University Libraries
Annual Report



Transformations in higher education are dictating significant changes in the way libraries deliver information and respond to user needs. A library can no longer be defined as a single physical building on the campus. The VT library is indeed in the dorm room of a student in Eggleston, in a graduate student's apartment at Terrrace View, in the office of the extension agent in Goochland County, or in the home of the distance learner in Fairfax. The year 1998/99 saw a major effort by the University Libraries to meet the challenge of providing information resources to users that we may see daily or weekly in one of our on-campus facilities as well as to those we may never meet face-to-face. Outreach and instruction have been a major focus this year to strengthen library services in all these venues. The achievements outlined in this report advanced our goals and the goals of Virginia Tech, to adapt quickly, efficiently, and effectively to contemporary demands for learning.

Some notable, broad reaching achievements that we think have advanced the strategic academic agenda are:

Teaching and Learning

Strategic Direction 3.1: In our undergraduate programs, we will help all students reach their full potential by providing a multifaceted, supportive learning environment in which we strive for both disciplinary competence and education of the whole person.

The University Libraries continues to support the teaching and learning mission of the university. President Torgersen stated in his 1997 President's Message: "Virginia Tech is laying the groundwork today to become a leader in the global knowledge industry, and we are transforming how we teach, and how students learn, and how we interact with our many constituencies through exciting and innovative communication and instructional technologies." The libraries' increasing role in classroom teaching and one-on-one services demonstrates our commitment to be a part of the change agent to make the transformation that President Torgersen speaks to. Looking back during the 1998/99 year, we have completed important activities, created new services, and collaborated with other campus units in contributing to the transformation of the educational experience of Virginia Tech students.

  • Delivered the equivalent of 15 courses by providing 724 instructional sessions to 10,774 students during the 98/99 academic year

  • In collaboration with the English department designed and implemented a pilot program to teach students common features of search interfaces and critical thinking and evaluation skills associated with using internet based information sites

  • Participated in the FDI program by teaching regularly scheduled sessions on electronic databases and journals, electronic theses, electronic reserve, copyright, and technical approaches to saving slide demonstrations as web resources for classes

  • Improved the teaching environment in one of the teaching labs in Newman by installing COMWEB, a connectivity hardware system, that allows an instructor to control the functions of the classrooms' existing monitors, keyboards, and mice so that everyone is viewing the same displays on their screens

  • Provided undergraduate students with 661 books and 1,309 articles from other libraries through VT's interlibrary loan services

  • Extended formerly print-bound information to extended campus students by networking several major bibliographic databases previously available in Newman only, by subscribing to the full range of electronic periodicals from the American Chemical Society, and by introducing the JSTOR project materials covering backruns of almost a 100 major titles in the social sciences and humanities

  • Assured archival status for 300 electronic journal titles by subscribing to OCLC's Electronic Collections Online service

  • Completed the first phase of a major cataloging project to provide greater user access to Addison through the establishing of weblinked cross references for subjects, names, and titles

  • Provided full bibliographic access to uncataloged documents in remote storage so that the academic university can better utilize the wealth of research materials available in these documents

  • Supported the Special Services Lab for accommodating students with learning disabilities by providing space and student assistants

  • To participate effectively in the teaching and learning efforts of our community of users, we have to create a climate that assures our own continued learning. In support of those efforts, the library sponsored the second "in-service" learning day for all staff in August 1998, and provided 46 staff-focused training sessions throughout the year.

Research Competitiveness

Strategic Direction 3.2: To enhance Virginia Tech's status as a major research university and center for graduate education, maintaining its position among the top 50 such institutions in terms of sponsored research expenditures (top of those without medical schools) and among the top 10 in industrially supported research.

Crucial to supporting the university's research agenda is providing an internal research infrastructure of which the University Libraries must play a key role. The libraries, through its collections, services, and outreach programs, is playing a key role in assisting the university in maintaining its competitiveness in the area of research.

  • Noted external circulation of 273,442 items to students and researchers in the university community

  • Surveyed faculty to determine the serial titles (at VT or not) they consider most important for their research and teaching. This information in conjunction with data regarding where VT faculty publish and what journals they cite is being used to develop a core listing of important serials for Virginia Tech.

  • Borrowed through the interlibrary system 22,574 books and journal articles for students and faculty to support their research and scholarly studies

  • Procured a five-year backset of the Web of Science, allowing Virginia Tech faculty and researchers to follow the flow of ideas and influence among scholarly papers via citation-based relationship and noted 17,000 uses of this new service

  • Through the work of the Digital Library and Archive (formerly the Scholarly Communication Project), hosted almost 2 million accesses to Virginia Tech publications like electronic journals, theses and dissertations, and the Spectrum

  • Noted continuing growth in the use of electronic resources to the extent that 98/99 use is almost equivalent to a third of that recorded for print materials

Outreach and Economic Development

Strategic Direction 3.3: We will position the university as the leading provider of outreach services in the Commonwealth of Virginia by reconceptualizing and restructuring the service component of our land-grant mission.

