU New Library.
Current issues are retained at the Periodicals Desks in New Library and in
Branson Hall. Current issues and microfilm are also available at the
Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces.
Special Collections staff members began indexing the newspaper in September
1986 and eventually all of the database will be available on the web. If
you are trying to locate articles in the September 1986 - 1994 issues
of the Las Cruces Sun News, please call 646-6122 for assistance.
Special Collections Extends Hours
Cheryl Wilson, Head of Special Collections
The NMSU Library Special Collections research room will be open Thursday
evenings from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. during the 1997 fall semester. These
hours are in addition to the regular hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and
1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Special Collections is located
on the 2nd floor east in Branson Hall. For more information or
reference assistance please call 646-6122.
Special Collections collects, preserves and makes available for research
published materials related to the history and culture of New Mexico and
the Southwest. We also have several collections which support specific
Anna H. Gardiner Library Endowment
Charles Townley, Library Dean
The NMSU Library recently received a gift of $270,000 from the estate of
Anna H. Gardiner. Income from this endowment will be used to support
library services and collections in the interest of the university,
with emphasis in the sciences.
Anna Gardiner held a master's degree in mathematics from Yale University.
She began teaching mathematics part-time at NMSU in 1946. She also worked
as a mathematician at the Physical Science Laboratory. She later served
as head of the Physical Science Laboratory's Ballistic Data Reduction
Section. The late widow of George W. Gardiner, first head of the NMSU
Physics Department and founder of PSL, Mrs. Gardiner also established an
endowed professorship in the physics department as part of her bequest.
Library endowments are very important to help extend library services, to
take advantage of new technologies, and to provide access to scholarly
information in this time of dramatic price increases. If you are
interested in establishing a bequest for the University Library, please
contact Dean Charles Townley at 646-1508.
Library Web Page Usage Up
The Library's web page is used more every month. In 1996/97, total use of
the web pages was up 275% from the previous year.
We now have information about many library services available on the web,
including reserves, renewals, interlibrary loan, reference, and Pegasus
document delivery. We have recently added access to web-based indexes and
full-text journal articles.
See our web site at http://lib.nmsu.edu.
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions!
Library Plays Vital Role in General Education Program
NMSU's General Education Program, first created in 1991, requires
undergraduate students to take 38 credits of general education courses.
The general education requirement is intended to broaden students'
educational horizon beyond the requirements of their major fields. As the
information center of the university, it is the goal of the University
Library to serve the research needs of general education coursework as
well as to support all other university curricula.
As set forth in the NMSU Undergraduate Catalog, general education attempts
to foster intelligent inquiry, abstract logical thinking, critical
analysis, and the integration and synthesis of knowledge. It strives for
literacy in writing, reading, speaking, and listening; it teaches
mathematical structures, acquainting students with precise abstract
thought about numbers and space. General education encourages an
understanding of science and scientific inquiry; it provides an historical
consciousness, including an understanding of one's own heritage as well as
respect for other peoples and cultures. General education includes an
examination of values and stresses the importance of a carefully
considered values system; it fosters an appreciation of the arts, and
provides the breadth necessary to have a familiarity with the various
branches of human understanding.
Courses are included in one of three parts of the general education
program: Part I, Developing Critical Thinking and Modes of Expression;
Part II, Establishing a Common Background; or Part III, Viewing a Wider
World. An orientation tour of the library is included among the Part I
requirements. In addition, Part III courses must include a library
"literature search." In order to better serve the university community,
the library now offers multiple options on how this search may be
conducted. For the most extensive range of resources and assistance, the
library literature search may be conducted in person at Branson Library or
New Library with the help of reference librarians in using library
information resources in a variety of traditional and electronic formats.
Instructors may also wish to have their students use the "Resources by
Subject" section of the library home page
as a gateway to Internet information resources on a wide variety of
subjects. This option is especially useful for distance education courses.
The links to online information in "Resources by Subject" are selected and
evaluated by librarians, and suggestions for new links are welcomed.
Please contact Education Librarian Edward Erazo at
The library has also developed its own Part III, Viewing a Wider World
course, LSC-311G, "Information Literacy." This popular 3 credit course
is designed to help students become full participants in today's
information society. Both practical and theoretical in scope, it uses a
mixture of lecture, hands-on assignments, and written research projects
to enable students to develop the technological skills and critical
thinking abilities needed to use the printed and electronic information
resources found in libraries and on the Internet. Any student who
successfully completes this course will be able to locate, critically
evaluate, and apply information in his/her academic courses and
professional and personal life. Several library faculty have taught the
course. Additional information on L SC-311G, including a current
syllabus, may be found on the library home page at
During the routine recertification process every four years, the adherence
of each general education course to all general education requirements,
including the library component, is examined. The library is happy to
play a vital role in general education at NMSU, and eager to work with all
instructors of general education courses to ensure that their classes'
contact with the library is a positive and successful experience.
