Society makes bookish donation
By Kevin Gale
Western's researchers are fishing for better resources and the Society of Graduate Students is about to byte into the request.
SOGS will donate $15,000 to Western's campus libraries on Feb. 3 for the purpose of buying disk space for new databases and to update current library databases.
"In our long-term planning we noticed excess money," said the society's president Andrew Hui. "We thought we'd do something nice for the community. It's not our primary goal for graduate students to benefit from this."
The original motion was put forth at a SOGS meeting in November but was not approved until the society's last meeting, Jan. 16.
Hui added the money was given to the library on the condition topics from all faculties get equal representation in the new databases.
The $15,000 was accumulated from revenues generated by the SOGS-owned Grad Club over the last couple of years but separate from those funds raised by the Grad Club levy over the last four years, Hui said. "It's sort of a thank you [to Western] for their patronage to the Grad Club."
Western's director of libraries Catherine Quinlan, said the money will be able to buy 37 gigabytes of hard disk space. "We're buying infrastructure," she said. "We can buy the resources but not the hardware."
The money comes at a time when the libraries on campus simply cannot afford new hardware of this type due to 40 per cent cutbacks to their operating budget over the last four years, Quinlan explained.
Of the $9.6 million budget this year, only $1 million is left to put towards maintaining and upgrading the basic computer systems across the campus's seven libraries, after basic expenses such salaries and acquisitions are covered, Quinlan said.
She added $7.4 million is budgeted to acquire research materials for the libraries and this money cannot be used to purchase anything but information resources.
The money will be used to setup full-text databases, computer files that allow people to see an entire periodical, not just a listing of articles on a topic, Quinlan said. She added three or four databases are possible with the donation from SOGS.
Quinlan said the new databases will allow users to research less-current topics more effectively because they are cumulative and will be updated as frequently as the sources are distributed.
"Part of any thesis is a literature review," Hui said.
It was this need, in addition to the heavy reliance of students and faculty members on library research which prompted the society to donate the money, Hui said. "It is a very positive step for the university as a whole because of cutbacks to faculties, most faculties look out for themselves the library is second on everyone's list."