SubjectsPlus@ NUST Library Helping library users to discover e-resources through subject-themed guides Remote presentation to the EIFL GA Minsk, Belarus 26 June 2011 Amos Kujenga Systems Analyst NUST Library Bulawayo, Zimbabwe firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Introduction The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) was established in 1990 through an Act of Parliament. It is state-owned and is located in the city of Bulawayo. NUST Library is the institution’s hub of academic activity. Having three branch libraries, it serves a student population of about 4500.
NUST Library Vision To be one of the top class academic Libraries in Zimbabwe, utilising new and emerging technologies in the provision of service and information to the University community.
NUST Library Mission The NUST Library exists to provide all staff and students with information resources using state of the art tools and methods in support of the University’s mission.
Project Justification • NUST Library subscribes to a number of online resources mainly through the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) arrangements. • Efforts have been made to improve the usage of these resources through, for example, an on-going, on-demand Information Literacy Skills (ILS) training programme and other initiatives. • Challenges of users having to navigate throughout the website to get to the best resource for the particular Patron’s needs is one reason for the little usage of these resources.
Project Justification • Guided search has proven to be a key solution to this problem. • Guided search software helps ease the job of the Twenty-First Century Subject Librarian by giving them an easy platform to assist Patrons.
Subject Librarians • Subject Librarians are library staff members who have been formally assigned to be the primary contact persons between the library and the faculties and/or academic departments. • They are sometimes referred to as Subject Specialists, Library Liaison Officers, or Faculty Librarians. • They are expected to understand the information needs and scholarly communication patterns of assigned disciplines.
Subject Librarians • At NUST Library this role is played by Assistant Librarians • One assigned for each of the faculties: • Applied Sciences • Built Environment • Commerce • Communication & Information Science • Industrial Technology • Medicine
Subject Librarians • Collection development and organisation • Provision of subject-specific reference and information services • Provision of subject-oriented library instruction • Manning the HelpDesk • Library orientation for new students
Subject Librarians • Their role in the selection of electronic resources is not just important for ‘paid-for’ resources (Pinfield, 2001). • Increasingly, Subject Librarians are required to identify free web resources which may be of interest to users. • Due to low Information Literacy Skills (ILS) levels, many users find the array of resources available on the Internet to be confusing and daunting. • Subject Librarians are well placed to locate and evaluate quality resources. This involves maintaining an awareness of key web finding aids and gateways as well as sites with actual subject content.
What is SubjectsPlus? In summary, SubjectsPlus is an Open Source set of tools aimed at enhancing a library website. It provides facilities to dynamically manage a library’s subject, course, and topic guides.
SubjectsPlus Features • Database-driven (uses MySQL) • Open Source - freely available • Includes: • Subject or Course Guides • A-Z List of Databases • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) • Suggestion Box (or Talkback) • Staff List
Why SubjectsPlus? • Easy to use • Easy to install and configure • Good for low-technical support environments • NUST Library intends to train personnel from peer institutions • Subject Librarians can be given access to easily create and update Subject Guides • Empowers the Knowledge Workers, giving them full control of the site contents • Content Management architecture means that, e.g., changing a web address just has to be made in one place • Free/Open Source • Customisable • NUST Library promotes the use of FOSS
Why SubjectsPlus? • Includes Library 2.0 features • RSS Feeds • Bookmarking • Growing user community • Active, Google Groups-based mailing list • Documentation in Wiki • Video Tutorials
Expected Outputs • Increased usage of subscribed electronic resources • Increased interaction of Subject Librarians with users • Improved feedback mechanism • Improved focus on user needs • Improved student performance • More focused or streamlined ILS training programmes • Improved efficiency in updating of library website
For more information... • Amos Kujenga • Systems Analyst • NUST Library • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com
Don’t miss out... • eIFL-FOSSSubjectsPlus Themed Week • 10-14 October 2011
Bibliography Agyen-Gyasi, K. (2008) 'The Need for Subject Librarians in Ghanaian Academic Libraries', Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, vol. 9, no. 3, Winter. Feldmann, L. (2006) 'Subject Librarians in the Changing Academic Library', Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, vol. 7, no. 3, Winter. Hahn, K. (2009) 'Introduction: Positioning Liaison Librarians for the 21st Century', Research Library Issues: A Bimonthly Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, vol. 265, August, pp. 1-2. Love, J. (2002) 'The Enhanced and Changing Role of the Specialist Librarian: Survey of Education Librarians', The Reference Librarian, vol. 78, pp. 149-165. Pinfield, S. (2001) 'The changing role of subject librarians in academic libraries', Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, vol. 33, no. 1, March, pp. 32-38.