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Diane Fulkerson Discusses Remote Access Technologies in Libraries

By IGI Global on Mar 19, 2012
Ms. Diane M. Fulkerson, the Social Sciences and Education Librarian at the University of South Florida Polytechnic Library, was kind enough to grant us an interview discussing the research published in her new book, Remote Access Technologies for Library Collections: Tools for Library Users and Managers.

What inspired you to write a book about remote access to library materials?

As a reference and instruction librarian I realized more library users wanted and needed remote access to library resources. Teaching online provided me with the opportunity to understand the need and importance for users to have remote access to library resources. Many students are unable to come to the library when it is open, and current technology makes it easier for users to have remote access to library resources when they need it.

Remote Access Technologies for Library Collections: Tools for Library Users and ManagersIn the years since you've become a librarian, which changes in remote access have been the most surprising to you?

The growth of mobile devices from smart phones to tablets has been the most surprising change to me. These devices will continue to drive the need for remotes access to library collections. I also see them influencing the types of resources libraries add to their collections--moving from print to electronic.

Which changes have been the most difficult for you or your library users to get used to?

A couple of changes come to mind. One is the copyright restrictions for e-books and the fact e-books do not use a common technology platform. The other change is the lack of open access materials and the continued resistance to increase the amount of scholarly material available through open access.

In your opinion, of the many recent developments in remote access technologies, which have most changed the shape of modern libraries so far?

EZproxy, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), and link resolvers have changed the modern library. These three technologies have changed the modern library and the way its users access library resources. EZproxy and VPN provided users with the ability to access materials remotely, and link resolvers make it easier to find resources without having to search multiple databases. The new discovery tools make it easier to for users to search the library's databases and catalog simultaneously.

Where do you see the future of remote access technologies in 20 years?

In 20 years, I see a substantial increase in mobile devices requiring database vendors to develop products that are compatible with mobile devices. Less copyright restrictions and improved technology for e-book collections. An increase in scholarly open access materials. New technology will build on existing platforms resulting in seamless remote access to library collections. Course management systems will be user-friendly, allowing better remote access and integration of library resources. Technology will continue to drive the library to meet remote access needs of their users. The physical library will continue to exist but will serve as a place for students to collaborate, when they are on campus, on group projects and use equipment and software they may not have access to when they are off-campus.

Diane M. Fulkerson

Diane M. Fulkerson is the Social Sciences and Education Librarian at the University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland, Florida. She was previously employed at the University of West Georgia as a Reference and Instruction Librarian. She holds an MA in History from SUNY College at Brockport and an MLS from the University at Buffalo--SUNY. Before changing careers, Diane worked in corporate America for 20 years in customer service, purchasing and Information Technology support positions.
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