Across the world, academic institutions have grappled with physical closures and the need to move teaching and learning online. University libraries have been at the forefront of these adjustments, helping to transition curriculum while continuing to engage faculty and students. For some university libraries, the shift to online learning but has all but eliminated resistance to adopting electronic resources.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Malaysia – with an educational goal of intensifying the use of technology in all aspects of research, teaching and learning – is no stranger to digital platforms. Established in 2002, UTAR is highly reputed as one of the fastest growing private higher education institutions in the region with more than 23,000 students across campuses in Kampar, Perak and Bandar Sungai Long, Selangor.
“Our university, like most universities all over the world, has changed quickly, and the library’s daily operations have adapted to this new normal,” said Ang Suan Sim, Library Director at UTAR.
ProQuest data shows an enormous growth in the number of ebooks purchased in Malaysia in the last few months, as well as a significant increase in the number of Malaysian libraries purchasing ebooks for the first time. This unprecedented e-resource investment reflects a quick response and adaptation by academic libraries in the region.
When UTAR’s curriculum went online, they used ProQuest’s free Title Matching Fast (TMF) service to identify which highly used print titles from their collection should be supplemented with electronic versions. UTAR made purchase decisions with the help of ProQuest’s top-used title lists, a value-added TMF service which lists the most popular ebooks globally across all universities. (Many libraries also incorporate circulation statistics, references to reading lists, or links to existing subscription services – such as Academic Complete – in the TMF Report.)
The university then took advantage of ProQuest’s E Now discount program to purchase ebooks at 50% discount. The dramatic result: 93% of UTAR’s titles purchased through E Now have already been used.
“We needed to quickly source e-versions of our books to meet the teaching and learning requirements of our students and faculty, and this special offer helped us do so at an affordable price,” said Hew Yoke Far, Head of Library at Kampar Campus. “The TMF reports helped us quickly identify the resources we needed.”
UTAR simply provided ISBNs for print titles – as well as data for course codes, names and faculty codes – to ProQuest, who quickly developed a customized TMF report for the library. This allowed the library to make quick decisions on content and eliminated many hours of manual searching from the already-stretched library staff.
Chong Chooi Hwa, Senior Assistant Manager at the UTAR Library, hopes to use the TMF reports in the future to support the continued need to grow the library’s online collections. She also spoke highly of the LibraryThing Book Display Widget, which the library uses to showcase its content and promote it to users. The widget is available separately or to subscribers of Academic Complete, and is easily implemented to help enliven catalogs and increase usage.
UTAR took advantage of E Now, a series of programs to support flexible teaching and learning on campus and online. Developed based on market feedback, input from library and higher-ed organizations, and discussions with customers around the world, ProQuest’s E Now programs include: