South Dakota School of Mines
v: (605) 394-1259
Education, higher; Library
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a University located in Rapid City, South Dakota. Our current enrollment is 2227. The University offers Bachelors, Masters, and PhD level degrees in engineering and the physical sciences. “There were times, not so long ago, when students attending smaller, more isolated colleges and universities, found themselves at a severe disadvantage in their limited access to library services and resources. There are many people in large institutions or in cosmopolitan areas who presume that is still the case, but they are wrong. The academic playing field is level.” This level playing field is due, in large part, to the availability of the Internet with all of its resources. Students and faculty on our campus, may choose to do research in any discipline. The Devereaux library, using the Internet, can help them find the sources they need. Our collection is small and tightly focused. We are able to build on our areas of strength and still provide excellent library service to students and faculty doing work outside of that focused area.
The student who is planning a senior design project is no longer bound to the focus areas of the university. She can branch out to any field that interests her, say bio-mechanics, or perhaps aquatic biology, and know that she will have access to the sources she needs to successfully complete her project. Faculty members may collaborate with colleagues anywhere in the world to do research. They are no longer the academically isolated. The Internet eliminates geographical constraints.
The library uses the library catalogs available via the Internet in a variety of ways. Our serial holdings are loaded on the CARL/UnCover system. Our patrons can search for articles from their homes or offices, determine whether or not we own a particular item. They can then send us an e-mail message requesting that we copy or order the item for them through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Our ILL department frequently uses the library catalogs on the Internet to verify citations for requested books and other materials.
The Internet allows our faculty and staff and students to keep current on many of the issues they deal with day to day. The library staff use a variety of “library” oriented lists to exchange ideas with other institutions on issues that we all deal with. The lnternet has provided opportunities to access and provide information in ways that were unheard of until recently. The library publishes _Devereaux Online_ a monthly newsletter both in paper and electronically.
The library is not the only department on campus making use of the Internet. The Student Services staff use ERIC and other resources on the Internet in their offices to help them achieve their goals. The High Plains Center, and the Institute for Atmospheric Sciences also use the Internet for research and communications.
In the English department the Technical Communications classes use the Internet heavily to help students prepare for careers which will demand strong communication skills. Mailing lists and USENET news in particular help prepare students to communicate electronically. The interactive nature of the process makes it attractive to the students. Using the “net” to communicate gives students practice in expressing their ideas and opinions. They gain an understanding of the need to “know your audience.” After the first round of spelling “flames” roll in, they also understand that spelling and grammar matter.