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Annual Report 2005/06: Services
Service developments

A major theme of The Library Strategy 2005-10 is extending our service to users, with particular emphasis on support for students and on e-strategy development. Much of our work over the past year has therefore been focused on enhancing access to the Library's resources - by extending opening hours and offering improved reference and photocopying facilities, as well as by increasing the amount of material available electronically and making it quicker and easier to identify what is required.

Service enhancements

A survey conducted early in 2005 showed substantial support from students for the Library to stay open later. In response, weekday opening at the four sites where demand was strongest was extended during the Easter vacation and summer term until midnight, with Issue Desks open until 9pm. We hope to be able to build on the success of this initiative in 2007.

October 2005 saw the launch of two additional enquiry services, the Information Point at the entrance to the UCL Main Library and the new Enquiries Service in the UCL Cruciform Library. The Information Point is a new venture for the Library, undertaken jointly with the UCL Estates & Facilities Division, as it is readily accessible to all visitors to the Wilkins Building and also provides information about UCL in general. By contrast, the Cruciform Enquiries Service, which is run by the Biomedical Team, is a source of specialist information and advice for staff and students of the UCL Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and associated NHS Trusts.

Image: Information Point, Wilkins Building
Figure 5: The Information Point at the entrance to the UCL Main Library

We were very pleased to have new photocopiers in place at the majority of our centrally-managed sites in time for the start of session. Under the terms of the new contract, we are able to offer a much better service at a lower cost overall: maintenance is greatly improved, we have been able to reduce the cost of both the rechargeable copycard (these now cost £1.00) and colour copies and to hold the price of black and white copies at the previous level.

Enhancing digital access

The Library is committed to providing a comprehensive range of information and resources in electronic format and to improving support to guide users to the most appropriate resources and to make the best use of these.

UCL Library Services has harnessed the considerable language skills of its staff to provide a Language Support Service via our website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/languageskills.shtml. Students and other Library users can contact staff by email to put their questions in one of some 30 languages offered from Arabic to Welsh.

Since the beginning of the Session the Library web pages have been redesigned in accordance with the new UCL Corporate Communications Strategy, while those for Biomedicine & Health have been thoroughly revised and expanded to include a guide to UCL's rich and varied manuscript and rare books holdings on the history of medicine, along with full details of the services available at the twelve biomedical Library sites.

Image: UCL Library Services web page
Figure 6: UCL Library Services' new-look website adopts the UCL corporate identity

The implementation of MetaLib means that Library users now have access via a single gateway to a wide range of resources, including collections of e-journals, library catalogues and image databases. Users can readily identify which resources they need, and have options such as grouping these together for cross-searching, saving the results and setting up alerts.

Many of these resources are protected by Athens authentication. Implementation in September 2005 of Athens Local Authentication has greatly simplified and speeded up registration, as users are now able to use their existing UCL computing username and password.

The eUCLid public access catalogue has been completely revamped, following an upgrade to the new version of the Aleph integrated library management system, to provide a more user-friendly interface, while its scope continues to expand with the addition of high-quality records for materials in UCL Special Collections and at the Wickford Store.

Image: eUCLid public access catalogue
Figure 7: The library catalogue, eUCLid, was also re-designed to fit the UCL corporate identity

Particular highlights for scholars and researchers include the completion of work on the monographs in the Graves Collection, on post-1640 books rare or precious enough to be stored in the Strong Room (amongst them the 1810 copy of Samuel Rogers' Pleasures of Memory in which a lost Byron manuscript was found) and on checking and amending the details of over 15,500 journal titles.

Image: Sir Moses Montefiore
Figure 8: Sir Moses Montefiore

In a related development, a comprehensive inventory of the printed works and other important materials belonging to the Montefiore Collection has now been completed. This work was undertaken as part of the arrangements for the renewal of the agreement with the Trustees of the Montefiore Endowment whereby the collection is held on indefinite loan at UCL, where it is a very significant component of UCL's substantial Judaica collections.

For taught-course students, the revised Copyright Licensing Agency licence has allowed us to enhance access to resources by extending our digital course readings service. Wherever possible, newly submitted core course readings from UK publications are now being delivered electronically via the Online Reading Lists service, as are readings retained following the first phase of a substantial project to review the contents of the existing paper-based service. This is a significant contribution to UCL's evolving e-learning strategy, and known to be popular with students, who want access outside library hours and offsite.

Quality assurance

We continue to work closely with key partners to ensure that we are offering the best possible level of service to all, while also updating practices and procedures.

Our Biomedicine and Health libraries offer services to staff in associated NHS trusts, and undergo regular NHS accreditation. Of the libraries providing services to the UCL Hospitals Trust, we are very pleased that the Rockefeller Medical Library at the UCL Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery received Level 2 accreditation in June 2006 and that the process is due to be completed very shortly for two other libraries.

In a related development, July saw the renewal of the Service Level Agreement between the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the UCL Human Communication Sciences Library, reflecting the importance of the HCS as the only dedicated speech therapy collection in the UK and its role as the National Information Centre for Speech-Language Therapy.

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Last modified 29 January 2007

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