Journal Cancellation Update
Donnelyn Curtis, Collection Management
Last spring, every department at NMSU had the unpleasant task of deciding
which library journals could be canceled. The state bond money that had
been helping the library cover the cost of journal inflation (10-15% per
year) was almost gone, and it looked as though in order to balance our
budget for 1997-98, the library would have to cancel subscriptions for
1998 totalling $400,000 (about 32% of this year's journal budget). In one
of his last administrative acts, President Orenduff re-directed
$250,000 of university funds to the library to maintain crucial
subscriptions and develop some alternatives that would help control the
problem in the future. President Conroy has honored that financial
Immediately before the spring semester ended, we were able to give
departments the good news that we would retain some of the subscriptions
they had identified as possibilities for cancellation. The new target is
close to $200,000. We now have a revised list of titles that has been sent
to departments along with their original list of cancellation
possibilities. Some departments will want the library to keep a journal
another department has targeted for cancellation. Each journal is coded to
only one department, but that doesn't mean that only faculty and students
in that department use it. We can re-code a journal to a department
that doesn't want to lose it as long as that department can give us the
title of another journal of equivalent value that we could cancel instead.
The final list of canceled journals has been compiled and posted on the web
In keeping with administrative directives and our own planning, we are
using some of the $250,000 supplemental university funds and what is left
of the 3-year bond to develop our document delivery program and increase
access to electronic information. With the loss of journals for browsing,
it is increasingly important to provide the tools to help researchers
find out what is being published and to get individual articles on
PAN is Dead - Long Live PAN!
Library users accustomed to finding citations to articles using the index
PAN may have noticed that it isn't in its familiar place when you go
through the library's OLE system and type /lib. The library had been
providing access to this general index for more than two years. What
was good about it was that you could search it the same way you search the
online catalog; you could use it outside the library in your home or
office; and it let you know if the library owned the journal and gave its
call number (if you could figure out the strange way to get that
information). Bad things about it were that it gave the oldest
listings first; and the listings were never very up-to-date. As of
July, this index was no longer available in its OLE-compatible format.
But there's good news! A database that is similar in coverage but which
also provides the full text of many of the articles has been available
since February on the library's CafeOLE homepage on the web. We call it
PAN Plus. It was a newly developed product and had some problems, but a
recent improvement of the software makes it an excellent resource.
Students and faculty who have used it love it.
It is available to any NMSU user who logs in through a university e-mail
account. A web browser such as Netscape allows you to take advantage of
its easy-to-use graphical interface, but there is also text-only access
for those who telnet to lib.nmsu.edu.
Users who are out of town, using an outside internet provider, or use
telnet will be asked to enter their NMSU PIN numbers.
To use PAN Plus on the web, go to http://lib.nmsu.edu/article.html.
Rio Grande Historical Collections Celebrates Twenty-Fifth Year
By Tim Blevins and Marah deMeule, University Archives/RGHC
1997 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Rio Grande Historical
Collections, created to support advanced scholarship at NMSU and to aid
New Mexico's preservation of its cultural heritage.
Interest in developing a manuscript repository within the University
Library had begun in the early 1960s. Dr. Laiten Camien, a professor of
sociology, served as Chairman of NMSU's Museum Committee. During his
chairmanship he highlighted the need to collect not merely the artifacts
but also the unpublished materials illuminating the history of both the
university and the region. Early areas of concern included development of
agriculture in New Mexico, and development of the academic disciplines and
the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.
University President Roger B. Corbett, supportive of the Museum Committee's
recommendations, established the University Archives in 1965. Dr. Camien;
Chester Linscheid, university librarian; and Dr. Ira Clark, professor of
history and government, served on the newly created Archives Committee,
providing oversight and advocacy. The committee reported the need to
aggressively collect research materials and make them available. They
offered three reasons justifying the creation of such a repository: the
university required the support of a large archives to do graduate work at
the doctorate level in the social sciences; no central agency had been
charged with the task of collecting archival materials from southern New
Mexico; and southern New Mexico's documentary heritage was disappearing.
