Fresh off a scare at this weekend's Dallas show, Rihanna quickly returned to her LOUD tour to give back to those in Alabama who have been victimized by the slew of devastating tornadoes this year. What better way to honor the hallowed land on which she performed then by busting out "Sweet Home Alabama" (surprisingly enough, "Empire State Of Mind" was not the first anthemic, locally-inspired diddy to jump up the charts) while writhing atop recently displaced fans in the name of hometown pride? (That didn't happen. She's a Southern-by-way-of-Barbados-Belle, remember?) While RiRi has not shied away from rock music at her live shows before, covering the classics is something we have yet to see. As is restraint (she's clearly asking herself, "What would Scarlett O'Hara do?"). And in a rare moment of such, there was not a single lap dance in sight. Does Skynyrd not get her in the mood?


Has the Virtual University Library Truly Arrived?(electronic libraries: electronic subscriptions, electronic databases, electronic reference)(Internet/Web/Online Service Information)

Searcher September 1, 1999 | Helfer, Doris Small We all talk about the impending and emerging electronic library. We add electronic subscriptions and databases to enhance, supplement, and, in many cases, replace hard copy. We use electronic reference materials, some of which never existed physically in any library. There is increasing interest and demand for distance-learning courses for the convenience and time-savings it can offer. We know that even students in traditional schools often prefer to use library systems and services remotely. We proactively provide services that our students can use whenever and wherever they choose. The Web has made delivering online information easier and more convenient, and its content offerings continue to grow and expand. Our users' expectations rise to the fiction that everything is available on the Web. Although we know that is far from the truth today, as demand for electronic access to information continues to grow, as people realize the great potential for the quick and easy delivery of all kinds of information, t he rising demand may convert the fiction to truth. Dream it and they will come.

Jones International and Accreditation Glenn R. Jones established Jones International University (JIU) in 1993 to provide Internet-delivered, undergraduate and graduate-level courses leading to a bachelor's or master's degree in Business Communication. On March 5,1999, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) gave JIU full accreditation. JIU was designed to meet the needs of students for whom pursuing an education within the traditional higher education structure simply wasn't feasible.

Typically, JIU students are working adults with limited time, making it difficult if not impossible to get an "on-campus" degree. They are usually well-motivated, self-directed learners comfortable with information technology and electronic communications. As part of enrollment requirements all students have access to computers that support high-speed data exchange (an extremely important consideration in designing access to the library's electronic resources). see here jones international university

The NCA's regional accreditation of Jones International University verified the university met rigorous criteria. NCA is one of six regional accreditation agencies that evaluate any and all institutions of higher education that apply for accreditation within a geographic region. Accreditation evaluation is guided by a defined set of evaluation criteria established by NCA, including numerous stages of team evaluation and on-site peer review and evaluation visitations.

During the planning stages for the development of JIU, their advisory board made a strong commitment to developing an electronic library that would support the activities of a campus-based academic library and promote information literacy as a means of supporting lifelong learning. In addition, the library followed the revised 1998 ACRL Guidelines for Extended Campus Library Services to ensure conformity with accepted academic standards. Approved by the ACRL Board of Directors at the 1998 Midwinter Meeting and by the ALA Standards Committee at the 1998 Annual Conference, the guidelines stipulate the standards for extended campus programs to which libraries should adhere. They base their recommendations on the following stated assumption:

Library resources and services in institutions of higher education must meet the needs of all their faculty, students, and academic support staff, wherever these individuals are located, whether on a main campus, off campus, in distance education or extended campus programs, or in the absence of a campus at all; in courses taken for credit or non-credit; in continuing education programs; in courses attended in person or by means of electronic transmission; or any other means of distance education (ACRL, 1998).

The Invisible University's Librarian Kim Dority is the Jones International University librarian. She received her master's in Library Science from the University of Denver. She worked for Libraries Unlimited prior to working with JIU's founder Glenn R. Jones in setting up a Publications Division for his Mind Extension University. The Mind Extension University created a network of courses delivered by cable TV. In her work with Jones on this project, she began discussing with him the importance of having a library to support the educational process. With the onset of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, the mechanism to deliver those library services to distant learners became apparent.

Having access to a computer and familiarity and working knowledge of how to use it is a requirement for all students at JIU. In addition to Kim they have one other full time, on-call reference librarian to answer inquiries from students, and three part-time, on-call subject specialists who assist in the development of the JIU Electronic library.

