Multimedia Collections at SFASU Offer Tangible Benefits to Faculty and Students

The library at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) is developing innovative multimedia collections—including video, audio, images, and eportfolios—that serve the needs of faculty, students, and University Centers through increased discoverability and accessibility. The National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops (NCPC) at SFASU is now well represented in the repository ScholarWorks @ SFA with extensive collections including news, video, audio, and specimen collections that all researchers can access. In addition, senior student eportfolios in the interior design program offer videos of senior design exhibits and interviews, positioning students well for future jobs in the field. These collections in the IR support university goals of retaining high-quality faculty by attending to their evolving needs, as well as supporting student curricular success.

Dillon Wackerman, Head of the Center for Digital Scholarship, reveals how he spied hundreds of glass specimen jars on shelves when visiting the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops. These turned out to be important research that the members of NCPC had collected for their studies. The Center for Digital Scholarship’s mission to capture all academic output, not just articles, inspired him to offer the services of the IR in photographing and publishing this material, to the delight of the NCPC. He was able to post the name of the specimen, location, patent number, and cross-reference this with any article citations. Dillon’s vision for turning this material into an accessible scholarly collection invigorated the NCPC, and they now want to expand with a prestigious journal in the IR. Their dean of Forestry, who was very impressed with the collections, is now the provost and continues to support the IR’s excellent work across campus.

Every year senior interior design students mount physical exhibits of their capstone design projects. Finally, there is a way for this academic output to be captured and offered to prospective employers and graduate schools. The library is able to take videos of the exhibits as well as interviews and artistic statements and present durable eportfolios for the students to use. These eportfolios are now a mandatory part of the curriculum, a great boon to the instructors.

There are also plans to publish filmed presentations of student travel to former East Germany through a German language class. All these collections speak to Dillon’s vision of the IR as a place for all scholarly output of Stephen F. Austin State University — not the least of which are multimedia files previously unavailable to the wider research community.