A cornerstone of the university's strategic planning for the year 2001 is to develop outreach programs. The libraries play a unique role in helping the university community in reaching out beyond the Blacksburg campus. Through our collaboration with other doctorate granting institutions such as the University of Virginia and George Mason University, we have introduced many electronic sources to both our on and off campus students. University Libraries lends more items to Virginia libraries than does any other library in the state, thus supporting higher education and research throughout the Commonwealth. The Digital Library and Archive (formerly Scholarly Communications Project) has gained a national reputation for the production of scholarly online publications, and four new journals were added to the growing list of the DLA's publications. Our achievements and efforts in reaching out and assisting with the economic development of the region and the state have included numerous activities this past fiscal year.

Information Technology

Strategic Direction 3.4: We will enhance the university's status as one of the leading innovators nationally in the application of advanced communications and information technologies in instruction, research, outreach, and administrative support.

To support the university's goal to become one of the leading innovators in advanced communications and information technology for instruction, research, and outreach, the libraries has made notable contributions during the '99 fiscal year.

  • Merged Electronic Reserve with Distributed Information Systems' courseware server to improve design and functionality

  • Made accessible through the internet a short commercial made by WVEC-TV about Dr. Charlie Yates and other black male students

  • Made available Quick Time Virtual Reality (QTVR) hardware and software in the New Media Center that allows users to create a virtual reality environment to enhance research activities, provide a media-rich virtual environment that can add depth and a spatial component to any project through the 360 degree panorama or object movie

  • Upgraded and improved access to a number of important electronic U.S. government data sources including the Census Bureau's digital database of geographic features and the 1948-1997 American National Election Studies

  • Modified the electronic journal cataloging system to handle all materials in electronic format

  • Improved service to users by implementing a system for sending circulation messages such as overdues and recalls by email rather than regular mail

  • Coordinated a successful state-wide test in VIVA schools by using Net.Work.Virginia for cataloging, interlibrary loan, and database search connectivity to the OCLC system

  • Upgraded the library's public computers for faster access to library services

  • Developed and implemented a program for a Y2K sweep of library systems, both hardware and software, to assure compliance with the Year 2000

  • Supported the licensing of ILLiad, the interlibrary loan system developed in the library's interlibrary loan unit to 14 institutions: Brigham Young University, California Instit. of Technology, Emory & Henry College, James Madison University, NASA's Langley Library, Mary Washington College, Nazareth College, New York State Dept. of Health Library, Radford University, Rochester Inst. of Technology, University of N. Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Rochester, University of S. Carolina, and Univ. of S. Florida

Internationalizing the University

Strategic Direction 3.5: We will more fully integrate an international dimension into the university's major programmatic endeavors in order to prepare the entire university community for full participation in the global society of the next century.

In an increasingly global community, Virginia Tech recognizes the need to incorporate an international dimension into the education of students. The University Libraries through its diverse collections and informational resources plays a key role in educating and informing our students about how other people think and how other cultures work. We have helped to provide international enrichment through hosting various international groups visiting our campus, employing international students as student assistants, and participating in international meetings. Specific achievements this past fiscal year are:

Left to right: Felix N. Ubogu, University Librarian, Rhodes University, Eileen Hitchingham, Dean of Libraries, and David Wilson, Director of Information Technology, Rhodes University, April 15, 1999.

Interdisciplinary Cooperation

Strategic Direction 3.6: We will encourage interdisciplinary collaboration within the university to create knowledge that addresses the needs of society; at the same time, we will increase strategic partnerships with K-12 schools, other colleges and universities, businesses, industries, and state and local governments to find solutions to problems of the rapidly changing world.

Our public services to the university community are primarily based on interdisciplinary cooperation with the academic colleges. All of our activities in providing classroom instruction, collections, and information access are fundamental to the common good of all disciplines. Our College Librarian Program attempts to bring library activities and academic and research efforts together. We have this past fiscal year made several notable efforts to promote interdisciplinary cooperation.

