Remote Access

Remote Access

Diane Fulkerson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch565
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Distance education was the impetus for the need for remote access to library resources. The original distance education courses were correspondent courses where students received and submitted their assignments through the mail. With the advent of the Internet, those courses were offered online through course management systems. Students using their computer have access to lectures, assignments and exams. Many online courses are taught asynchronously and students access the materials after the instructor uploads them to the course management system. The student submits the assignments by their due date through the course management system. Some courses are taught synchronously where students work in real time with the instructor. Another option is hybrid courses that are a mixture of on-line and classroom instruction. All distance education courses are taught using one of the three aforementioned models.

The Association of College and Research Libraries approved the Standards for Distance Learning Library Services in 2008. These standards provide guidelines for the types of services and necessary personnel libraries need to offer for distance education students. Distance education or online courses continue to grow at almost every university and academic libraries must be prepared to meet the needs of distance education students’ (ACRL, 2008).

The use of proxy servers allows library users to access library resources once the physical library is closed. A proxy server allows a person affiliated with the university to log into the network and access the library’s resources remotely. Most universities have a single sign-on that verifies the person either works or is a student at the university. Once the person is authenticated they can use the library’s resources and print, download or save articles from the databases.

The ability to digitize collections expanded the types of users could access. Special collections are no longer relegated to a forgotten area of the library with limited access for researchers. Universities can digitize materials from their special collections allowing researchers to access them without the need to make an appointment. There are several excellent digital libraries. The University of Georgia offers the Digital Library of Georgia and the Civil Rights Digital Library. Both of these collections include videos, photos, newspapers, maps, audio, and government materials. The Digital Public Library of America is the most recent example of digitized materials available for researchers. This digital library has collaborated with major universities and other digital libraries to build the collection. As they develop more partnerships, the number of digital collections available will substantially increase. The American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress offers digital collections on a number of topics from slavery to baseball.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Private Network: Uses dedicated connections or encryption private which provides users with the ability to connect to their institution through the Internet.

Proxy Server: A computer that serves as an intermediary between remote users and database servers. Remote users are validated through IP address as being able to access the library’s proprietary databases.

Course Management System: Software, either proprietary or open source, that allows students to access course materials, upload assignments and access library resources for classes that are taught virtually. A course management system can also be used with face-to-face classes but it is used primarily with distance learning classes.

Remote Access: The ability for current students, faculty and staff of a college or university to access library resources from off-campus locations through the use of proxy servers or virtual private networks (VPN).

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