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Julie Pohlman's BadgerLink Story

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Julie Pohlman is the Library Program Director for UW System Administration and a member of the BadgerLink Advisory Group.

How have academic libraries changed since you were in school?

One of the biggest changes has been primary electronic access to academic research materials. The pool of materials available to people has exponentially increased. I remember using the “Green Indexes” in high school and in college we just started having access to Lexis then more electronic resources came online when I was in graduate school. The preponderance of information and the ease of access has changed. Now, you have to have a greater skill set to conduct research. You have to understand the resources, how to select the best one(s), you have to know how to evaluate and effectively use them.

What’s a typical day like? How has that changed during pandemic?

My day hasn’t changed at all, but I have more personal time because I don’t have to commute.

Folks working in campus libraries have seen a lot of change. There are not as many staff members in the building, so there’s more job sharing. Many staff come to campus on a rotating basis. If you’re a librarian who’s going to campus, you might not just be doing your usual job. You might also be answering reference questions, or doing circulation, even cleaning. The way I work with campus library staff hasn’t changed much, but the way they work with their on-campus colleagues has changed a lot.

How has your online resource use changed in the last 6 months?

Our use of electronic resources hasn’t changed much, but campus librarians say that demand for certain content, online, has gone way up. Students and faculty may want more specific things electronically, and they want to be able to convert physical resources into electronic ones. Campus librarians have always provided a lot of support for use of technology, and those needs have increased with students learning remotely; there’s the usual support, but also support for Canvas and online learning tools, internet access/hotspots, Zoom-Webex, etc.

How long have you known about BadgerLink, and been a user of BadgerLink resources?

I have known about BadgerLink as long as I’ve worked at the University. EBSCO has been a core suite of resources for universities for a long time. The fact that state funds provide BadgerLink resources makes it possible for the University to purchase collection upgrades at much better prices than they would be able to otherwise. The BadgerLink resources really do form a foundation collection for the whole state.

What do you wish Wisconsinites knew about BadgerLink that you don’t think they do?

Much of the population with postsecondary education may not have been in a college or university for a long time and likely aren’t aware of types and quantities of electronic resources that exist today. They aren’t even aware of how much content is available or how to make the most of it.

With a knowledge of Badgerlink, people can find access to a lot of newspapers, magazines, reviews, guides, trade and scholarly articles. You might find reference to this content on Google, but you don’t have full access. With Badgerlink they may also be able to save money on their own subscriptions to these materials with the access provided to all residents.

Tell us the benefits you’ve found to statewide availability of an online resources library like BadgerLink.

One campus librarian said “BadgerLink provides a foundation for equity of access.” Students all have access to a basic collection, regardless of their personal or academic focus or location. BadgerLink provides that fundamental material that augments the more specific resources needed in each discipline. Students in engineering, for example, may need specific content for most of their courses, but they may also want or need general resources in other subject areas to support unique research or for personal growth and knowledge. Badgerlink can provide a little of everything and the campus can work on fleshing out what a student needs to graduate and move forward into their career. An additional benefit for campuses is that BadgerLink resources can also help campus staff with their efforts around community outreach and partnerships - marrying the campus staff knowledge with the Badgerlink content.

Tell us the BadgerLink resources you’ve found yourself using more often during the pandemic.

When the pandemic first hit, everyone really appreciated the extended access to resources - opening the content immediately helped the quick move to classes online. It was during the pandemic that we noticed the Computer & Applied Sciences Complete was added to the Badgerlink collection. We weren’t sure when that actually occurred, but that and the extended content, was a part of our outreach to students and faculty. Newspaper Archive (temporary access in Summer 2020) and TeachingBooks were two other resources campuses called out to me over the last few months.

Knowing what you know about libraries, educational institutions, and/or non-profits, is there a BadgerLink resource or something about BadgerLink that gets you excited to share this resource collection with colleagues, compared to other resources?

The EBSCO suite is the key collection that academic librarians need to be aware of. It serves students at different levels well and can be very useful after they graduate. It’s also a suite of resources that are used across higher education.

Which BadgerLink resources do you use in your professional development?

As a librarian, I tend to exercise my knowledge of how systems work and the organization of information. I generally start with a discovery platform or even Google/Google Scholar. Then utilize the linking software to get into the full text content that may be in Badgerlink. Once I know where a title is held, I will often go directly to that database.

Which BadgerLink resources do you use in your library/classroom?

EBSCO is the key one. We consider Academic Search Premier the most important Badgerlink resource for the campuses. You could find a couple articles on any topic in it, so it’s a very useful, well-rounded, general collection. Business Source Premier would be the next one. Most of our campuses are able to upgrade to the Complete level of these resources affordably because of the BadgerLink investment.

Which BadgerLink resources do you use outside of your professional life?

I use MasterFILE Complete a lot for magazines like the Atlantic, New Yorker, Chronicle of Higher Education, Consumer Reports, those kinds of publications.

I would like to reiterate how appreciative all the UW campuses are of BadgerLink and the support DPI provides for BadgerLink. It means a lot to our work. These resources are critical for us to support students and faculty. When we talk to administration, we always mention how much harder our situation would be, especially with budget cuts, without the foundation of BadgerLink resources.


Thank you for sharing your BadgerLink story with us, Julie!

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