The Jones International library, officially named the Electronic Global Library (B-Global Library), was designed to adhere to the various standards identified by ACRL's Extended Campus Library Services Division either immediately or as part of its developmental design. The intent in establishing the electronic library was to provide JIU's students with library services that not only supported their immediate course learning and research needs, but also provided opportunities for further academic and intellectual exploration. Their goal was to mirror as closely as possible the best attributes of an on campus academic library In addition to the research materials, the library provides access to traditional library services: an on-call reference librarian, document delivery (for articles), and interlibrary loan (for books).

Jones International University has assembled more than 500 of the best Internet-based research tools, organized by broad category and then by topic, for their students' study and research needs. To ensure its authority, reliability, and usefulness to Jones International University students, each research tool was reviewed by a professional. Most are "bibliographic" databases, meaning they provide information about (and sometimes full-text of) articles on a multitude of topics.

Working with several academic librarians, JIU identified five core services provided to students in traditional academic libraries: bibliographic instruction; reference and research; document delivery; interlibrary loan; and electronic database searching. For each of these services, JIU created a process or program to meet its students' reference and research needs.

Bibliographic Instruction One section of the B-Global Library explains how both public and academic libraries are organized, what types of reference and research materials are available, and what purpose each best serves. The library explains how to ask a question for a research project and other topics on how to effectively use any library. The JIU Librarians are aware remote students will use their local public or academic libraries for research needs, so they show them how to courteously and effectively work with the local library and stress realistic expectations, the responsibilities of the student, and the existing priorities of the librarian. They try to minimize unrealistic expectations of what a public library can do for them.

Reference On-campus students regularly turn to the library's resources to answer simple questions using ready-reference sources; direct them toward an appropriate reference tool; assist them in tracking down an obscure citation; or help get them started with a research project. To mirror these activities, the B-Global Library used a two-pronged approach to deliver the reference component of its global library First they created an annotated, Internet-based reference collection comprising more than 500 academic-caliber sites organized by topic and/or format within 40 academic disciplines. These sites are grouped within four broad areas: general reference, the social sciences, the humanities, and science and technology The key points in evaluating potential additions to the collection were academic-level content; completeness, correctness, and objectivity of content; authority and/or subject expertise of the site's author/editor; currency; reliability of host organization; and usefulness to JIU courses of study.

The second approach faced many challenges since the Internet reference environment is difficult. Finding accurate reference tools on the Internet with the existing primitive tools is very challenging. An Internet site calling itself an "encyclopedia" could carry an extensive, unannotated set of links to other topical sites; a similar site might call itself an Internet "guide." "Dictionaries" may consist of a collection of self-created topical definitions, and "handbooks" constitute nothing more than editorialized compendiums of information. Search engines don't make distinctions between the accurate and inaccurate descriptions of site content and can be nearly useless in locating credible research tools among millions of Web sites. Fortunately, many professional and academic groups have attempted to identify and evaluate sites. The B-Global Library has developed its core reference collection from authoritative sources usually developed by librarians. Sources include among others: Argus Clearinghouse; BUBL (B ulletin Board for Librarians); C&RL NewsNet Internet Resources; B-Blast; Infomine; Internet Public Library; Librarian's Index to the Internet; Michigan Electronic Library (MEL); Mining Company; Rettig on Reference; and the Scout Report.

Based on the recommendations of these sources, print evaluative tools like Choice, Library Journal, College & Research Libraries News, and extensive exploration of specialized gateway directories, the B-Global Library evaluated more than 3,000 potential reference sites and selected 600 for their virtual library reference collection. They continually monitor this core collection, update, and expand it to reflect the growing digital content emerging from Internet-based resources.

In addition to the core reference library, the E-Global Library also created topical pathfinders to both print and Internet-based reference material for the three areas of emphasis for JIU students: business, communications, and business communications. These are part of the library's Web site, and, like the core collection, are continuously updated to ensure currency. The core reference collection also includes subscription-based electronic resources familiar to academic librarians. These include, among others, the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Galenet publications: Associations Unlimited, Biography and Genealogy Master Index, Gale Business Resources, Gale Database of Publications and Broadcast Media, and Research Centers and Service Directories.

Document Delivery For articles not found within the UnCoverWeb database (but identified through other resources), JIU students can request document delivery from CTRC, a University of Colorado-based information vendor with whom the E-Global Library has established a relationship. The delivery cost for CTRC article delivery is similar to that of UnCoverWeb's, with a turn-around time of 1-3 days. All document delivery costs are paid by the students.

Interlibrary Loan Although many students (and instructors) prefer the currency of articles for their course research needs, occasionally need arises for a document or book not readily available through a JIU student's local resources. To address this situation, the F-Global Library has arranged with CTRC to process its student requests for interlibrary loan. In general, turnaround time is similar to that experienced with on-campus ILL requests, although CTRC can ship books via more expensive (faster) methods if the student so requests and is willing to absorb the cost. All ILL costs are also paid for entirely by the student.

Electronic Database Searching A primary component of student research in most academic institutions today is electronic database searching. The F-Global Library consulted with several academic librarians, reviewed the databases provided by numerous colleges and universities, and met with the database expert at BCR, a library service provider and purchasing consortium, to determine which databases would most help their students. Based on these evaluations, the B-Global Library assembled a collection of research databases it believes offers both breadth and depth of information. This database core collection includes ComAbstracts; OCLC First Search (WorldCat, ArticleFirst, Contents First, FastDoc, PapersFirst, Proceedings, BRIC, GPO Monthly Catalog, MEDLINE, UMI Periodical Abstracts, and UMI ABI/Inform Abstracts); the basic Wilson abstracts; and LBXIS-NBXIS.

The F-Global Library plans not only on expanding the resource base but also (and perhaps even more importantly) expanding the tutorial content available at the library site. The JIU Library is committed to offering an extensive online bibliographic instruction component factor in order for their students to succeed as lifelong learners and to make them effective researchers.

Although currently the E-Global Library has a content-rich bibliographic instruction component, the developmental goal for the coming year is to develop the main BI component into a much more extensive, interactive, hypertext module designed to connect with the special learning characteristics of adult students. web site jones international university

They hope to closely monitor not only student usage of the research tools themselves, as contrasted with reliance on the E-Global Library librarian, to provide relevant information but also their attitudes about information self-sufficiency. Also, given convenient online access to both electronic database resources and a strong, subject-organized collection of content-rich Internet sites, which will students choose to use?

The E-Global Library is also concerned about the impact of JIU students' use of their local public libraries. However, it may be impossible to measure this factor for very remote students. Unless a student clearly identifies where they come from, most librarians have no way of knowing where a patron attends school or frankly even if they attend school at all. I know from my experience with another distance education program in my area that my university library frequently answers reference questions and helps their students obtain materials they need for their courses.

Just the Beginning There is little doubt the digital library is growing in both technological sophistication and the range of its content offerings. I believe we are merely in the infancy of the truly digital library What effect will the digital future of librarians have on traditional service and staffing assumptions? The number of vendors and non-profit content suppliers joining the fray continues to grow, as will the variety of materials available. I truly believe one day most library service will occur on the Internet, but we are far from that place today.

Because of the electronic nature of the E-Global Library they can carefully monitor the impact of this new model on its students and their learning out-comes. The JIU library hopes to get a better understanding of distance-based adult learners as college students and how libraries can most effectively support' their reference, research, and learning requirements. There may be much we can learn and share with each other about how distance learners use and get information. The computer will enable JIU librarians to watch what their students look at and for how long, but it will be more difficult for them to measure whether that usage truly translates into quality learning. Students prefer articles they can get quickly over higher-quality articles. This is understandable given the pressure assignment deadlines.

There is little doubt that distance education will boom. The Web has made it easier to deliver to the end user, and users want and expect the convenience. Changes happen at an increased pace in our society. I've heard it said that the average technical degree granted today will be out of date in five years and that many of us will have four or five different careers during our working life (that's careers, not jobs). We will not have the time to return to a university to get another degree to keep up, and the demand can only increase for distance learning. Already today universities as diverse as Stanford, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and UCLA Extension offer distance-learning options.

The E-Global Library on the other hand, was designed to support the learning expectations and outcomes of Jones International University students, all of whom are "off-campus." Consequently, all staff and resource funds were dedicated to delivering electronic library services remotely as their primary purpose. In addition, from its inception, E-Global Library has been seen not as an afterthought to the JIU learning experience, but as critical. Its electronic resources reflect the Internet-based course curriculum and are intended to enable JIU students to move beyond the course reserve readings into the broader arena of intellectual exploration.

Thanks I would like to thank and credit Kim Dority for her help and generosity in sharing information which I used extensively for this column and hope you will all read her forthcoming article, written with Martin Garnar, that will appear in Advances in Library Administration and Organization (volume 17, winter 2000). If you want more information about the JIU E-Global Library, you can contact Kim at If you would like more information about Jones International University, you can contact Sherrie Lotito at

Helfer, Doris Small