I’ve been impressed with how many instructors have it as a goal to provide students with high-quality, affordable resources. Increasingly, instructors have been inquiring about providing students with easy access to free materials through the campus library. As an instructor in one of our collaborative programs, you may be aware of the potential challenges that can accompany providing library materials for your students: each campus library in the degree partnership needs to have the resource, it needs to be available online, and access needs to be stable. Determining if a resource checked all these boxes was no easy task.
I thought, “there has got to be a way to make the process easier!” Luckily, I found a group of UW librarians familiar with the mission of UWEX who were willing to help. I recently sat down with three of these librarians to discuss an excellent opportunity to offer students free, easy, and stable access to library materials: UW Shared Resources.
Left to Right: Julie Pohlman Library Program Director (UW System), Renee Ettinger Assistant Director, Research and Outreach Services (UW-Green Bay), Aubrey Huff Undergraduate Support/Outreach Librarian (UW-Stout)
Can you explain what UW Shared Resources are?
[Julie] Sure! UW Shared Resources are library materials licensed specifically to be available to all UW students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, UW Shared Resources are located online, which means students can access them without needing to go to a specific campus, which is why they are great for online programs with geographically dispersed students.
What types of resources are included in this collection?
[Renee] I could probably fill a whole page answering this question, but I’ll highlight just a few items.
- Books: We have many books. For example, Proquest Ebook Central has more than 200,000 titles across publishers, and Wiley Online has over 40,000 titles. If an instructor is using a Wiley book, I highly recommend looking into whether or not it is a title we have.
- Journals: We have tens of thousands of journals articles across most disciplines in various databases. Too many to list, honestly.
- Streaming Media: Films on Demand has 30,000 titles across disciplines; Alexander Street Press collections: PBS Video, the National Theatre, Nursing and Mental Health, and LGBT Studies.
- Newspapers: Proquest “Newstreams” – U.S., Canada, International; Westlaw Campus Research.
As you can see, there are a lot of resources available that can be used as a primary or supporting component to a course.
What are the benefits of linking to UW Shared Resources in a course versus uploading them or linking to other resources on the Internet?
[Aubrey] A few benefits quickly come to mind:
- Stability. We can run reports on resource usage and ensure long-term access to materials by negotiating with vendors to keep a resource during contracting.
- Copyright compliance. Directing students to library content instead of uploading PDF copies is the best way to ensure course materials are copyright compliant.
- Increased Options. Shared Resources provide instructors more options when developing a course. Many instructors are being asked to be cost considerate when developing a course, which can result in fewer resources being selected. Using Shared Resources provides more options. For example, we worked with an instructor who had already identified a required textbook for a course and wanted to use only two chapters from another book to flesh out a particular topic. In this case, he felt he couldn’t justify having students buy a book for just two chapters. Fortunately, the book was part of the Shared Resource collection, so the instructor was able to provide his students with exactly the material he wanted to adequately cover the topic.
Who can instructors work with to see if a particular resource is part of the Shared Resources collection?
[Julie] Instructors have two options:
- If they are currently revising or developing a course, we recommend they reach out to the instructional designer with whom they are working. The instructional designer then reaches out to the campus librarians, who locate the shared digital content.
- If they aren’t currently developing or revising a course but would like to explore options, they should contact their campus librarian! The librarian can help determine if a resource is shared. If not, they can offer additional suggestions prior to moving to a purchase option.
If instructors want to find resources on their own, how can they tell if a resource is part of the UW Shared Resources?
[Julie] First, when an instructor searches for a book or article in Search@UW (the library search portal), they need to make sure they search for only online resources. Second, Shared Resources will be identified as such (UW System Shared) in the listing.
If instructors want to start a search in a shared database, they should visit the guide listing all shared content databases: https://libguides.uwgb.edu/uws-library-resources.
Last question, what other services do UW librarians want instructors to be aware of?
[Aubrey] In this interview, we talked about how librarians can help instructors locate materials, but we can also work with them to incorporate student-facing library and information literacy instruction directly into an online course.
[Renee] We can also provide point-of-need help for you or your students when they are doing research, so please don’t hesitate to have your students contact their campus’ librarian if they need to locate high-quality resources.
As I wrap up this article, I’m happy to say that because of the collaboration with the librarians and the simple process they have developed. I’ve been able to assist a number of instructors incorporate UW Shared Resources into their courses. The UWEX ID team is excited about the opportunities UW Shared Resources provide. These resources are a free and easy way to provide stable, high-quality, and copyright-compliant materials to students in our collaborative programs.
We look forward to seeing how instructors incorporate these resources into new and existing courses!