Every semester I accompany a class of Honors thesis prospectus students to Cook Library for an overview of literature search capabilities. For at least some of the students the experience is a first, but one might think that for me it long ago became old hat, an opportunity to spend an hour or so catching up on email, perhaps.
Far from it. The experience remains fresh – certainly in part because the reference librarians always do a masterful job (we often draw Elena Azadbakht; she’s terrific), but mainly because the capabilities revealed are simply stunning. Even without any new features or resources presented (though there usually are some new bells and whistles), the sheer wealth of access afforded by an increasingly digitized experience – with a growing body of material available in full-text format, delivered instantly to your computer screen – borders on mind-boggling.
To think that when I arrived at USM in 1994, the library was still in the process of computerizing the card catalog….