When Gerald W. Thomas became president in 1970, he provided the support
and commitment needed to create a successful manuscript repository in
addition to the University Archives. Thomas appreciated the need to
preserve the documentary history of southern New Mexico, and quickly threw
his support behind the proposed unit. Other campus leaders, including
former university president Gen. Hugh M. Milton II, history professor Dr.
Monroe Billington, and new library director Dr. James Dyke, rallied
support both within and outside of the university. Civic leaders such as
J. Paul and Mary Taylor, Opal Lee Priestly, and Mrs. A. E. Huntsinger
agreed to serve on the Rio Grande Historical Collections' first Board of
Directors. The Rio Grande Historical Collections was formally chartered on
January 29, 1972.
During its initial year, the Board hired an archivist, Dennis Rowley, and
solicited a number of important collections focused on ranching and
agriculture. The board celebrated the RGHC's success at its second annual
meeting in 1973, then adjourned and "enjoyed a buffet supper and the
hospitality of President and Mrs. Thomas at the basketball game afterward."
Austin Hoover, who succeeded Rowley in 1974, was able to offer the
fledgling repository stability and greater visibility. He began engaging
in extensive fieldwork, traveling throughout the state to meet with
potential donors and offering presentations on the repository to local
organizations. The RGHC also benefitted from the continued support of
its Board and friends group. Through ties to the community, the RGHC
and its friends were able to acquire significant documentary materials for
the repository. State Representatives J. Paul Taylor and David Townsend
offered crucial support. They secured appropriations from the legislature
which allowed the RGHC to greatly improve both its services to researchers
and the facilities for preserving and housing its materials.
In 1991, one of the most ambitious and most successful RGHC efforts, the
Durango Microfilming Project, began. The goal of this cooperative effort
with the Archdiocese of Durango, Mexico, is to microfilm and preserve the
entire contents of the Archivos Historicos del Arzobispado de Durango.
Founded in 1563, Durango was the seat of the diocese which, from 1620
through the early 1850s, contained much of northern Mexico and parts of
New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and southern Colorado. These unique records have
attracted researchers to the RGHC from across the United States, Mexico
Also in 1991, the Rittenhouse Photographic Survey of New Mexico was
introduced as a project to enlist volunteers to photograph the settled
localities of New Mexico. The original idea was the plan of prominent
Western American bookman Jack D. Rittenhouse, whose vision was to make
available photographs of the significant sites and structures which were
disappearing each year. In November, 1993, RGHC launched a traveling
exhibition of Jack Rittenhouse's photographs documenting the changing
appearance of buildings and towns in New Mexico. In addition to the
Rittenhouse images, many of the RGHC's 500,000 photographs can be seen
in local exhibitions, scholarly and popular publications, and even in
documentaries such as Ken Burn's Baseball. Exhibitions created by the
RGHC have traveled to twenty-four sites throughout the state for public
During the 1994 session, the NM State Legislature appropriated funds which
made possible the purchase of darkroom equipment and a digital
reformatting lab. This allowed reproduction of historic photographic
images for research use, exhibition, and publication. The funds also
provided for the purchase of document preservation equipment used in the
preservation laboratory, constructed in 1996, which was built with a
generous gift from the Stockman family of Albuquerque.
Since 1995 the RGHC offices and Search Room have been located on the
fourth floor of Branson Hall. Currently, the RGHC holds over 5,000 cubic
feet of materials which place primary emphasis on topics of special
interest to a land-grant university. These subjects include early
settlement, ranching, irrigated and dry-land farming, the management
and use of natural resources including water, literature and cultural
affairs, social affairs and conditions, and other topics deemed important
to the education, research, and public service programs of NMSU.
Formats of these documentary materials include diaries, correspondence,
financial records, literary manuscripts, printed materials such as
newsletters, and photographic materials such as negatives, prints,
and movie film.
The collections continue to grow, supporting increased usage and a wider
audience. If you have or know of others who have documentary materials
suitable for inclusion in the Collections, please contact the Rio Grande
Historical Collections, Box 30006, Las Cruces, N.M. 88003,
Pegasus Service Available For Doctoral Candidates
By Cindy Watkins, Research Support Services
Pegasus, the University library's document delivery program, has once
again expanded its scope. This new phase continues to support the
University's research needs. In addition to serving the faculty,
professional staff, and students and staff with disabilities, the Pegasus
service will begin service to Ph.D. Candidates.
