Friday, September 14, 2007

eReference is the Wave of the Future

The other day a sales representative for several publishing companies dropped by my office so I could preview some new titles. The first thing he asked was if we were still purchasing hard copy books. When I said “Yes,” with a note of surprise in my voice, he told me that some libraries will no longer look at print materials for their reference collections. The Cuyamaca College Library is not ready to take this leap just yet. But we have invested in a number of eReference books, and they do have some advantages over print materials.

The first advantage is access. eReference books are available to our users 24/7—and some titles are automatically updated by the publisher for a set period of time, say...five years. So an eReference copy is often more up-to-date than a print copy. Of course these electronic resources are accompanied by all sorts of useful tools, such as an email feature that allows students to email articles to themselves. In addition, the entire text of these books is searchable by keyword, something impossible to do with a hard copy book. However, some find eReference books difficult to use, especially if they need to read for long periods of time. And eReference resources aren’t always user-friendly to folks who aren’t regular computer users.

Still, the writing is on the wall, cyberspace. eReference is the wave of the future. Because of this, I have decided to present a series of articles on these books. Some will highlight specific titles, and some will offer tips on how to use eReference materials more efficiently. For now, take a look at what we’ve got on our Databases A to Z page, linked to the library website. Special note: if you are trying to access these databases from outside the library, you must use your campus username and password.

-Kari Wergeland

1 comment:

keli said...

I like books I think they are great but like everything thing else technology will replace them as we learn to use it, ebooks will be loaded to tablets for rainy day reading or pda's or evan phones no more waiting for someone to bring it back and ultimatly kids will someday think it an odd story to hear about rows and rows of books like horse drawn buggies,black powder muskets or black and white TV those of us who remember them fondly will be seriosly dating ourselves and eventually forgotten