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Stanley Wilder
swilder2@uncc.edu
Phone: 704-687-3110
Director's Blog  
 
The Library has decided to migrate from its current search infrastructure to a new one, an OCLC product called WMS. You can take a look at a current WMS installation here. We expect the 49er version to be in production by August, 2013.
 
WMS represents a quantum jump in search power. For example, WMS changes the frame of a library catalog search such that users retrieve results for the universe of scholarly articles, books, and other material, and not just material Atkins happens to own.  We’ll also have “faceting,” wherein search results are displayed along with one-click filters for refining results… maybe you want only French language material, or peer reviewed articles, or books by and not about Susan B Anthony. There’s far more to WMS than this, so feel free to write, call, or stop by. 

Sincerely,





Throughout the history of higher education, library collections have been an important source of competitive advantage. This is natural given that collections support determined what kind of academic work was possible at an institution. But it also flowed from the nature of collection building, which consists of expensive piecework of the most demanding sort. It’s not surprising that prestige accrued to the institutions that committed themselves to this work long ago.
 
Enter the age of commodity collections, where vast bodies of scholarship, current and historic, are available to virtually any institution. Large scale digital monograph projects such as HathiTrust, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, EEBO, and ECO are rapidly erasing the decades-long advantage of older institutions in painstaking book selection. E-journal packages and their backfiles are doing the same for article literatures. The competitive advantage due to collections diminishes daily before our eyes.

Sincerely,





The biggest threat to the academic library is the low expectations of their communities. Sometimes these expectations are oriented in a positive direction, based on fondly-remembered book and quiet places, the smells and grand spaces. The alternative is negative, the casual assumption that libraries have nothing more to offer in a digital age. Both are outdated to the point of toxicity: nostalgia and dismissiveness turn out to be two sides of a very bad coin.
 
In truth, the digital age gives academic libraries tools to make more significant contributions than ever before. The urgent mission of smart libraries like Atkins is to show their communities, not to tell them, what they should be expect out of a modern research library. As long as students work at assimilating the scholarly record, and faculty work at contributing to it, the core function and expertise of the library will be a vital part of what makes universities, and their communities, successful.

Sincerely,