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course/control: A Reserves Management System

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What is it?

course/control is, as the title states, a system to manage library reserves. It was developed by Emory University General Libraries to address the desires and expectations of our faculty and staff in how they wanted a reserves system to work. It gives the instructors much more flexibility in the way their course reserves appear and to add whatever they want, when they want. course/control is skinnable for institutions with independent branches or schools to maintain their distinct look and feel.

The system keeps a history of all the items put on reserve for a class so an instructor can reactivate their reserve list when teaching the class again.

Instructors can add, delete, annotate, reorder, re-catalog and set a later activation date for the reserve items in their class. Adding reserves is possible by searching through past reserves, immediately adding electronic items, if available; uploading a file from their computer, adding a URL, faxing a document to the server, or requesting a book or journal article from the library catalog.

Depending on the culture of your institution, the workload can be shifted to require the instructors to do majority of the work (instructor's have the ability to add whatever metadata is associated with a reserve item -- after all, it is their class, it should appear however they want it to) or library staff can do majority of the work, leaving only customization and ordering to the faculty. In fact, no involvement from the faculty is necessary (short of actually requesting the reserve items, of course), if they choose not to.

Although course/control's strength lies in electronic reserves, it also can interact with the catalog to allow for physical reserve items. There is no circulation capability in course/control, however, it can link to the OPAC for increased bibliographic information. Emory uses course/control for both Electronic and physical reserves.

The optional public (student) interface for course/control is called Reserves Direct. It allows class members to fill out a profile of their current courseload and then view the items in the order the instructor has set for them. In cases of very long reserves listings, the user may hide the items they have already viewed to reduce the clutter of their “reserve desk”.

Together, these interfaces make the management of reserves considerably easier for both faculty and library staff.

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Last Modified: October 1, 2002 by Ross Singer