This fall, Penrose librarians are adopting a new search service in hopes of simplifying research. With this service, users don’t have to choose one specific database, but rather can find results from different databases through one search box.
Lee Keene, head of instructional and research services at Penrose, believes that this cross-disciplinary feature will be especially helpful for students who might want to look at a project through the lens of several different departments.
“A student could search for one broad topic and come up with results from several different departments,” he said. “The search service allows students to see the connections.”
Keene calls the system an “academic Google.”
“The new service provides a starting point for students, just like Google does, but the materials within it are more appropriate for the level of research students and faculty are doing. There are a lot more journals and scholarly matches.”
Dalia Corkrum, director of Penrose, agrees.
“It’s also easier to limit results in this service,” she said. “A student could, for example, choose to only view peer-reviewed articles.”
Corkrum and Keene acknowledge that more precise searches will yield the most accurate results.
Corkrum hopes that the service will help better integrate library resources into the Whitman community.
“We want to make this library resource a place where students and faculty want to start their research,” she said.
To encourage students and faculty to try out the new service, Penrose is holding a contest to name it with an iPad 2 awarded to the winner. Whitman community members can go on the library website and suggest names through Sept. 30.
Corkrum is very excited about the new service and anticipates its academic value at Whitman.
“This is going to be pretty revolutionary for the Whitman community. It exposes so many resources at one time, and I think it will advance scholarship immensely.”