All items are first searched for in the NMSU Library's own collection. If
the material is located in the library we will copy the articles or check
out the books and deliver them to your office. If the items are now owned
byour library, Pegasus staff will access an outside document supplier,
which enables us to fill most requests. Books, journal articles,
government documents, conference proceedings -- all delivered to your
You will received most items within 2-3 days. Photocopies of journal
articles and our own library books are delivered to you by Pegasus student
employees. You may retain the photocopies, assuring the copyright "fair
use" restrictions are observed as to its use and dissemination. Please
read the statement on U.S. copyright law which appears during your online
session as you complete your electronic request. To return books to the
library simply contact our office and we will be by your departmental office
to pick them up.
Document delivery has become popular on many campuses because it provides
primary information essential to research, articles needed for classroom
use, or outside readings to be placed in the library's reserve collection,
freeing faculty to fulfill other obligations.
To make a request notify the Research Support Services office of the
University Library by any one of the following methods:
web page: http://lib.nmsu.edu/circulation
phone: Cindy Watkins at (505) 646-7676 or Dora Morales at (505) 646-1854
fax: (505) 646-2288
Please include the following information:
Your name, building, department and room number
A. For an article:
volume, issue number, date, page numbers
article title and author of the article.
B. For a book:
for more information about Pegasus, contact: email@example.com
Cindy Watkins at 646-7676 or Dora Morales at 646-1854
Library Initiates Fees for Printing
Susan E. Beck, Instruction Co-ordinator
This fall, the NMSU Library will begin charging 8¢ per page to print from
its electronic databases. This was by no means an easy decision. The
Library is committed to offering the highest quality services at the
lowest cost. However, the high prices for paper and laser printer toner
are eating a very large hole in the Library's budget. Each month close to
50,000 pages are printed off the Library's electronic database network.
Sadly enough, many of these printed pages end up in the scrap paper bin.
Our alternatives were either to quit offering printing altogether or to
start charging a modest fee for each page printed.
Patrons will pay only for printouts from the Library's electronic networked
databases, including all of our web-based databases. If the computer is a
stand-alone workstation with its own printer, patrons will not be charged.
One benefit in our switch to charging for printouts is higher quality
print. Up to this point, print quality has been light and difficult to
read because the all laser printers were set on "draft" mode to save money.
The three laser printers are located in Branson Hall Reference and
Government Documents and in New Library Reference. New, computer-driven
charging stations will be attached to each of the three laser printers. In
order to keep things simple, the charging stations will only accept
copycards as the method of payment. These are the same copycards used by
the Library's photocopiers. Copycards can be purchased at the circulation
desks in both Branson Hall and New Library.
For those that would rather not spend their money on printouts, there is
an alternative: downloading. You can download your search results to a
floppy disk for free. Downloading is a fast, easy and environmentally
friendly method of transporting information. Almost all of the electronic
databases allow you to download your search to a 3½ inch diskette.
What's more, all the First Search databases let you e-mail your search
results to yourself.
If you do decide to download your search results to a diskette, it's easy
to view, edit and print the data because downloaded files are generally
plain text files. You can import plain text files to most word processing
programs. Finding a diskette for downloading shouldn't be a problem either.
You can buy them at the NMSU Bookstore and at the Copy Center in the New
Federal Funding Opportunities for the NMSU Campus
Jeanette Smith, Head, Government Documents
In these days of tight budgets it is more important than ever to be
aggressive in seeking federal grant funding for campus programs and
activities. The NMSU Library can provide crucial information to help you
in this effort. Campus grant writers can apply for available federal
dollars through many opportunities announced in the "Bible" of grant
writing, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. The catalog is a
government-wide compendium of federal programs, projects, services, and
activities which provide benefits to the American public. It contains
listings of approximately 1,300 financial and nonfinancial assistance
programs administered by over 50 U.S. agencies, as well as complete
information needed for application.
Usually published each June and updated in December, the catalog is located
in the Documents collection on the second floor of Branson Library under
the call number Doc Ref PrEx 2.20. A copy is also available at the New
Library reference desk. For those who prefer the convenience of a
computer keyword search, the catalog may be accessed through the Documents
home page on the library's web site (http://lib.nmsu.edu). Click on "The
NMSU Library," then "Services," then "U.S. Government Documents," then
"U.S. Government Information Online." You can also call up the catalog
directly on the World Wide Web at http://www.gsa.gov/fdac/
As current as the catalog is, there is a way to find even more up-to-date
federal grant opportunities through the Federal Register, the "daily
newspaper" of the U.S. government. In this publication, grant availability
notices are published on a daily basis. It is located in the Documents
collection under the call number AE 2.106. The Federal Register may also
be found online on GPO Access through the Documents home page, or may be
called up directly on the World Wide Web through GPO Access at
The Library as a Utility for Delivering Scholarly Information
Charles Townley, Library Dean
Scholarly information is the lifeblood of any university. Scholarly
information and the knowledge it transmits guides teaching and learning,
informs research, and assures effective service at New Mexico State
University. Without a constant supply of scholarly information, teaching
and learning lose their creativity, research becomes repetitive, and
service becomes derivative.
