Volume 15 Number 3
|Some (Mostly Fun) User Requests of
the SUNY Digital Repository
We strive to make our libraries' online services such that they enable our patrons to get right to the material of interest. And, there are times that additional insight into the use of these services comes when that is not the case. The we-hear-about-things-only-when-they-are-broken situation.
This can be said for the SUNY Digital Repository as well. We do know that actual repository materials have been viewed more than a quarter million times in the past nine months. These are the successful users and successful library uses we don't always hear about. They are successful because you've put the URL for that SUNY Press title in your catalog and the user is seen as coming from a SUNY IP address. Successful because the repository content is found via major search engines and much of that is freely accessible to the world.
Here are some examples of repository usage where the librarian is asked to intervene. Sometimes it is simply access issues (that get resolved), sometimes special accommodations are made to allow for educational use of an item, andother instances (for instance non-SUNY interest in SUNY Press works) where copyright and licensing issues result in pointing the user to Google Books, WorldCat, the publisher or other alternatives.
Some of those SUNY Press requests have come from
Requests for visual resources have come from The Atlantic Monthly, scholars in Italy and Russia among other locations.
Requests of a less fun nature tend to revolve around authors seeking the removal of their dissertation (which is done per the particular campus' policy) or perhaps someone is aghast when they "google" their name and find past youthful transgressions revealed in decades-old school newspapers.
Publishers send permission requests periodically; Cortland has received some of the more interesting versions of these:
* a Berlin Germany based publisher wrote "would like to use [a repository image] in a design about the history of rock and pop"
* "My company would like to know if we could use the attached image for use in an issue of our monthly magazine...We would love to use this image as a reference to show kids how to make a conga line. For a brief background, the magazine is sent to churches across the country for use in Sunday school classes."
Cortland granted permission in both cases.
In these pages, Onondaga's Jeff Harr wrote "the library is bigger than anything we think it is." The depth and breadth of repository requests reveal this as well. Sometimes the requests also reveal views of current human drama and pathos: "I'm a doctor and a lecturer; please, I need to use your library because we lack the updated research in my country. Thanks" [from Mosul, Iraq]
Or, simple human joys (in this case fulfilled by Stony Brook University) -- "First, thank you all for the work digitizing the Statesman. My husband ...and I have been waiting 30 yrs to see the cover of him staring up at the camera in the middle of the big housing 'riot'. This picture has been part of our family lore for decades, and I plan to send the link to my half sister ...who just graduated from Stony Brook last spring. She too has heard of this cover for years. If there is any way to get a decent print of this page could you please let me know? I would love to get it framed and give it to ...for his ... birthday. We still talk about the time he got trapped in the crowd and ended up on the Statesman cover. Thanks again. Good work all. Those archives really take us back!"