Valley library comes home

The interface for all online Valley classes is changing due to a state-wide improvement effort. 

By Solomon Smith, Staff Writer

The Valley College Library has overhauled its website, streamlining access to its online systems. It is available both off and on campus and provides easier, centralized access to its resources.

The old system used two websites for on and off-campus access, which, according to Cason, was "confusing for students." OneSearch is the linchpin of the redesign. The search box in the center of the Valley Library’s home page searches across all of the databases available to students, offering articles, periodicals, newspapers and in some cases, even books available in the library. The website's new user interface facilitates an improved student experience.

“I redesigned the website in conjunction with the campus website designer," says Meghan Gaynor Cason, a staff librarian tasked with digital resources, web, reference and instructor. "We worked collaboratively to redesign the website to make it more user friendly. Part of that had to do with changing the way that students access their databases.”

Students enter specific words related to their subject into the search box. The database is setup for research and serves up the results as a list of related materials, each with their own clickable link that directs users to different databases that are purchased or leased by the school. The librarians are constantly reevaluating which databases are most useful; with about 44 databases, students have plenty of sources to choose from.

The new interface can be daunting for some students, but the staff has that covered, according to Cynthia Cohen, the Information Literacy Instruction and Reference Librarian. Ask A Librarian, provided by QuestionPoint, provides an online librarian available 24-hours a day to get students pointed in the right direction.  Staff librarians have also reached out to professors to familiarize them with the new online setup: newsletters and tours of the library are some of the outreach efforts librarians are employing to help teachers and students get familiar with the system.

The look of the new website matches the familiar theme of the Valley website's school colors. Its menu and tab placement are similar to the Valley home page, so as to reduce anxiety for students new to doing research, according to Cason. Search results can include magazine articles, books, e-books, newspapers and video.  Initiating a search leads to an organized list of material that can be filtered in several different ways; source, type, subject, date, and database. Students must use their UIA username and password to access the program, both off and on campus.