Why should a university have a library?

Libraries make their offers freely accessible : In the virtual home university

How should one study in times of shutdown? It goes without saying that the corona crisis poses special challenges for researchers and students. In the 2020 summer semester, the universities will inevitably be transformed into laboratories for alternative forms of teaching, learning and research.

And even those who are self-taught have to go other ways. Because the gates to the analog holdings of both universities and public libraries are largely closed worldwide.

What options does the virtual home university offer? A brief overview.

What libraries are offering now

Many universities, publishers and libraries are making their literature, music and film offerings available digitally in the wake of the corona crisis. The citizens of the respective federal states have unlimited access to the offers of some city and state libraries for a period of time.

For example, e-books, film and music streaming, databases and e-learning offers from Berlin's public libraries can be used without barriers and free of charge for three months. This was recently announced by the Association of Berlin Public Libraries (VÖBB).

The public libraries in Berlin are accessible

"Right now people in Berlin need the support of their libraries, whether for education or entertainment," said Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer (Die Linke).

The ID cards for the association of public libraries can be booked online free of charge. In the same way, the libraries will be closed at least until April 19, 2020.

Our reports on the corona situation at universities

The situation is similar in other cities and countries. The Hamburg State and University Library, for example, wants to significantly expand its digital offering.

With the so-called “Virtual Walk-in” service, all Hamburg residents - even without a library card - have the temporary opportunity to obtain electronic media directly.

Science publishers do that

Large magazines, databases and scientific publishers such as Nomos, Cambridge University Press and The Scientific World Journal are also increasingly dropping their payment barriers or making their range of knowledge available at low cost.

State and university libraries - and thus students - should temporarily have unlimited access to the digital content of various publishers. Cambridge University Press has initiated a "Coronavirus free access collection" due to the current situation.

And Nomos-Verlag reports that all libraries should be supported unbureaucratically and at short notice with a two-week activation of all scientific content in the Nomos and Tectum eLibraries free of charge. The activation will take place immediately and can be requested via e-mail.

One billion records

Meanwhile, the Free University of Berlin makes it clear on its website that, regardless of the current usage restrictions caused by the corona pandemic, around a billion data records - books, magazine articles and newspaper articles - are regularly available via the Primo library portal.

The range of licensed e-resources, which has been expanded by many publishers, is not only aimed at university members, but also in parts at the general public.

The FU therefore has two continuously updated lists on its website with digital offers that are freely available during the shutdown. The database information system (DBIS), in which 323 scientific libraries are currently participating, also offers a constantly updated overview of databases that have been activated due to corona. And the information library professional association has now also created an overview page with offers from publishers and libraries.

While the analog course is currently paused - and that will probably continue well into the summer semester - there are hardly any limits to digital research. Christoph David Piorkowski

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