New search bar provides more content
By Roman Ramirez III
The library now uses WorldCat Discovery, a new search bar to access information in the library’s online databases.
“It’s going to be the main search interface for people to use to find content for their research,” said Pru Morris, the collections services manager. “There is more database content behind the scenes that will surface.”
The library switched from an old version, WorldCat Local, on May 22. WorldCat Local has a separate tab for DVDs and videos, but the new version combines them in “Multimedia.”
According to WorldCat.org, WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services.
WorldCat gives access to all the physical items one finds in a library in digital form. The catalog has a network of 10,000 libraries worldwide with 2 billion items in 31 languages like English, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.
The new interface does not look too different from the old one, but users can now navigate to an advanced search to lead them to WorldCat. The search bar is the first tab on the library’s website, and Morris said a user would just come to the library page like before.
The library introduced it in the summer to give faculty and students a chance to get used to the new interface, Morris said.
WorldCat Local and WorldCat Discovery are both part of the WorldShare Management Services through the campus’ integrated library system. The cost of the WorldShare Management Services subscription is $3,053.57 a month.
Shane Alan Boone, a communications junior with a minor in psychology, has checked out the new interface. Boone researched a client he had in a summer section of COMJ 4322, Public Relations. His client was Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America, and he said WorldCat is different from the old search engine.
“I’m going to be able to get everything instead of clicking on different subcategories,” Boone said. “Instead of doing multiple searches, I can get everything in one try.”
Diego Huddleston, a kinesiology senior studying for a teacher’s certification elementary through 12th grade, has not used the new search tool but has heard of it.
Huddleston took EDCI 4309, Legal and Ethical Issues in Education last semester when WorldCat was not available. His professor, Armando Tejeda, recommended to look up peer-reviewed articles for the class.
“It would have helped in the class and made it easier to look for peer-reviewed articles on legal issues in the school,” Huddleston said.
Tim Gritten, executive director of library and collections services, explained why it is important for students to know about these library resources.
“WorldCat Discovery makes it easier for students to find underused library resources,” Gritten said. “I want to make sure the university is getting the most out of students’ tuition dollars.”
Library borrows books from around the world
By Christian Toler
Librarians say another resource can make life easier for students and faculty.
Interlibrary Loans, also known as ILL, has been available since before 2011 but is among A&M-San Antonio’s underused library resources.
ILL gives students access to books and resources they may not find in the university’s still growing library. If a student needs a book and it’s not in the library, they can access Interlibrary Loans through the library catalogue. By filling out a form, they can order a book locally or internationally.
Sarah Timm, A&M-San Antonio’s library public services manager, said she believes students may not be using the resource because they prefer physical copies, which take longer to ship, to electronic copies.
Timm said students “do tend to prefer the physical books.”
E-books are available on ILL and articles can be shipped the same day, while on average, shipping in books or DVDs can take up to a week and a half to two weeks. For example, “Tintin: Hergé and His Creation” by Harry Thompson arrived from Canada within two weeks from the date the patron submitted the request.
“So I think that’s part of why it’s not used as often because there is a little bit of a turnaround time, or a delay when you request something,” Timm said.
The resource is free with costs being covered by the library; the service is mostly used by the library’s faculty but can be used on or off campus by currently enrolled students.
James Finley, an assistant professor of English, finds the ILL service helpful. He uses it to access sources not in the library for his scholarship focusing on the 19th-century U.S. antislavery movement.
Finley wrote in an email to the Mesquite he would “most certainly” recommend the service to others.
“I’ve requested books, articles, magazine and newspaper issues, and broadsides, and have received this material in print form, as PDFs and on microfilm and microfiche,” Finley wrote.
Finley has also used ILL in his teaching and has found it helpful in finding more obscure material.
“Perhaps the most exciting source was a broadside, or a large sheet of printed material, from the 1840s that was printed for a political convention. Not only was it difficult to access but it also proved important for my research,” Finley wrote.
Biology sophomore Jennifer Martinez said she has not used the ILL service.
“I’m not sure (If I would),” Martinez said.
For more information about ILL, visit www.tamusa.edu/library, call 210-784-1504 or email email@example.com
Library offers guides for courses
By Matthew Musel
Course-appropriate research guides are also available for students.
Aida Almanza is in charge of the library’s arts and science section, which includes biology, communication, geography, geology, physiology, Spanish and speech. She said most librarians meet with professors before their class for a walkthrough of what the class will cover. After this, the librarian sets up a specific list of relevant information for the class.
For example, Almanza likes how there is a course-appropriate research guide to help with any class at A&M-San Antonio.
“You would go from the home website to ‘University Library,’ advanced search and then the terms you are looking for,” Almanza said. “It will give you all the related credited sources.”
If anyone does need help navigating the resources the library has to offer, chat rooms are available and provide instant support. Students can text, call or make appointments 8 a.m to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-9 p.m Sunday.
To request a research guide for a course, faculty and students can visit www.tamusa.edu/library, call 210-784-1500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Librarians offer research appointments
By Nicolas Jordan
Research appointments were introduced in spring 2018 to students of A&M-San Antonio.
The research appointments help students obtain research specifically needed for a course.
Aida Almanza, arts and science librarian, assists students in setting up their research appointment. There are librarian experts for different majors that can help each student.
Each research appointment is 30 minutes long maximum, but each student can set up two consecutive appointments for one hour of help. Research appointments are available during library hours.
Business marketing sophomore Julianna Guerrero was initially hesitant about making a research appointment. However, she scheduled one, and it helped her become more successful with research papers.
“Being a marketing major, there are limited resources to use when it comes to research specifically for my major courses,” Guerrero said. “The designated library employees helped me become more familiar on how to use the appointments to my advantage.”
Communication junior Brianna Olvera made research appointments quite frequently last semester.
“The research appointments helped me so much last semester when someone had broken into my car and stole my laptop,” Olvera said. “They allowed me to get homework and research papers done by their set deadlines. I probably would have failed a course if the research appointments are not available.”
For more information or to schedule a research appointment, call Almanza at 210-784-1522 or email at email@example.com.
Morris said the library hopes to expand its services and resources as its collection continues to grow with WorldCat Discovery, Interlibrary Loans, course-appropriate research guides and research appointments being only a few of the resources offered.
“There are more resources planned in the future to be available to students,” Morris said.