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veritas Harvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1325 May 2005

Harvard University Library Notes / September 2005 / No. 1327

Online for the Fall Semester:
Harvard's Reserves List Tool

Harvard's new Reserves List Tool is online and in use for the fall semester for approximately 450 courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Reserves List Tool is the result of a successful collaboration among the University Library's Office for Information Systems (OIS), iCommons, the FAS Instructional Computing Group (ICG), and the FAS Registrar's Office. It is a collection of web-based services that allow Harvard instructors and library reserves staff to work jointly in managing reserves reading lists that are delivered directly to Harvard students on course web sites.

According to Assistant Provost and Harvard CIO Dan Moriarty (see interview on page 8), the collaboration is "admirably efficient—financially, organizationally, and intellectually. But the ultimate benefit is to the students."

Faculty submit their course-specific reserves lists through the online Instructor's Toolkit. The lists go directly to reserves staff for processing and, simultaneously, are displayed for students to view on course web sites.

Library reserves staff use a parallel Reserves List Management Tool to process citation requests and to complete citation information. The management tool provides links to materials that are available digitally and to the HOLLIS records for material available in the library.

Students can access reading lists from their course web sites, and they can link out to a HOLLIS availability screen for physical copies or to an electronic copy of the reading.

The Reserves List Tool supports three delivery modes:

  • Physical copies are supported by a link on the reading list that connects to a HOLLIS availability screen. This availability screen is generated by the presence of a bibliographic record and item record in Aleph.
  • Deep-linked electronic copies (from a portal resource or elsewhere on the web) are supported by a link on the reading list that points to the resource on the web. No data in Aleph is necessary.
  • Scanned copies are supported by a link on the reading list that points to a PDF version stored on a Reserves List server. No data in Aleph is necessary.

A pilot implementation of the Reserves List Tool, supported by a small number of libraries, was first offered in Spring 2005. Based on feedback received from the pilot, tools for instructors and for reserves staff were revised, and the first production version of the Reserves List Tool was released on June 15. For the 2005–2006 academic year, the tool will support reserves for FAS supported by selected reserves units in the FAS special and departmental libraries and in the Harvard College Library.

Marilyn Wood, associate librarian of Harvard College for collection management, notes that reserves librarians have invested countless hours in implementing the new Reserves List Tool. "Each year HCL provides access to thousands of library items through the Course Reserves program," Wood observes. "The librarians are excited to be working with this new tool and about the advantages that it offers to library users. Staff within HCL have invested a great deal of time in testing and implementing the Tool to ensure that students and faculty successfully gain access to course reserves material."

Currently, the Reserves List Tool supports courses that use single reading lists, but cannot support courses taught in sections (e.g., courses that support separate reading lists for different groups of students). Pending further development, courses taught in sections will continue to be supported in some other way, including the Aleph Course Reserves system.

Authorized library staff can access the Library Tool with a Harvard ID and PIN. Staff in participating libraries can request access by submitting a Library Tool registration form (http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/systems/readinglist/f-rlist-request.html) signed by a Reserves List liaison. Reference-level (read-only) access to the Library Tool is also available to reference and circulation staff who may need to assist students or instructional staff. To request the reference login, send an e-mail message to the Reserves List support staff in OIS at rlistsupport@hulmail.harvard.edu.


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