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This article appeared in Inside Fordham Libraries a few months after Fordham began using Docutek ERes.

The Rise of ERes
James McCabe, Fordham University Libraries
Inside Fordham Libraries, Fall 2000, vol. 16

Probably the most popular service the Library has ever offered is the ERes, or electronic reserve room software available on the Library's Web site. In the spring 2000 semester more than 300 courses were represented, 3,670 documents were online, and students accessed the systems more than 40,000 times.

One reason for its popularity is its simplicity. Faculty can easily create course pages and attach documents to them, and students can easily find the coruse pages and read or download the documents. The course page also offers chat room and bulletin board functions and the opportunity to send email messages to the instructor.

It is our experience in the Library that anything technological takes a year or more to become operational. ERes took only about six months before it was ready enough for prime time that we placed it on our Web site. In the first month of the semester, the reserve room staff were almost overwhelmed by the demand for course pages and the number of documents that had to be scanned.

If a faculty member wants to use the system, he or she is given a password and thereby enable to create a course page for each class taught. The professor can then create or scan documents, such as a syllabus or assignments or sample tests. Readings can then be scanned and linked to the course page. The Library usually does the scanning on its high-speed machines, but the professor may also do it and even fax articles directly to the server. Many faculty also use the bulletin board and chat room functions.

The immediate, enthusiastic acceptance of electronic reserves is proof that it is a program whose time had come. It is a fine example of how the Internet can make our lives and work a little easier, and save time and energy.

Reprinted with permission of the author, Dr. James McCabe, Director of the Fordham University Libraries.

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