The University of California Libraries
The University of California libraries are vital to the mission of the University. With over 100 libraries located on nine campuses and a total collection of over 25 million volumes (surpassed in the United States only by the Library of Congress), this system represents one of the richest and most extensive bibliographic resources in the world.
The University Librarian on each campus has responsibility for the management and administration of the general library system on that campus, while overall responsibility for Universitywide library planning and policy development, budget, and automation lies with the Office of the President.
The library system operates under the general guidance of a comprehensive Plan for Development adopted in 1977, which embodies the University's commitment to develop and maintain the library collections, facilities, and services needed to support excellence in research, instruction, and public service.
The library resources of all campuses form a single University collection of books, magazines, journals, microfiche, films, documents, tapes, audiovisual material, maps, slides, archival material, and electronic information resources which is available to faculty, students, and staff throughout the entire system.
To assure that library holdings at each campus continue to support approved programs of instruction and research, the 1977 library plan established an acquisitions budget formula based on academic programs, undergraduate and graduate enrollment, and the amount of sponsored research on each campus.
A major goal of the 1977 library plan was to assure that the essential collections of the University of California libraries would be available in perpetuity to support research and teaching, and to serve as a major library resource for California and the nation. To help realize this goal, the University maintains an ongoing program to preserve materials that are or will become unusable as a result of chemical deterioration, environmental damage, and wear.
Library Automation, Electronic Information Resources, and The MELVYL® System
The fundamental purpose of the UC libraries is to provide access to information required for effective scholarship and research. The University supports this goal through extensive library automation activities at each campus. Most campuses now possess integrated library automation systems with online catalogs providing computer-based access to the holdings of the campus library system. All campuses now support active programs that use information technologies such as Campus-Wide Information Systems to enhance access to official campus information and other networked information resources, and many campuses have embarked on significant research and development efforts intended to apply modern information technologies to new areas such as the University's museums, manuscript collections, and photographic collections.
One of the key elements in this program is the MELVYL online library system, which complements and extends the services provided by campus library systems by combining the bibliographic records of holdings in all libraries on all campuses and providing computer access to the entire collection. Almost 90 percent of the monographic holdings of the University libraries are now represented in the MELVYL catalog database. The catalog not only offers easy and instantaneous access, but through its sophisticated search and selection features, provides information in ways not possible through the manual card catalog.
Terminals are available in the UC libraries for patrons to locate materials held at the local campus or at any library in the UC system. In addition, provisions for dial-up access and connections to campus, Universitywide, national, and international data communications networks permit access to campus catalogs and the MELVYL system from offices, instructional computer laboratories, dormitories, and homes.
In addition to encouraging the "one University, one library" concept by unifying the tremendously diverse system that is the University of California, the MELVYL system provides the foundation for a broad range of information and bibliographic services. Among these is the California Academic Libraries List of Serials (CALLS) database, one of the largest lists of serials in the world, reflecting the serials holdings of the nine UC campuses, the 20 California State University campuses, and selected other libraries, notably those of Stanford University and the University of Southern California.
In 1985, the University initiated an ongoing program to add to the MELVYL system databases containing abstracts and indexing information for journal articles and other periodical publications. Such databases cover a wide range of subjects in all disciplines and professions and offer information that is sometimes exceedingly time consuming, complicated, and often impossible to find through conventional printed indexes. The addition of abstracting and indexing databases to the MELVYL system provides UC faculty and students with enhanced access to the contents of the vast journal literature without additional fees typical of commercial database services, and using the same commands that are used to search the MELVYL catalog.
Through its connection to the computer-based international "network of networks" known as the Internet, the MELVYL system also provides access to a wide variety of significant information resources at other locations. These include additional journal indexing databases supporting education (ERIC), geology and earth sciences (Georef), and Chicano/Latino research (the Hispanic-American Periodicals Index), current-events information sources such as the Congressional Quarterly Washington Alert service, and national and international catalogs of library holdings such as those of the Library of Congress, the Research Libraries Group, and the OCLC Online Computer Library Center. In addition, the Internet connection provides access to the library catalogs of most of the major research libraries in North America and to an enormous number of specialized catalogs, databases, text libraries, and discussion groups throughout the world.
The MELVYL system and many campus library systems also provide a number of advanced features to support library research, such as the ability to send catalog search results to the user's electronic mail account for subsequent processing, support for downloading of search results into personal bibliography software packages, and current awareness services that notify users of new publications of interest via electronic mail.
The University is committed to expanding these services and adding new products and services that improve access to information.
Interlibrary Loan and Intercampus Access to Collections
Through the interlibrary loan services at each campus library, faculty and other academic personnel may borrow directly from any UC campus library and from the libraries of the California State University. Many private colleges and universities in California and throughout the country also make their collections available to UC faculty through reciprocal lending agreements. In addition, items may be borrowed from other national and international research collections through the interlibrary loan service at each campus. To promote the effective sharing of resources, intercampus transportation is available for library patrons. An intercampus bus service operates jitney buses daily, linking the Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, and Santa Barbara campuses with Los Angeles in the south, and linking the Davis and Santa Cruz campuses with Berkeley in the north. Library materials and library users are transported within these regions by this service. In addition, transportation services may be offered as part of interlibrary cooperative agreements between individual UC libraries and other libraries in their region. Among the institutions that participate in reciprocal lending, transportation, and other resource sharing agreements are the University of Southern California, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, and the J. Paul Getty Museum and Library.
To further enhance resource sharing, most campuses now offer fee-based document delivery services that can obtain requested library materials from the local collection, another UC library, any other library in the nation, or a commercial source, and deliver the material to a campus address. At some campuses, it is now possible for any registered user of the document delivery service to conduct a MELVYL system search and request delivery of any retrieved item directly from the MELVYL screen, without transcribing information or having to contact a campus office; this service is expected to be available at all campuses in the near future.
As noted previously, the University is committed to retaining all library materials deemed important for research, teaching, and archival purposes. Consequently, the 1977 library plan featured a major library capital development program intended to assure that valuable library resources would not be arbitrarily discarded because of shortages in library space. This capital program provides for significant additions to library facilities at each campus; many of these new library facilities have been completed, and work is planned or underway on others. In addition, the library plan established two regional compact shelving facilities, one in the north and the other in the south, to provide housing for less-used research materials and a carefully-controlled environment to preserve these valuable collection resources. The Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) was completed in 1982 and expanded in 1990; the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF) was completed in 1987, and expanded in 1993.
The regional facilities are committed to providing requested materials within two working days from the time of the request. Photocopy and telefacsimile services are provided and reader assistance is available at the facilities. Bibliographical access to deposited material is provided through the University's MELVYL catalog.
Instructional Support Services
All libraries offer a variety of services developed to meet the instructional and research needs of the University community. General and specialized guided library tours, class presentations, bibliographic training, and instruction on the use of the campus online library catalog and the MELVYL system are available on an ongoing basis. In addition, special workshops and seminars are available both for faculty and for students. The libraries also provide special assistance to users with disabilities, as well as special services for blind and for visually or hearing-impaired persons.
As with all academic institutions, the quality of education depends, in great part, on the quality of its libraries. The UC library system is committed to maintaining the academic excellence that distinguishes this University through the selection and preservation of its collections, the support of its academic and research programs, and the development of new services.