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Library Receives Gale Cengage Learning Award

JMU Libraries’ “Research Databases and Resources”, affectionately known as R2, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services awarded by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). 


Jody Fagan, Bill Hartman and Greg Spitzer
Left to right: Systems Administrator Bill Hartman, Digital Services Librarian Jody Fagan, and Systems Developer Greg Spitzer.

The $3,000 award and citation donated by Gale Cengage Learning, recognizes a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique library resource to meet patrons' reference needs.


“The James Madison University’s Libraries and Educational Technologies’ Research Databases and Resources website is a unique, innovative discovery tool for the university’s students, faculty and staff,” said Kathy Tomajko, award committee chair.  “It organizes library databases and resources and enhances the library’s ability to reach out to its users.  Library subject experts can customize the website for a particular campus discipline, a class or syndicate it to a course management system.”


The program was developed by Digital Services Librarian Jody Fagan, Systems Administrator Bill Hartman, and Systems Developer Greg Spitzer during spring and Summer, 2006, and was launched on August 22, 2006.  In the Fall of 2007, a new version of the administrative interface was released in order to support additional features and to improve system performance. 


“As with so many library projects, the Research Databases and Resources website was and is truly a collaborative effort,” commented Jody Fagan.  “Each of the library’s subject experts contributes time and intellectual effort to creating and maintaining their subject areas on the site, as well as, providing ongoing suggestions for improvement and further development.  We plan to continue to develop this system, making it even better for library patrons and even easier for librarians to maintain.”


The number of records in the system has grown from about 450 at the time of launch to over 1,300 as of Spring 2008, illustrating the ongoing contributions of liaison librarians to the content of the system. Further development of the application is planned in conjunction with an examination of the library's related web site areas such as the Research Guides.


The award will be presented at RUSA Awards Ceremony 4 to 6 p.m. on June 30, during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim (Calif.).


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