Library DrawingThe CONNector

JANUARY 2000Volume 2 Number 1

Electronic Resources

Joanne Turschman, Law/Legislative Reference Unit

By next year, 75% of federal government records will be in lectronic form, and no one is sure how much of it will be readable  in as little as 10 years.Arlyn Tobias Gajilan, History: We're Losing It. Newsweek, July 12, 1999 The Connecticut State Library is the principal library for all branches of state government. The Information Services Division provides reference services and research resources to state employees and to the general public. People with State Library cards can access the dozens of computer terminals in the three public areas of the library (to obtain a CSL card, complete an application at the circulation desk and present a CT. photo id). As the trend from print to web-based products gathered speed, the State Library developed selection criteria and procedures to ease the transition and provide opportunities for resource sharing and cooperative purchasing within this new medium.

Electronic Aids
The Web Reference Resources portion of the State Library's homepage is the link for on-site users to access some of the more popular titles once available only in print. Aside from having Internet access, public workstations are currently loaded with ReQuest (our statewide catalog), The Hartford Courant, Biography & Genealogy Master Index, Britannica, CIS Congressional Universe, Ebscohost, Encyclopedia Americana, Firstsearch, Gale Ready Reference Shelf, Reference USA, Contemporary Authors, and Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.

CSL Services
Some terminals are designated for the card catalog (CONSULS), or CD products specific to the needs of the department in which they are located. For example, The History & Genealogy Unit features Family Search, Social Security Index, and International Genealogical Index. Government Information Services, a depository for State and Federal documents, has compact discs on every subject relevant to government interests, as well as CIS Congressional Master File, US Government Periodical Index, and Connecticut Data Manager. The Law & Legislative Reference Unit has LegalTrac, Law Office Information Systems, UPA Major Studies & Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service, Medicare/Medicaid Guides, and Tax Analyst. Print requests other than those from the card catalog are sent to dedicated high speed printers and are paid for with a copy card at fifteen cents per page.

While the State Library is committed to providing information services in current and emerging electronic formats, the challenge to preserve primary sources in Law, Archives, History & Genealogy, and Government publications leaves the patron in the enviable position of having the best of both worlds.

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