The NMSU Library's job is to make sure that appropriate scholarly
information is organized and made available in a user friendly manner, to
guide users to scholarly information and knowledge, and to teach people
how to identify, access, and evaluate scholarly information. We do this
in an environment where growing demand and evolving technology are changing
the way we look at delivering scholarly information. It is no longer
enough that the library acquire and organize a collection of physical,
usually printed, objects. We must organize and provide access to the most
needed information, regardless of its location or format.
To provide access to scholarly information in today's world, the NMSU
Library needs to change from a philosophy of collecting and holding
scholarly information for possible use in the future to a philosophy of
organizing and accessing information that is actually used regardless of
its location or format. By making this change we will be better able to
prove library effectiveness and be in a stronger position to attract
support and funding.
Experience this year indicates our current collect and hold philosophy is
broken and will not work. The University administration and state
government operate in a poor state. Some decision-makers see the Library
as a bottomless pit rather than the primary source of knowledge. The NMSU
Library has never had equitable funding compared with our peer
institutions. With publishing costs currently inflating at ten percent
annually, we are losing purchasing power and we keep falling further
behind in our already inadequate holdings. Recently, some have begun to
think that libraries are unnecessary because everything is findable (and
free) on the Internet. This is as fallacious as the argument that
educational television will replace classrooms. Instead, the data indicate
that different media supplement rather than replace each other.
Personally, I believe electronic information is a great new resource which
represents a significant commitment of University resources and needs to
be organized through libraries just as books and journals are. To succeed
at this, the Library must change its funding model to assure that the
University community has access to this growing electronic collection of
To focus this discussion at NMSU, I wish to propose a utility model for
evaluating NMSU's access and information organization activities. Simply
put, I argue that we should treat scholarly information and the knowledge
it contains as a common good, needed throughout the University, just like
water or electricity. Under this model, the NMSU Library's job is to make
sure that our users can access and retrieve a ready supply of appropriate,
authenticated, and organized scholarly information. The Library then
becomes a utility for delivering scholarly information and knowledge. I
hope this model will change our thinking on several fronts:
-Rather than basing the strength of scholarly information available at
NMSU solely on the size of the collection and the supporting services we
provide, we base strength on the Library's ability to organize and deliver
useful information to our users, regardless of its location or format.
-By taking a user focused approach, the Library can do a much better
job in justifying our budget with the University and the state. We can
assure that the NMSU community has access to appropriate information for
teaching and learning, research, and service. We can effectively argue
for access, through purchase, lease or any other method, appropriate to
the information that is being used.
-As the information utility, we owe it to our rate payers (the users)
to provide scholarly information in the most cost effective manner
possible consistent with delivery. This makes it necessary to change our
service paradigm to take advantage of opportunities in the structure of
scholarly information and in technology. For example, an electronic
reserve room may offer some real advantages for both distance and local
instruction. We must also be prepared to quickly address changing user
information needs. For example, many of the CD-ROM databases that looked
so promising for reference only three years ago now seem terribly limited.
My crystal ball sees three areas of focus in organizing and delivering
information: frequent use; less frequent use; and capital development.
In terms of heavily used information, I think we need to focus, as the new
Library strategic plan dictates, on providing a core collection in many
formats, located both in the Library and elsewhere, to meet current
instructional and research needs. The goal of the core collection should
be to meet the majority of people's information needs through a
comparatively small, tightly defined core collection. This means that we
collect or contract for information resources that have a proven pattern
of use. For example, a recent study of periodicals indicates that only
about 2,000 of our 7,000 current subscriptions are used on a frequent
basis, usually for instruction. What if we accessed these frequently used
titles through electronic indexes, often at home or in the office, and
delivered them, regardless of the format, directly to the user? That
would constitute a radical improvement in terms of how most of us use the
Library most of the time. The UMI, Academic Press, and J-STOR projects
offer opportunities in this area. While they cost more on a per title
basis, their centrality to our University mission and the heavy usage they
generate will put more high quality information in the hands of more
students and faculty more quickly and at a lower unit price.
