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Accessing databases as an external borrower during pandemic

Published by Dipa Barua

Q: I deeply appreciate the aggressive measures you've taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, however, I wanted to make you aware of how the library closure is impacting me as an external borrower. I work at another institution in the lower mainland and I'm currently writing up my PhD thesis with a deadline to submit this summer. As an international student, I don't have physical access to my host university's library and while I do have access to the library where I work here in BC, their holdings are small. Therefore, I have come to depend quite heavily on the privileges extended to me as an external borrower at SFU. The recent closure, however, has serious ramifications since I cannot access digital content remotely and as you know, a growing number of more recent publications are only available in electronic format. I completely understand the licensing issues that have me in this predicament but I wonder if anything can be done to help me and possibly others in a similar situation during this time of crisis.

A: Thank-you for letting us know about how you have been impacted by our transitioning to online services. I understand that these circumstances are less than ideal for you, but here are some suggestions that will hopefully be of assistance to you in continuing with your research:

  1. Use your home institution's e-resources as you will be an authorized user under their licenses and they are your primary support for your research/education needs.
  2. Find universities with a strong program in your area of research/study with an Open access filter in their catalog. For example:

  • You may find some ebooks relevant to your research in the Directory of Open Access Books. NOTE: among these OA ebooks there are hundreds of titles from well known publishers which have been made open access via crowdfunding.
  • You may find some journal articles relevant to your research in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • Many publishers have reduced or eliminated access restrictions to their content because of library closures. Unfortunately not all of these are stable and their availability may vary. I've put two links below from universities who've chosen to share certain resources with their communities. Possibly some of their content will match your needs:

    UCA Library
    Georgetown Library

Patty Gallilee
ADL, Collections & Scholarly Communications

 
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