MRU Library Blog

*NEW* Syllabus Service – Get Support for Winter Course Readings

 

The Library continues to support faculty with online instruction into the Winter term. We now offer a Syllabus Service that can help with links to Winter course materials.

Send in your draft syllabus or materials list, and the Library team will:

  • Provide you with links to items in the Library’s collections to embed in your Blackboard site, and identify any access restrictions placed on the materials by the publisher

  • Identify whether materials (films, print items) can be digitized under Fair Dealing Guidelines

  • If requested, provide you with options for alternate open or licensed materials for titles that are not available in electronic format.

Please note: due to Covid-19 restrictions, short term print course reserve loans will not be available in the Winter semester, and as per copyright guidelines, students may only request up to 1 chapter or 10% from a print book through the Digitization Service.

The Complicated Story Behind E-Books

The transition to alternative delivery has meant more students, teachers, and researchers need access to electronic resources, which the Library does its best to acquire, but it’s not always a simple transaction, and there isn’t always a happy ending.

 

It’s no secret that many post-secondary institutions in Alberta have been working through challenging budget reductions, even before Covid-19 forced classes online in March 2020. As a library that serves both students and faculty, we knew that a significant portion of our 2020-21 collections budget would be spent on acquiring additional electronic resources to meet the needs of online learners, teachers, and scholars.  Like many other libraries, we find ourselves in a situation where rising costs and publishers’ prohibitive licensing arrangements make it very difficult and at times impossible for us to acquire needed e-content.

Some textbook publishers don’t make all titles in e-book formats available to libraries (e.g., Pearson Cengage, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press Canada, Elsevier) or only make them available at many times the cost of the print version – this can be as much as ten times or more the cost of the print equivalent. Other publishers limit availability by making certain titles available only as part of larger, costly subscription packages (e.g. Oxford Handbooks) or by limiting titles to a single reader at a time. These limitations impact required course texts and other high demand titles such as the MLA Handbook and Becoming a Master Student, among other examples. For these reasons, the Library isn’t always able to offer certain titles or accommodate all requests.

These obstacles and unattainable financial asks from publishers that impede our ability to connect students with the texts they need to succeed is what leads us to unite with other libraries in the same position.  Mount Royal University Library supports the statements issued by the University of Guelph and the University of Alberta, and many other Canadian post-secondary institutions struggling with the commercial availability of eTextbooks. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has also released a statement where they outline their support for affordable access to digital materials.

We are committed to moving forward by continuing to advocate for digital access points for material that many of our students require.  We are working closely with consortia to unite our voices and leverage resources, including CRKN, COPPUL, and TAL.    We are also committed to working with the campus community to identify and provide options in the face of these barriers.

 

Find an alternative

MRU Library continues to support instructors and students to find alternate ways to get the resources they need. We encourage users to explore the open access databases and current ebook collections available on the Library website, which often have alternative sources for instructors and researchers. Librarians work directly with faculty and students who require assistance with finding alternate options, and staff can assist with creating Course Reserve reading lists with available electronic content that can easily link to Blackboard and directly connect students in a course to specific content.

Consider Open Education Resources (OERs)

Open Education Resources are completely free and available to all, which makes them perfect for remixing and sharing. Our website connects you with searchable collections of OERs which include textbooks, readings, software and multimedia files that can often be adapted by contributing your own work and making them the perfect fit for your course.

Make use of the Digitization Service

Our Digitization service was launched earlier this year to connect students with course reserve material as classes swiftly moved online. The process of producing digital copies of physical books can be ideal for students and faculty that require a chapter or section of a book. All requests can be submitted using an online form and are subject to Mount Royal’s fair dealing guidelines.

 

This is an ever-changing situation that will continue to be on the radar of academic libraries as the demand for digital content continues to grow. Our digital collections include more than 1.3 million resources and we continue to add new material that supports research and teaching here at MRU. Please contact mrulibcs@mtroyal.ca with questions.

 


Update (Nov 13, 2020) – This article has been updated to include a reference and link to a statement released by CARL on November 12, 2020. 

The Library Launches A New Podcast

 

Mount Royal University Library now has a podcast! Makers & Mavericks launches today and is the perfect way to understand the technology available in the Library and how students and employees are using it to support their academics or to discover new tools and explore personal interests.

This is a podcast that highlights innovative initiatives and the technology learners are invited to engage with at the Library. Each episode of Makers & Mavericks will feature faculty and staff who will discuss their work and how it intersects with technology in creative ways. The first two episodes are now available and give insight into how the Mount Royal community can utilize maker and AR/VR technology.

Julia Gunst, who is the Library Public Services Assistant and Audiovisual Support, interviews Audrey Burch from the Maker Studio who shares what it means to be a maker and how open source options are helping learners create interactive systems with programming. Episode two is a timely discussion with Anna Nuhn and Genista Kippin who work with virtual reality in the Experience Lab on the main floor. The pair discuss how VR has the ability to help us connect with each other in new ways. MRU faculty are actively working to design courses that will be taught through social VR platforms and students have created their own experiences with augmented reality.

Listen to the first two episodes at library.mtroyal.ca/podcast or subscribe using your favourite podcast platform.

New Process for Contactless Pick-Up

 

Since the launch of our Contactless Pick-Up service in June, we have connected the MRU community with hundreds of physical books. The service is successfully getting on-shelf main collection items into the hands of students and employees but we have made some changes that will streamline to the pickup process.

To request items, users will continue to log in to LibrarySearch, find the main collection title, and select “place hold or book time” under “get it”. Once the order is ready, an email will be sent out with instructions that will now direct you to retrieve items from the day-use lockers on the main floor of the Library. The email will notify you when your books are ready and you will now have the option to pick up during Library open hours, at your convenience.

Remember to bring your OneCard so you can enter the building from the west entrance (across from the EA building). The locker number and code will be listed in the email, but please chat or text the Service Desk if you run into trouble.

Visit the Contactless Pick-Up page for complete details on the process.