At the other end of the spectrum, I believe we will increasingly obtain
less frequently used material at the time it is needed. The Library and
the University simply do not have the financial ability to support the
exhaustive research collections that most disciplines need to access. We
should recognize this reality and begin to organize our access tools to
facilitate delivery of lesser used research materials on a demand basis.
We will need to structure our collection management and cataloging areas
to organize these materials and make them easily accessible. With careful
planning on our part and no further erosion of copyright law, many will be
available from other libraries. Others will be available electronically
by subscription. We will go to the commercial sector to purchase some on
demand. In all cases, our goal should be to describe potential
information sources well (what libraries call catalog data and computer
centers call metadata) and deliver it with little or no delay.
Finally, in order to assure access to esoteric information, the University
Library should focus its capital resources on five to seven disciplines or
sub-disciplines where we try to develop exhaustive regional and
international collections. These areas should be carefully chosen based
on user needs and the strategic directions of this University. If we were
to select (the border, rhetoric, or astronomy, to cite three of the many
possibilities), we would invest capital funds to develop regional or
national collections in all formats. These collections would then serve
as our bargaining chips in negotiations with other libraries and
commercial vendors to assure on demand access to all the research
information needed by students and faculty at NMSU.
In terms of our ability to justify and attract funding, we would develop
state support for the core collection on the basis of its frequent use
and economic savings to the University as a whole. We would use arguments
such as, "Every dollar spent on the core collection generates $10 worth of
use." It also makes it easier to argue for increases in the materials
budget to keep pace with inflation when there is no fat in the design.
Further, items in this category are heavily used and would cost more to
repeatedly buy on demand. Less frequently used items would consist of a
definable expense that could be fine-tuned on an ongoing basis.
Information that becomes frequently used is purchased for the core
collection and vice versa. To develop this program, we will have to
develop a much improved effort to gather statistics on demand for
information in specific subject areas. Exhaustive collection efforts
would be funded, just like other capital development in New Mexico,
through one-time bonds and continuing general funds. In addition, we will
work closely with our colleagues in the colleges to include the Library
in research funding efforts. This will put our information in areas where
user demand will permit us to be flexible.
From a collection point of view, we will likely have a slower growth in
our core collection of physical objects, a few areas of real strength in
research, and many more items purchased at the time of need. Library
users would seek information and browse differently, relying less on
visits to the periodicals collection and the stacks and more on vastly
improved electronic indexing and abstracting that permits virtual scanning
in the classroom, office, or at home. All of this will take more money,
user training, and Library personnel. It certainly will change what we do
and how we do it. But it will also generate additional support, expand
access, and improve delivery. Our goal , as a user focused organization,
will be to lead and support users better and better.
This summarizes my initial thoughts on a utility model for collection
development at NMSU. As you can tell, much of this proposal is tentative
and needs further elaboration and testing. I ask your help in discussing
the strengths and weaknesses of this and other models. In the end,
students, faculty, library personnel, University administration, and
state powers must be convinced that the utility model is an efficient and
effective user-based approach to providing scholarly information needed
for teaching and learning, research and service.
NMSU Library News Briefs
In February, the library launched its first large full text database.
800 journals are available in text-only form. In the first five months
more than 27,000 articles have been downloaded. See the indexes at
In 1996/97, the library had over 850,000 hits on its web pages
(http://lib.nmsu.edu). One of the
most heavily used pages was Border and Latin American Information, with
67,860 hits. Other popular sections were the Shortcuts library
tutorial, Searching the Internet, and the Internet Gateway.
This fall, the Office of University Advancement will conduct a fundraising
phone-a-thon of graduates from each college. Most of the colleges offer
their graduates the opportunity to contribute to the library. Last year,
more than $3,500 was raised. Several of the colleges use these funds to
provide new faculty with money for library materials supporting research
and instruction. We encourage all Aggie graduates to consider making a
contribution in this important area. Your gift to the library supports
not only your college but also the entire university.
The updated version of the Shortcuts library tutorial is now available on
the library web site, at http://lib.nmsu.edu/projects/tutorial/
This tutorial gives the user a virtual tour of the NMSU Library and its
research facilities, including tips on using the online catalog.
The Library has installed a new phone routing system. To reach the
library, you should now dial (505) 646-5800. This number will lead you
to hours information, reference assistance, reserves, and all other library
Send comments and questions to: