Electronic Reserves

Colleen Coughlin, Head, Course Reserve

Electronic Reserves (E-Res) at Bowling Green State University is off to a solid and promising start. Following a successful pilot project in fall 2001, the Reserve Units at Jerome Library, Science Library, and Firelands were able to successfully launch electronic reserves throughout the university in spring 2002.

During the fall semester, the Main Reserves unit conducted a pilot project that fulfilled all its objectives with resounding success. The pilot project involved 16 faculty members who represented 24 courses and targeted about 700 students. These faculty and courses represented a wide variety of classroom sizes, the smallest being 3-5 students and the largest being a lecture class of 150. The pilot pool also represented both undergraduate and graduate classes from small discussion and seminar classes to large lecture sections and even two lecture/labs courses. The faculty members helped to test the new E-Res system by submitting approximately 700 documents, consisting of pdf articles, powerpoint presentations, word documents and links to e-books, web sites and Blackboard course pages.

The pilot project ran smoothly with very few reported problems. Faculty and students completed an evaluation of the service that helped to resolve glitches and other problems prior to the launch of E-Res in spring. Faculty and student feedback overwhelmingly reflect a preference for E-Res versus the regular paper-based reserve materials. Of particular note was the faculty perception that students actually read more of the reserve readings, because they were on-line. Students confirmed this faculty perception with 91% of the students reporting that they read the same or even more material for their courses than they would have if they had to use regular paper-based reserve materials.

The pilot project was helpful in identifying a significant problem with file size. We were able to successfully resolve the problem before the campus-wide implementation. The resolution of this problem significantly reduced the download time for our on-campus and our off-campus users of the system.

The launch of E-Res this spring has been very successful. To date, 112 faculty members have submitted 1800 documents for E-Res to support 119 courses, compared to 1500 documents for regular paper-based reserves. Close to 25,000 students have already accessed the E-Res web sites during the semester, showing a much higher use rate than the circulation rate of 12,700 for regular paper-based reserves. For more information about the E-res service please contact Colleen Coughlin at: colleen@bgnet.bgsu.edu or (419) 372-7908.