Western Libraries - Winter 2014 Issue 2

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This second Winter Quarter issue of 3 Things brings you news about the development of Western's new Institutional Repository project. A look at what a variety of science databases have to offer. And "did you know" that Rapid-ILL is working behind the scenes day and night to deliver articles faster than ever?

  Something New!

Partnership to Make WWU Research Available 

By Mark Greenberg, Dean of Libraries

Mark Greenberg

In late spring, the Western Libraries will unveil the fruits of a new university-wide partnership. In collaboration with Research & Sponsored Programs, the Graduate School, and the Provost’s Office, the Libraries will launch a new web site to make faculty, staff, and student research accessible, free, and worldwide via the internet. The new “Institutional Repository” (IR) will include published and unpublished works, open-access journals, conference proceedings, data sets, university documents, and other textual and audio/visual content deemed desirable for wide dissemination.

Planning for Western’s new IR began several years ago and directly addresses the university’s core mission, vision, and strategic goals. Specifically, free and global access to Western’s expertise and research productivity better serves other scholars, as well as residents in the state of Washington and people worldwide, as they seek to solve societal problems and build healthy communities.

Institutional Repository logo

Throughout North America and Europe, academic libraries have led efforts on behalf of their universities to launch institutional repositories. At the nexus of the rapidly evolving information age, Libraries see enormous benefit in making a small investment to advance a paradigm shift: to support and disseminate scholarship produced locally in addition to their traditional role paying for access to research produced elsewhere.

For faculty, the opportunity to create research pages and freely share teaching resources, conference proceedings, scholarly journals, and other digital content in the Institutional Repository opens new avenues to increase readership and expand their work’s impact. Faculty have also seen great potential to highlight their students’ academic work, including theses, performances, and other curricular and co-curricular projects.

In the coming months, the Libraries will be working closely with faculty and staff across the university to identify content suitable for the IR, to share additional information about its value and many uses, and to provide workshops on author rights and responsibilities when creating research pages. The IR will “go live” in early June with a subset of available research. This is just the beginning. Month after month, the Libraries look forward to working across the university to grow the Institutional Repository in fulfillment of Western’s mission, vision, and goals.

For questions about this new initiative, please contact the Dean of Libraries, Mark Greenberg, at mark.greenberg@wwu.edu.

  This Issue's Great Tip

What’s In a Science Database? More Than You Think! 

By Peter Smith, Science & Technology Librarian

Peter Smith

Curious about the extreme weather across the country lately? Looking for information about genetically modified foods? Wondering about dark energy?

Research databases provided by the library can help. Here’s a few I would like to introduce to you:



SciFinder is an excellent database for agricultural topics, environmental sciences, sustainability issues, and biological, mechanical, or chemical engineering research. It is the database for chemical literature, but of course so much more. Here is a link to a short video about cooking, taste, and the foods you eat:

Web of Science

Web of Science

Web of Science is a research database that covers all subject areas, you may select the science database to focus your search results. Could not pass up this story about Beatlemania research articles in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America in 1964:

Access Science

Access Science

Access Science is the online version of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, a good resource for background information and leads to research. There are many special features, including animations to help illustrate subjects. Here is a link to a video introducing Access Science:

These three databases (and more) are available on the Western Libraries home page, select “Article Databases” and find them in the A-Z list of databases. The unique content contained in these resources offers student and faculty researchers a great way to enhance the search results provided through OneSearch.

For help email peter.smith@wwu.edu, or use the Chat feature on the library home page.

  Did You Know?

Rapid-ILL Delivers – And FAST! 

By Frank Haulgren, Document Delivery & Collection Services Manager

Frank Haulgren

In January 2013 Western Libraries began using a document delivery service called Rapid-ILL to supplement our traditional interlibrary loan processes. Like Summit Borrowing, Rapid-ILL is a community of libraries that agree to meet delivery targets in the interest of providing students and faculty with, well, rapid delivery of journal articles.

Since Western Libraries became a Rapid-ILL member performance has been amazing. Note these impressive stats!

  • 13,438: Number of un-cancelled article requests submitted by students & faculty via ILLiad
  • 8,854: Article requests directed to Rapid-ILL (roughly 66% of above)
  • 97%: Percent of requests submitted to and filled by Rapid-ILL
  • 14.5 hours: Average time from when an articled entered Rapid-ILL processing until delivered*
  • About 2.5 days: Average turnaround time for articles delivered via other means**

*Turnaround time is calculated based on the time a request enters the Rapid-ILL workflow until posted to the ILLiad server based on working days only. **Adjusted for working days.


Rapid-ILL’s amazing turnaround time is possible because it was designed to work with ILLiad to identify transactions that contain citation elements necessary for automated processing. Transactions that contain these criteria and which do not require copyright clearance are routed directly to an appropriate Rapid-ILL partner as soon as the user clicks the submit button. No staff intervention is needed for these requests which means they are off to suppliers 24/7.

While Rapid-ILL is a transparent process to Western Libraries’ users there are ways that students and faculty can take best advantage of this amazing delivery service. When submitting an ILLiad request for a journal article make sure that these citation elements are included: Journal title; issue volume and publication year; article title and starting page number; ISSN or Standard number. If they don’t all parse into ILLiad from a database, examine the citation carefully and add them. These details will generally allow your request to directly route into the Rapid-ILL system. 

Rapid-ILL is not a free service by any means but the cost to participate is more than offset by savings in staff time, library delivery charges, direct payments to publishers for individual PDFs, and the satisfaction of our users.

If you have questions about Rapid-ILL or any of the Western Libraries document delivery services contact: frank.haulgren@wwu.edu.

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