New journal database popular with faculty and students
In June SMU joined numerous academic libraries in the United States by subscribing to a new fully searchable database. JSTOR, short for "journal storage," offers the full-text backfiles of more than 100 journals. The journals, selected from among the most important in their fields, cover an array of disciplines - from anthropology to sociology - and specialized areas such as African-American studies, Asian studies, and population/demographics.
JSTOR offers several advantages for SMU users, including access to issues dating back to 1838. For users connected to the SMU network, the database can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
"Many of the journals you can find in SMU's library, and you can get all of them through interlibrary loan," says Dennis Foster, chair of the English Department in Dedman College. "However, JSTOR gives you very rapid access to some journals that are hard to acquire, such as those from the 19th century."
The historical depth of JSTOR makes it unique among other search engines. Other scholarly journal search engines go back only as far as the 1960s. JSTOR's search feature also looks through all the journals for names and topics.
Foster advises his students to use JSTOR as a way to become familiar with scholarly literature. For his course on modern Gothic literature, his students searched JSTOR for related topics.
"It's a very practical way to gain immediate access to what's been written about a topic," Foster says.
The papers of Dallas real estate magnate and civic leader Ebby Halliday are now part of DeGolyer Library's Archives of Women of the Southwest collection. DeGolyer Library and Special Collections Director David Farmer, Halliday, and Central University Librarian Gillian M. McCombs attended a coffee April 13 in honor of her contribution. The archives include collections by and about women who have shaped Southwest culture.
University unveils new library information system|
President R. Gerald Turner unveiled the University's new library information system, PONI (Public Online Information), September 23 at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.
Library staff demonstrated the capabilities of the new PONI system, which combines the catalogs of all the SMU libraries with the ability to serve as a gateway to electronic databases and digital documents.
"PONI is an example of SMU's ongoing commitment to excellence in all aspects of teaching and research," Turner says. "Our students and faculty, as well as members of the community, will benefit significantly from its wide accessibility, retrieval options, and ability to export data."
Using the technology of the World Wide Web, at http://libcat.smu.edu, anyone with an Internet connection and Web browser software can access the library catalog. The system can browse through the vast holdings in the University's main libraries as well as link to its public holdings, including government documents. The library catalog system also enables users to communicate directly with SMU librarians.
Users can select records from their search results to print, copy to computer disk, or send to their own e-mail addresses. Library patrons can review online lists of the items they have checked out, and authorized patrons can place holds on items already in circulation.
The unveiling was the culmination of nine months of intensive effort by SMU library staff to transfer data from the University's aging NOTIS system to the new database server. For the change, two million bibliographic records were converted along with specifications for thousands of pieces of data regarding vendors, financial records, patrons, and items in circulation.
At the unveiling, Provost Ross Murfin recognized Gillian McCombs, Central University librarian; Gail Daly, Underwood Law Library director; Valerie Hotchkiss, Bridwell Library director; George Chrisman, associate vice president, Information Technology Services; Mary Queyrouze, project director and systems librarian; and the staff members from the SMU libraries and Information Technology Services who spent countless hours preparing for the conversion.
"The staff members of all the University libraries have done a tremendous job," Gillian McCombs says. "The smooth transition is a result of their care and dedication."