E-Learning and breaking barriers : teaching online cataloguing by distance / Pam Bidwell

Bidwell, Pamela (2011) E-Learning and breaking barriers : teaching online cataloguing by distance / Pam Bidwell. In: Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Conference On Library & Information Education & Practice 2011 (A-LIEP2011), 22-24 June 2011, Pullman, Putrajaya Lakeside, Putrajaya Malaysia.


The islands of the Pacific are spread widely, with small populations and limited finances. Many libraries
have only a few staff, and collections are small and often based on discarded books. These libraries are
not automated, Internet access is limited and computers are not always available. Where computers are
used, staff may use these primarily for word processing and basic Internet searching. Automation would
enhance library services, but frequent power failures risk data loss, and staff are hesitant to introduce a
library management system and have no budget to do so. Many libraries continue to use manual systems
such as card catalogs, so must have skills to catalog resources independently. The University of the South
Pacific (USP) offers degree level distance programmes to students in twelve Pacific countries, using
computer labs at regional campuses with high-speed Internet access. Information and library studies
programmes are taught by distance using printed course materials. All LIS Diploma students study a 30
week cataloging course covering descriptive and subject cataloging and MARC. Access to a computer and
the Internet is required. For the last two years students have studied online cataloging using Koha, a multi
platform and web-based library management system that is Z39.50 compliant. Students remotely access
the cataloging module, practicing in a safe environment anywhere with an Internet connection. Retention
of key concepts is strengthened, as content from the first half of the course is reassessed in an online
environment. Student assessment follows constructivist principles, building knowledge as students locate,
download and amend records, then create new records following the correct format and using appropriate
MARC tags. Even students not currently using an automated system build familiarity, and skills are
transferrable to other systems. Instructions must be clearly written and suitable for ESL students.
Technical issues do occur, and prompt troubleshooting is necessary. Checklists are used to encourage
detailed error reports and have become part of the teaching process. Student confidence with technology
has grown. There is value in introducing other online activities such as circulation and acquisitions for other
L/IS courses.


Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Email / ID Num.
Bidwell, Pamela
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam > Faculty of Information Management
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam > Perpustakaan Tun Abdul Razak (PTAR)
Event Title: Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Conference On Library & Information Education & Practice 2011 (A-LIEP2011)
Event Dates: 22-24 June 2011
Page Range: pp. 260-268
Keywords: Koha library management system; Distance education, University of the South Pacific; Pacific libraries; Cataloging, Koha, Automation, Koha.
Date: 2011
URI: https://ir.uitm.edu.my/id/eprint/3210
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