  • Exceeded VIVA guidelines for processing lending requests within 48 hours by shipping materials within 24 hours following receipt of a request

  • Developed a collaborative relationship between the library's Center for Alternative Media (CAM) and the Virginia Tech Language Institute in support of library English as Second Language (ESL) efforts

  • Facilitated the delivery of the Spring Computer Skills Assessment to 300 freshman for the Computer Requirement Support Task Force

  • Continued development of a pilot project with the Biological Sciences Initiative (BSI) on Information Literacy that will be web-based, self paced tutorials to assist students with skills related to finding, evaluating, and using information

  • Developed a library instruction component for two new required sophomore level classes in Civil Engineering

  • Extended the reach of the libraries into the community by launching “What Is It This Time?” a continuing series of publications promoting key library services and resources

  • Began dialogue with the College of Engineering to co-fund resources for a potential Digital Electronic Library

Library Statistics

At A Glance

Gift of Audubon's Birds of America Received

Clifton Garvin, Jr., distinguished alumnus of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering ('43), donated a special limited edition facsimile of John James Audubon's Birds of America to the University Libraries. The edition, published in 1985, is one of only 350 copies printed by Abbeville Press, the noted art-book publisher, in cooperation with the National Audubon Society. The gift is housed in a special display in the Special Collections unit in Newman Library. Each of the four volumes of illustrated plates weighs 60 pounds and is richly bound in green leather. Five additional volumes of Audubon's text accompany the plates, in addition to Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Peterson's Ornithological Biography, and Waldemar Fries' The double elephant folio: the story of Audubon's Birds of America.

Student Assistants: Dedicated Employees Who Make a Difference

The University Libraries is a major employer of student assistants, second only to Dining Hall Facilities, on the Virginia Tech campus. This fiscal year we employed the equivalent of 69 full-time employees as student assistants. They perform vital functions and jobs throughout the library system and often work at major public service areas representing the organization.

We depend on our student assistants to do a variety of essential, important service jobs in the library. They perform numerous duties such as reshelving books and journals, assisting with preservation, circulating materials, and trouble shooting computer equipment, which help keep the library functioning.

Student assistants clearly benefit from working in the library. One of the greatest advantages to student library employees is the opportunity to improve research skills which will help them in their studies. Through their jobs, students also learn management skills, responsibility, and teamwork, all valuable experiences to take into the workforce upon graduation.

Drawing on Virginia Tech's diverse student population, hiring students of different nationalities and backgrounds enriches the library staff. The library has actively recruited minority and international students in order to provide a more diverse work environment. Of the 258 students we employed, 44 represent minorities and international backgrounds, accounting for 17 percent of our total student assistant workforce.

Without the student assistants, we clearly could not function. To show our appreciation, we initiated a "Student Assistant Appreciation Day" this spring with a party and a small gift to thank them for their invaluable contributions to the organization and the university community.

Renovations for Newman Library

Major renovations for the replacement of the tile floor and new lighting continued this year. Last year we completed the first floor and part of the fourth floor. This year we concentrated on the third floor and the remainder of the fourth floor. The renovation requires the complete removal of all collections and furniture which must be placed elsewhere in the building. Users have been very patient and understanding. The short term inconvenience is well worth it. The new flooring and lighting have vastly improved the appearance. Users also find it more convenient to use the library for browsing. One more year of renovation should complete the project and bring to an end the inconvenience our users have had to work around for the last two years.

University Library Committee

Regular meetings with the University Library Committee continued to provide a valuable opportunity for a two-way dialogue between the community of users at Virginia Tech and the Libraries. Committee members shared information, service requests, and questions received from their constituent communities. The Libraries offered several update sessions and demonstrations regarding new services and projects. Library Committee activities are noted in the minutes at We are grateful for the good efforts and work of Stephen Donohue, serving his second term as Chairperson of the Library Committee, and all of our 1998/99 members: Ansar Ahmed, College of Veterinary Medicine; Stephen Baehr, College of Arts and Sciences; George Graham, Teaching and Learning; Stephen Donohue, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Richard Helm, College of Forestry & Wildlife Resources; Raymond H. Plaut, College of Engineering; Humberto Rodriguez-Camilloni, College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Deborah Mayo, Faculty Senate; Milko Maykowskyj, Staff Senate; Tim Copeland, GSA; Angela Barger, SGA.

Faculty and Staff: Publications, Papers, Awards 1998-1999

Althea Aschmann presented "Access to Acess: Cataloging Internet Resources" at the Mountain Plains Library Association Meeting in Salt Lake City, May 1998.

Nicole Auer's web-based, "Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources," ( was reprinted in Emergency Librarian, 25(5), 1998.

Irene Glennon was a featured speaker at the Northeast Region Meeting of the Cooperative Extension Service held at the James City Library in Norge, Virginia on April 8, 1999.

Mary Hansbrough and Richard Sapon-White published an article in Library Resources & Technical Services, 42 (4), titled "The Impact of Subject Heading Assignment in Circulation of Dissertation at Virginia Tech."

