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Pandemic pivot: Digitization services for course reserves

The COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges to libraries, including the accessibility of physical materials in support of teaching and learning. In a more typical quarter, faculty would place books on reserve, so that students could come to the library and check them out for a designated window of study. With most students off campus for remote instruction, colleagues across the library have adapted to the new remote learning conditions of the pandemic in a variety of ways. 


Since July 21, the Course E-Reserves Working Group has met weekly to formulate a plan of action to digitize portions of or entire works requested for course reserves, if those items have no existing e-equivalent. The working group is made up of members from Access Services, Branch and Reserves staff, and Digital Library Systems and Services, to represent the core components of the Course Reserves ecosystem. Over the course of three weeks, we developed a workflow and conducted training for branch and course reserves staff to intake course reserves requests, determine, at times in consultation with selectors, if there was a e-version of the item that could be purchased, and if not, ticket the digitization request. Branch and reserves staff would then place holds on the items and they would be pulled and transmitted to Green for pickup by digitization lab staff. Digital Production Group staff and lab assistants would digitize the volumes and deliver digitized material back to reserves and branch staff for delivery to instructors. Our workflow is documented on the Digitization for Course E-Reserves consul page. 


Although we expect to receive requests throughout the fall quarter, the majority of requests have been fulfilled. To date, 109 items were digitized and made available as course e-reserves, including 88 books and 18 media objects. Of the 88 books digitized, 34 books were full scans and 54 were partial scans. We’re in the process of winding down the first iteration of this service, which includes conducting retrospectives with staff involved to inform process improvements and updating documentation like our FAQ. If you have feedback you’d like to share about the process, please use this form.


Our work would not have been possible without the support of many SUL staff from DLSS, Access Services, Acquisitions, Bibliographers, Reserves, and Branch libraries. Thank you for supporting this emerging service! We look forward to collaborating again for winter quarter.

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