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November 21, 1996

University Library System seeks user input on its strategic plan

Faced with budget constraints, escalating journal subscription costs, rapidly changing technologies and new demands from its customers, University Library System (ULS) personnel have drafted a strategic plan to guide future decisions on improving Pitt library services and collections.

Now ULS wants to know what its customers — Pitt faculty, staff and students — think of the plan.

ULS has placed the text of the 35-page document on its web site. The site address is: Click on "What's New" to find the strategic plan.

ULS Director Rush Miller said he's encouraging University students and employees to read the plan and provide feedback, either on-line or by writing to Fern Brody, chair, Strategic Plan Steering Committee, 208 Hillman Library.

The strategic plan outlines "a philosophy and overall guiding principles for the University Library System over the next three-to-five years," Miller said. "It's not a concrete action plan or a plan with detailed budget numbers. Those plans will come later in the current fiscal year. Right now, we're charting a general direction." The strategic plan lists eight goals and 46 recommendations (many of them with detailed sub-tasks) for achieving those goals.

One of the recommended projects already is moving along: establishing a Digital Library to improve users' access to on-line databases.

Pitt students and employees now can tap into 90 databases at libraries on all five campuses through the Digital Library, a Windows-based menu system that guides the user in selecting and connecting to databases that could help in their research. A handful of the databases are available only at library locations, but most also are available through the ULS web site.

According to Miller, improvements to the Digital Library in 1997 will include: providing Internet access to dozens of electronic journals, making the PITTCAT on-line library catalog available via the World Wide Web (beginning in January) and giving library users at each campus the option of printing the full text of electronic journal articles on laser printers (this option is scheduled to be available by the end of January).

Other goals outlined in the ULS strategic plan include enhancing library instruction; creating a quality service group to coordinate system-wide improvements and work with ULS departments; and speeding up selection, acquisition and processing of library materials to make them available to users as quickly as possible.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 7

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