BYU library now online

    62

    By MELISSA ROBERTSON

    If you hate doing research in the Harold B. Lee Library, take heart. The library’s computerized catalogs can now be accessed on the Internet.

    Although it has some bugs that still need to be worked out, the web site accesses all the databases that were on Gateway and LAN, including the BYU Library Catalog — usually referred to as BYLINE. It also has links to selected Internet sites and to general library information.

    The acronym BYLINE once referred only to the catalog of books and resources that BYU had in its libraries. BYLINE now refers to the HBLL’s new web site. The catalog is going to be renamed but is being called BYU Library Catalog for the interim period.

    There were three challenges for the BYLINE on the web, said Bill Lund, library Information Systems Department Chair: universal access, consistent interface and automated installation.

    Lund said students used to come to the library to do all their research, and sometimes computers were not available. But with this web site, students can access nearly all the library’s databases from computers on and off campus.

    “We try to make sure when students need resources, the resources will be available,” Lund said.

    Researchers can get full texts of some periodicals directly off the web, so Lund said it might be possible for a researcher to get all the necessary information for a project on the computer at home.

    However, the databases are licensed for use by different companies, and some of them are not licensed to be used outside of the library.

    For example, “America: History and Life” is found by going into Resources by Subject, then looking up History of U.S. & Canada under the History and Family History category. If you are trying to get some information from the “America: History and Life” database, however, you must use the Internet access in the library because you cannot access the link outside of the library.

    Other databases, like the “Niles Register,” are on CD-ROM and are only found at certain reference desks in the library. Lund said he hopes these limitations will disappear with time, as the library gets more funds to pay for more access.

    Lund said he hopes this web-based BYLINE will be connected to other LDS schools like BYU-Hawaii and the BYU Salt Lake Center. “We’ve got to be pushing our bounds outside of the library,” he said.

    Another problem the web-based BYLINE faces is consistent interface, meaning different databases have unique ways of accessing information.

    Because the library’s databases come from different sources, researchers have been forced to learn different ways to look up information for each database, Lund said.

    In addition, many of the databases are Windows-based, and in the past the computers could not handle it, he said.

    This is slowly changing. The BYU Library Catalog can be accessed using Windows by using “Web Access” on the web site screen — or Telnet.

    Lund said both links were kept because the Telnet system can modify searches and do other things that the Windows-based system cannot. He said he hopes this will change with time.

    The last challenge of BYLINE is installing the web site easily.

    With 200 computers in the Lee Library now and up to 600 more that will be installed in the new wing of the library, Lund said he felt it was important to be able to install the operating system quickly.

    Although there have been many problems, he said it is possible to do so in under an hour.

    The new BYLINE is available on more than 70 computers in the BYU library and can be used by going to the library web site at http:\www.lib.byu.edu.