Interview with Nancy Schiller and A. Ben Wagner, University at Buffalo
For the University at Buffalo, Knovel is a comprehensive interactive resource for technical insights and properties data necessary for achieving education and research goals.
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, University at Buffalo science and engineering librarians A. Ben Wagner and Nancy Schiller understand how reliable information is essential to quality research. They also know how challenging it has become, since the rise in use of search engines like Google, to find that data.
While the Internet has made information substantially more available to today’s students, the validity and usefulness of those sources is often questionable. Part of the challenge for today’s librarians is that, in training students to be more effective researchers, they have to teach the students to become more discerning about that data, as well. Another challenge is how to reach the students to begin with and make them aware of all the resources at their disposal.
In implementing Knovel, the librarians have come to value its balance between offering great background information and deeply specific technical content.
One of the things I can certainly compliment Knovel on is that it is very precise, particularly in data searching, where it goes down to the cell level in a table, Wagner says. This wide range of utility is one of the reasons why they continue to actively promote Knovel to both students and faculty. In fact, the reference department doesn’t even have a seated area anymore. Instead, the librarians are on call, moving about the building and helping patrons make the most of the library resources in real time as research questions come up. Some of the staff even hold regular office hours outside the library in the buildings of the academic departments they serve.
"Knovel’s online technical resources are the first place we look—and we let students and faculty know that." A. Ben Wagner, University at Buffalo
With Knovel, Wagner, Schiller and their colleagues are able to prepare their students for successful careers inside and outside of academia.
Knovel really works like a database. And when I say that, Schiller continues,
I mean that it has so much more functionality. A lot of research platforms are pretty one dimensional the way that they’re set up. But Knovel is not just a flat eBook platform for the delivery of the text. It operates more like a utility, with productivity tools and software programs running inside. Wagner agrees.
We find the Knovel platform just about the best out there for e-reference, he says.
I can’t imagine living without Knovel in answering reference questions.
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