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Decreasing Resources - New Services for University Libraries Norbert Lossau at IATUL 2003 Conference Ankara, Turkey. Topics Bielefeld University / Library, Germany – background information Role(s) of and challenges for academic libraries Libraries and eLearning

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Decreasing Resources - New Services for University LibrariesNorbert Lossau atIATUL 2003 ConferenceAnkara, Turkey


  • Bielefeld University / Library, Germany – background information

  • Role(s) of and challenges for academic libraries

  • Libraries and eLearning

  • eLearning – a range of concepts

  • Introducing eLearning at universities – conceptual and implementation aspects

  • Outlook at Bielefeld University

Bielefeld University Library, Germany – background information I

  • University: 14 faculties with particular emphasis on interdisciplinarity

  • Library founded in 1967

  • One central on-site library, divided into groups of subject based libraries

  • Close spatial proximity of library reading rooms and faculty facilities

  • 2 Mio books and other media items, the majority for open access

  • Long opening hours: Mo-Fri until 1 am, Sa-Su until 10 pm

  • 180 FTEs and PTEs

Bielefeld University Library, Germany – a Centre for Technical Innovation II

  • 1977 Implementation of IBAS as the first online cataloguing system in Germany

  • 1987 CD-ROM OPAC, the first German university library catalogue on CD-ROM

  • 1998-2000 Development and Implementation of the Digital Library North Rhine-Westphalia

  • 2003 Major activities (national and EU) to test and introduce web search technology for indexing and integrated access in the digital library sector (partnering with FAST Search & Transfer ASA, Norway)

Role(s) of and challenges for academic libraries Technical Innovation II

  • University Library

    • Decreasing staff and financial resources

    • Running local/physical AND online libraries

  • (The major) central academic service

    • Requests to take on additional roles

    • Duplication of work/competences – the need to collaborate with other central services

    • Relationship central – central and central - decentral

  • Centre for / participant in external innovative information service/infrastructure developments

Libraries and eLearning I Technical Innovation II

  • Library resources as source material for eLearning courses

  • Integrate eLearning objects into information access systems (online catalogues, subject portals/gateways)

  • eLearning objects may get scholarly “publication” status

  • Archiving of eLearning objects

Libraries and eLearning II Technical Innovation II

  • Strategic decision: position the library as central academic service beyond traditional tasks

  • Redeploy didactic competences of libraries at the university

  • Redefine activities for librarians

eLearning – a range of concepts and scenario I Technical Innovation II

  • Didactical concepts / usage scenarios – the need for a commitment of faculties / authors

  • Replacement or new forms of eTeaching?

  • Online learning or learning material online?

    • Electronic organisation of seminars/courses -Electronic course material for current seminars

    • eLearning objects as course independent modules, both subject specific and interdisciplinary

    • Communication with participants

    • Performance test of and usage statistics

eLearning – a range of concepts II Technical Innovation II

  • Restricted or free access?

  • eLearning platforms can support international networks/collaboration

  • Relationship of concept and technical infrastructure (system platform), e.g. process- or content-centred

Introducing eLearning at Universities I Technical Innovation II

  • Focus at Bielefeld University – Integration of eLearning

  • Task Force of central academic services to analyse university wide information system infrastructure

  • eLearning system – other university information systems (library, computing service, central administration)

    • All-in-one or modular system architecture?

    • University portal discussion

    • Functionality overflow – the need for a comprehensive analysis of university systems (e.g. other electronic course directories, calendars, chatrooms, video-conferencing)

Blackboard api und building blocks
Blackboard API und Building Blocks Technical Innovation II






API Connections (horizontal) e.g. single sign-on

Building Blocks (vertikal)


Object Server


Library Portal



A prototype at Bielefeld University Library Technical Innovation II

The Online Library Catalogue embedded in the Blackboard eLearning system

Introducing eLearning at Universities II Technical Innovation II

  • Evaluation and selection of a system platform

    • Reuse of existing evaluations (e.g. Schulmeister, Vienna/Munich: 171 platforms; UNESCO Free Software Portal “Courseware Tools”)

    • Define local specifications

    • Define a set of core functionalities /k.o.-criteria 

Introducing eLearning at Universities III Technical Innovation II

A set of core functionalities /k.o.-criteria:

  • Non-functional

    • Platform independent

    • Web based

    • Scalable and robust

    • Import and Export of data (based on standards, e.g. IMS, LOM, SCORM, OKI)

    • Flexible and open programming interfaces (integration aspect)

    • Data security

    • Intuitive user interface for course instructors and users

    • Documentation and support

Introducing eLearning at Universities IV Technical Innovation II

Define a set of core functionalities /k.o.- criteria:

  • Functional

    • User administration (authentication mechanisms, different user groups with different rights levels)

    • Communication (asynchrone: e-mail, forums, synchrone: chat, whiteboard)

    • Content management / administration of courses (structuring of course content, modular structure)

    • Set up, performance and assessment of tests

  • Systems evaluated in Bielefeld: Blackboard, WebCT, Clix Campus, Illias (open source, Cologne University); other systems: Bodington, Stellar etc.

Introducing eLearning at Universities V Technical Innovation II

Temporary and permanent resources required, mainly:

  • Didactical advice and guidance

  • “Marketing” within (and outside) the university

  • Tutorials and support for course instructors

  • Content creation (e.g. interactive, multimedia)

  • System installation and day-to-day operation (24/7 service)

  • Further programming (system integration, interaction)

  • eLearning platform (licensing or open-source, soft- and hardware, maintenance)

Outlook at Bielefeld University Technical Innovation II

  • eLearning – decision at the University IT-Committee

  • Institutional scholarly publication server

  • Central Digital Object Server

  • Web Search Technology

  • Campus wide metadirectory service

  • ?Central authoring / conversion tools

  • ???