January 25, 2008

Robert Duncan Receives Be Innovative! Award for Implementation of WebBridge

Program allows for easier access to scholarly information on the library’s web site

Robert Duncan, systems librarian, bought his first personal computer to help him organize his recipes while working in the food business. This past summer, he received the Be Innovative! Award for “Most Innovative Use of e-Resource Products” for his implementation of the online library research tool, WebBridge.

The award is sponsored by Innovative Interfaces, Inc., developer of WebBridge and the vendor of the College’s Integrated Library System (ILS). The award includes a cash prize for the library and a free registration for a training workshop.

WebBridge is a service that the College began offering in the fall of 2006. It is essentially a resource-linking application that shortens the process of accessing scholarly articles from the libraries’ online resource collections by interlinking the libraries’ web-based resources. It provides users with a list of context-sensitive links to appropriate related content from within various library resources in addition to the results from their initial search.

“The simplest way to describe [WebBridge] is to say that it allows users to get from point A to point Z, without having to go through points B, C, D, etc.,” explains Duncan. “The most common use is getting to the full text of an online article in one database while searching in another database. In the ‘old days,’ users would do a search in a database, find a reference to an interesting article, then go through a convoluted process of determining whether the library had access to the article somewhere within its online and print collections. With WebBridge, the process becomes a matter of a click or two.

“Part of what makes our implementation of WebBridge award-winning is that we’ve gone beyond this kind of use and used it to improve the overall experience library users have with all of the libraries’ resources,” he continues.

But this award was no easy win. Despite its ability to cut the process of information access down to a click or two, implementing WebBridge into the College’s system took far more than that.

“The process of implementing WebBridge at Lafayette involved lots of time figuring out what it was capable of, then configuring it to do what we wanted,” Duncan says.

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