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jueves, enero 06, 2005

A Visit at the UP Manila CAS Library

Just last Monday, I went to the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Library of UP Manila to seek and discover the architecture of its references services. Actually it would only be the first time that I had utilized that library even though I was at that campus before. Last school year, I never attempted to use their on-line services since I really don't know if it really existed, or if it exists, I never expect it to be an updated or current list of its library materials. The environment used to be hot, even though there are electric fans installed at their strategic places, but now they have the whole area in a comfortable room temperature.

As I entered the library, the librarian did not even inspect if I was a resident of their campus or just an outsider. I had asked the librarian for the location of its reference services since in my opinion, it is difficult to look for its section. He just directed me behind his place. If a user or a visitor would want a floor map of its library, it is not even close to the entry of the library which somehow makes it useless not unless a user would waste time in searching for it first.

Since I had once developed a database, I had taken a look first at its On-line Public Access Catalog (OPAC) accessible at http://lib.upm.edu.ph. It was running on IE 5.0 which makes it inefficient because in cases of troubleshooting and queries, it doesn't give you the exact results or errors encountered in the process. Their on-line services offer lots of databases. As I browse through the list, the collections were somehow focused on biomedical informatics. It has Cochrane Reviews which contain abstracts and full text access although it is just linked from the main website of the OPAC. It has EBSCOHOST containing research databases that requires authentication before using it. Journal@Ovid which is a link to the Electronic Journal's On-line of the UP Diliman Main Library. It also contains links to Medline Plus, ProQuest, PubMed and TOXNET, all of which requires authentication before accessing it. Furthermore, the website contains links to medical journals like EMedicine and Free Medical Journals. It has an Articles/Indexes section which contain a list of links to Online Bibliographies, Philippine Index Medicus, Thesis and Dissertations, and Term Papers & Reports, some of which are broken links – a proof in which they don't revise or update their on-line services. Apart from the databases of specific subjects, the OPAC also contain links to libraries of the UP System such as the Main Library even though it is a broken link since when I clicked it, I got the result of a broken module. Even though they have an outdated OPAC, library users prefer it since i think it is more likely that the OPAC is more updated than its card catalog.

From what I remember, I found out that their primary reference services (that has a callno starting with 'A' or something) were like arranged in a confusing circular pattern outside a room containing other references (that has a callno from 'B' and so on). They have Webster's Third New International Dictionary and Random House Dictionary of the English Language which looked old, placed on top of the shelves just beside the library floor map. They also have encyclopedias like the 20th Century Supplement Encyclopedia of World Biography, Encyclopedia of Religion, and Collier's Encyclopedia of 1991. Filipiniana section includes the famous references of the Filipino Heritage. Their almanacs section contain Guinness Books of World Records and the World Almanac of Book of Facts in 1997. I did not noticed if there were geographical services available except for a group of books containing different names of countries in each book.

It was kind of hard for me to look for some of the references services like thesaurus and yearbooks since every shelf on its primary reference service don't even have a collective name or a label to describe the collection. Not only that some encyclopedias seem to be out of place, but also the maintenance of the shelves were not kept. Or maybe because it was a plain afternoon that I visited the library and probably groups of people had used those references, I don't know. I did not attempted to use the OPAC to look for thesaurus and yearbooks since the page is also slow in loading the results and I was also running out of time.

Lastly, the library seemed to contain the latest references about Medicine and Biology in monograph formats, and it is a good thing that they have those resources but the only drawback is their lack of maintenance especially for the on-line services which is very vital for the usage and experience of library users.


..i got a perfect score on this research paper. hee-hee
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