Electronic Resources and Libraries is pleased to congratulate Yi Ding, one of two student travel awards to attend ER&L in Austin, April 3-6, 2016. Read excerpts from Yi’s winning essay and see why we are so excited to have her attend!
UCLA, 2017 MLIS Candidate
Q: How are electronic resources related to your academic and/or professional career goals, and how will attending the ER&L conference help you achieve these goals?
A: My internships at the Reference Department at Oxford University Press and the CHOICE magazine with the American Library Association in my senior year were as much about managing databases for millions of books as about understanding the significance of electronic resources in the world of academia and education via communicating with hundreds of professors and publishers. Seeing that effective electronic resources both enable millions of people to easily find information, and also facilitate and improve the valuable work of scholars ignited my desire to study information science and to devote myself to providing easier access to knowledge in the future. Here I am, at UCLA School of Information, delving into socioeconomic, technological, legal, and many other aspects of electronic resources while contributing everyday to providing easier access to electronic resources for UCLA students by working as a Graduate Reference Specialist at Powell Library. My inspiring conversations with the Copyright and Licensing librarians when I built a website for my WordPress class and my rewarding discussions on the class of data curation with professors specializing in data management and preservation turned my vague fascination for electronic resources into a solid passion for scholarly communication and especially open access. The track of Scholarly Communication at the ER&L 2016 aligns exactly with my aspiration to explore more deeply open access initiatives nowadays. The track of Emerging Technologies and Trends including the overview of the impact assessment and the design of a course content student affordability program also intrigues me very much for its potential use in my future reference help for students and professors. I am eager, motivated, and ready to learn widely at ER&L and to prepare for my future endeavor of a more efficient propagation of knowledge.
Q: While chatting with a faculty member, she mentions that all the material she needs to conduct research is available on the Internet. She comments that she doesn’t see a need for the library to have a physical presence on the campus. How would you respond?
A: I would first understand the excitement she has for the convenience of accessing a wide variety of scholarly materials online nowadays. I would then explain to her, however, the necessity and the charm of a physical presence of academic libraries by the following three reasons. First, electronic resources couldn’t replace all the traditional approaches in education and academia. Many researches and learning have to be done with physical copies of print materials, such as a sociological study of advertisement in popular magazines and a paleographical study of rare books, the graphics and details of both of which cannot be fully accessible and thus accurately examined online. Second, it is never wise to relinquish the capacities and resources of an academic library of providing live public educational events, in-person instruction and consultation services, and even emotional support and intellectual stimulation via studying together, as I witness and contribute during my work at Powell Library at UCLA. Last but not the least, I would like agree with the faculty member that just like education needs to change over time, the role of the library does need to change according to the needs of patrons. The emergent needs of patrons in this era of electronic resources are exactly what can only be achieved in a physical library on campus. Many students come across problems about learning new technologies to better access and utilize electronic resources such as citation plug-ins, impact assessment tools, and copyright issues. Instead of leaving the patrons to deal with new technologies and trends in academia and education, it is the responsibility of academic libraries to spearhead new programs and train more professionals with information literacy to better serve the customer.