Features

Recognizing Librarians

A Campaign to Honor the Contributions of Academic Librarians

With its Recognizing Librarians initiative, ASTM International honors librarians and provides resources for their work.

This year, ASTM International has launched an initiative aimed at academic librarians — the 2013 ASTM “Recognizing Librarians” campaign. The initiative honors and provides resources to the information professionals who advance the educational missions of their institutions and introduce innovative ways to meet the needs of the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

Over the years, academic librarians have taken on many new and challenging responsibilities as the dynamic needs of working in a university environment continue to grow. Just ask a group of people to describe what an academic librarian does, and you’ll find the answers vary significantly — not only in terms of duties and responsibilities, but also in perceptions, or misperceptions, of their roles within the context of their institutions.

First and foremost, academic librarians are service providers to communities of researchers, students, professors, etc., all of whom have high expectations as to which resources and content should be available readily, and how they should be accessed, using only the most technologically advanced delivery methods. Librarians strive to satisfy patrons’ demands and maximize available resources within challenging budget and staffing constraints. The university’s objectives may include meeting accreditation requirements, generating and attracting new research, or recruiting promising new students. And within this milieu of ever-increasing demands, advancing technology and shrinking budgets, the academic librarian remains an invaluable asset to the university.

In 2006, ASTM stepped in to help librarians and other users of technical information by digitizing 50 years’ worth of its published manuals, monographs, data series, special technical publications and journal articles. Subsequently, all of this content was combined with ASTM’s 12,000 standards and made available on a single, search-friendly platform – the ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library. The SEDL now offers schools access to everything ASTM has ever published and features robust search capabilities on a single platform.

In 2013, ASTM International is specifically thanking librarians for their hard work in making technical material available to students and professors alike. Highlights of the ASTM Recognizing Librarians initiative are:

  • ASTM/ASEE Librarian Award — ASTM will sponsor the American Society for Engineering Education Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award, presented each year by the ASEE Engineering Libraries Division. This award recognizes work that has contributed to the advancement and development of excellence in engineering libraries. The award includes a cash prize and will be presented at the ASEE annual conference in June.
  • Promotional Materials — Promotional materials and giveaways are now available to librarians who wish to increase awareness that their schools have campus-wide online access to ASTM publications.
  • User Resources — Videos, slides and other guidance to help librarians use and promote the ASTM SEDL.
  • Access to Other Resources — Librarians can now serve as an access point for other resources that ASTM has developed for engineering instructors to introduce standards to their curricula such as the Professor’s Tool Kit. The Tool Kit is available in CD-format (free on request) or online.

For more about the Recognizing Librarians campaign, access to the ASTM SEDL or to set up a free SEDL trial, please contact George Zajdel (phone: 610-832-9614).

George Zajdel is the account manager for academic and government markets in ASTM International’s Publications and Marketing division.

A Librarian Comments on the ASTM SEDL

Janet S. Holly, a reference librarian at the Virginia Military Institute for more than 28 years, had these observations about how ASTM International’s Standards and Engineering Digital Library helps support the mission of her institution:

  • Engineering students quickly find that the collection is both comprehensive and essential for the practicing engineer;
  • Both faculty mentors and students find SEDL an invaluable resource;
  • During the 2012 ABET accreditation process, the VMI library was praised for providing SEDL to its students and faculty;
  • SEDL is always current and can be accessed from any VMI computer; and
  • Having the SEDL has been a great help to faculty in laboratory work and research, and to students performing undergraduate research projects.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.