from the Higher Education Information Resources Alliance of ARL, CAUSE, and Educom
Documents related to this report are available and described at the end of this report.
NOTE: This document is supplementary to the HEIRAlliance Evaluation Guidelines for Institutional Information Resources, published by the Association of Research Libraries, CAUSE, and Educom to provide guidelines for institutions of higher education for evaluating campus information resources when doing self-studies or preparing for accreditation.
In addition to the general requirements outlined in the HEIRAlliance Evaluation Guidelines for Institutional Information Resources, the following represent some of the possible characteristics of an environment in which information resources are highly developed. This list is admittedly not all-encompassing, and input is welcome with respect to areas that could be included in future iterations.
Not all aspects of such a "leading-edge" environment will be feasible or desirable for many institutions. However, each institution can find appropriate elements that will apply. This example is offered in the summer of 1995; with the passage of time, some of the characteristics will change to accommodate emerging technologies and strategies.
[b] Access to networked information and computing facilities exists that enables the same services from remote locations as on campus.
[c] A distributed computing environment exists including production-level implementation of file systems, directory services, remote procedure calls, and security.
[d] Message-enabled applications, electronic mail, groupware, and electronic forms are in place.
[e] Archive and back-up systems are in place.
[f] A campuswide information system is in place, using widely familiar access tools that are easy to use and providing an initial entry point to most of the institution's information resources.
[g] Small, scalable computers built on open systems and protocols are used as file, data, and cycle servers.
[h] The library's server provides search engines for locating information in a wide variety of locations on and off campus, both through its own catalog and through other finding tools.
[i] Massive online storage capacity is available for research projects.
[j] Video conferencing systems are in use for administrative functions as well as interactive two-way and multi-way instruction, real-time collaboration among a global community of researchers and scholars, and so forth.
[k] Partnerships with phone or TV cable service providers are established to extend the campus network to off-campus housing.
[l] Residence halls are fully networked.
[m] Classrooms offer network connections, video and audio projection facilities, and technology for the use of multimedia in instruction.
[b] The institution's technology standards are well-defined and are uniformly applied in the evaluation, selection, and adoption of new systems, and in the upgrading, enhancing, and transformation of existing systems.
[c] The institution's technology standards, even where these are only advisory, are clearly communicated throughout the institution and are kept current with advances in the technology marketplace, so that users making their own technology decisions can be advised on these matters.
[d] Interoperability and open systems are institutional priorities.
[b] Public facilities are in place with hardware and software to support the instructional needs of faculty and students, with access to the Internet available in these facilities.
[b] Faculty are also commonly using network technology to communicate with students outside the classroom.
[c] Labs and support personnel are available to assist faculty in the development of course materials, and partnerships are in place among information technology resources groups to enable more effective development.
[d] Librarians participate with faculty in providing instruction on the location and use of information resources on the campus network and on the international networks.
[e] Distance learning programs are offered as part of degree programs; architectures are established to support these programs; and library and administrative systems to support students in these programs are in place.
[f] The potential for technology to enable the redesign of curriculum is recognized, and research into new instructional models (especially ones that are designed for distance learners) is encouraged.
[g] A faculty reward structure is in place to encourage faculty to develop innovative teaching and learning techniques, using technology where appropriate.
[b] Specialized support is in place in the form of walk-in facilities that enable faculty to use sophisticated information technology for research activities.
[c] Networked information systems are in place that allow faculty easily to access scholarly information and to communicate with colleagues.
[d] An array of networked scholarly information is available (including full text, abstracting and indexing services, and image databases)-some acquired for campuswide access, some provided on a per-use basis from off-campus sources, and some created by on-campus research projects.
[b] Students have easy access, in a user friendly environment, to their own records, including transcripts, grades, demographic information, class scheduling, advising, financial aid information, balance and payment information from their financial accounts, and so forth.
[c] Students and faculty have easy access, in a user friendly environment, to online public access catalogs (OPACs) and their related circulation information as well as electronic services such as online reference services (e.g., via e-mail to the library reference desk or to online sources), electronic requests for book delivery or for inter-library loans, requests for journal article copies, and so forth.
[d] A structure to enable process reengineering and partnerships between appropriate units in the institution is operating and successful. An activity-based costing process is used to determine benefit of processes and uncover areas ready for process reengineering.
[b] A support structure which concentrates on local support providers who in turn support the end users is in place. Specialized support for areas such as mathematics/statistics, humanities computing, and high-level research computing is readily available.
[c] The support services of information professionals are readily available, both in the computing and library areas, and training programs for the use of new technologies have been developed and offered.
[b] Advisory committees for academic, administrative, library, information access, and other services are in place to guide and advise the priorities of the information resource areas.
[c] A user-survey and benchmarking process is in place to assess the effectiveness of the information resources areas.
[d] Organizations within the institution, especially the information technology organization, are flexible and able to change rapidly in support of changing business needs.
[e] Groups have been charged with looking into emerging new technologies and testbeds have been established for the more promising of these.
[b] Libraries, computing organizations, university presses, and other information resources units are cooperating to enable full-featured, automated access to catalogues, electronic text and images, and other academic information services to the constituency.
[b] The institution encourages such staff to actively participate in professional associations and recognizes the benefits of learning from colleagues at other institutions.
[c] The college or university community has access to professional periodicals, both printed and online, in the information resources fields.
[d] All information resources personnel have the means for continuous training to stay abreast of technology and usage.
Print copies of the HEIRAlliance Evaluation Guidelines for Institutional Information Resources are available from EDUCAUSE at $5.00 each (firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-939-0310).
Comments and suggestions may be shared with the HEIRAlliance c/o EDUCAUSE, 4840 Pearl East Circle, Suite 302E, Boulder, CO 80301-6114; phone 303-449-4430; fax 303-440-0461.
Related documents available:
...about Evaluating Institutional Information Resources