Title: How our past prepared us for a pandemic: Librarians bridging the information gap for distance learners
Presenter: Jane Norton, Carrol Rogers, Jacqueline Evans
Divion of Library Services
Session Type: Poster
Abstract: During the initial outbreak of COVID, Charles Sturt was well poised, with a wealth of knowledge and experience built up over years of distance and online delivery. The student experience has improved with the evolution of library support for distance learning, from the traditional posting out of “bricks,” to the development of an e-preferred collection policy, eTextbooks project, and provision of resources through eReserve and Leganto.
The onset of COVID and the move to purely online learning was a challenge for many universities with a traditional, face-to-face delivery model (Ross, 2020). Charles Sturt’s pre-existing preference for an electronic library collection meant that the infrastructure was already in place to enable us to quickly take up opportunities such as the unlimited eBook access programs, open access textbooks, and expanded journal access (Cambridge University Press, 2020; EBSCO, 2020; JSTOR, 2020; Proquest, 2020) that became available with the onset of COVID. Does this signal an end to the traditional subscription model and an opportunity for proposed strategies such as Plan S to provide open, equitable access to scholarly resources (CAUL, 2019; cOAlition S, 2020), or has COVID provided a marketing opportunity for publishers to continue to push the current subscription model?
A further challenge was thrown our way regarding access to hard copy resources while physical collections are closed. Use of the special copying and communicating provision, 200AB of the Copyright Act 1968, allowed the required degree of flexibility to be exercised in this space. This begs the question of what will copyright law look like in the future? The ability to incorporate flexibility within the existing legislation has led to proposed changes to the Copyright Act enabling further degrees of flexibility in the future (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, 2020). This, coupled with a comprehensive Open Access plan may see this era of online learning bring about significant changes in equitable access to information, and ultimately the structure, form and delivery of course content.