Eileen Hitchingham and co-authors, Joanne Eustis, Clark Gaylord, Kim Homer and David Taylor published a paper, "Virginia Tech Report: CNI's Assessing the Academic Networked Environment Project" in Information Technology and Libraries, 17 (2), 1998. Eileen Hitchingham also gave an invited presentation, "Building A Virtual Library Consortia for the Commonwealth of Virginia," for the Rhode Island Library Association in Providence, Rhode Island on June 4, 1999.

Tamara Kennelly and Dr. Penny Burge (Virginia Tech Women's Center) gave the presentation "Exploration of the Meaning of the Historical Experiences of Black Women at Virginia Tech," in the Roundtable Session, "Women in the Academy: Our Work, Lives, and Narratives" at the 1999 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in Montreal, April, 1998.

Harry Kriz gave a talk entitled, "Automating Interlibrary Loan as a Strategic Library Service" at the conference "Managing Interlibrary Loan in the New Century," Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., April 6-7, 1999. His other presentations included "ILLiad: The Strategic Solution for Automated Interlibrary Borrowing" at SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network) ILL Vendor Showcase Series, Barry University, Miami, Florida, October 9, 1998; "ILLiad: A Library Strategic Information System with Customer In-Reach," at EDUCOM '98, Orlando, Florida, October 13-16, 1998; and "Interloan: a Value-Added Library Strategic Service" as a feature presentation at two conferences: NYLINK conference at Syracuse University, May 1999 and the Panhandle '99 Spring Conference at Panama City Beach, FL, April, 1999.

Ellen Krupar, Edward Lener, and Margaret Merrill gave a presentation entitled "Reaching Out: Virginia Tech's College Librarian Program" at the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference, Virginia Beach, October, 1998.

Gail McMillan gave an invitational presentation, "Put the Library in Digital Library," at the 1999 Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries in Detroit, April. Her other presentations included "Library Services and Resources for the University Community," to a group of library directors in Jongy, Switzerland, October 23, 1998; and "Evolving Genre of Electronic Theses and Dissertations," on January 7, 1999, at the 32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (based on proceedings by Fox, McMillan, Eaton).

Margaret Merrill presented "Information Resources for Recirculating Aquaculture," at the Second International Recirculating Aquaculture Conference in Roanoke, VA, July, 1998. Her other presentations included "Navigating the Digital Library: Information Resources for Entomologists in the 'Information Age'," delivered at the Annual meeting of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, Virginia Beach, VA, February 1999 and "Atypical Market Research in Agriculture," at the 1999 meeting of the Agricultural Economics Reference Organization, with Lutishoor Salisbury.

Margaret Merrill published "Notes on Back to Nature: Medicine from Nature," in the VASLA Bulletin 32(1), 1998. She also published "Back to Nature: Medicine from Nature," in Food for Thought 29(4), 1998.

Paul Metz published an article, "Integrating Philosophy and Practice in the Management of Collection Development," in Library Philosophy and Practice, 1(1), Fall 1998. This is a new e-journal at

Jane Schillie published an article, "The Thirty-Second Lesson" in Virginia Libraries, 45(1), Jan/Feb/March 1999.

Jane Schillie, Margaret Merrill, and Ginger Young, college librarians, presented in a program "Extending the Services of the University Libraries: The College Librarian Programs at Virginia Tech and Western Washington Universities," at the 1999 Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries in Detroit, April.

Nan Seamans and Jane Schillie gave a presentation, "Teachable Moments in Untenable Spaces," at the VEMA/VLA Annual Conference in Virginia Beach, October 1998. Nan Seamans also presented a poster session, "New Media and Libraries" at the ACRL's 9th National Conference in Detroit. She received a grant for her work as a co-investigator in "Early Modern Science: A Collaborative Research and Information Retrieval Proposal" from the ASPIRES program, and was appointed associate editor of the journal Virginia Libraries as of January, 1999, for a two-year term.

Nan Seamans, with T.H. Wyatt and W. G. Clark, published an article, "The multimedia power portfolio: creative strategy for core curriculum," in Journal of Allied Health, 28 (1), Spring, 1999.

Larry Thompson organized and moderated the session, "Building Digital Libraries, at the American Society for Engineering Education national conference in Seattle, Washington, June 1998.

Ginger Young published, "Special Collections in the Year 2015: A Delphi Study" in Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 16, 1999.



Editor, Donald J. Kenney
Associate Dean of Administrative Services

Assistant Editor & Layout
Linda D. McGraw

Special thanks to all the Department Heads for their contributions.

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