A vital part of an adult student's college experience involves learning how to conduct research.

In an ongoing series, Jule Kind, Director of Off Campus Library Services (OCLS), shares about one of these services: subscription-based databases.  OCLS functions within Jackson Library to provide a variety of research tools for onsite and online students in the College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS).

Kristian_Berge_working_1024x551One student recalls,

I remember being very overwhelmed writing my first research paper.  I had no idea where to even begin my research or how to get information.  It wasn’t until later that year I was taught the ins and outs of how to use the database systems and the wave of terror and anxiety involved in writing papers was substantially lessened.  I have no qualms about finding reliable sources thanks to the resources given by OCLS.


The library subscribes to many databases representing the variety of disciplines from which the university provides curriculum. These all come from an array of vendors representing large database companies (e.g. EBSCO) and also journal publishers (e.g. Francis Taylor). Part of our annual lease agreements with these vendors is that we will provide a secure way for only our current students and faculty to have access to the databases.

Improved Accessibility

For years this access was limited to an assigned Library Access Number (LAN). With the introduction of the newly designed IWU portal, we were able to implement the capability of logging in via a user’s university sign on credentials (username and password). Currently we offer both options. Users do not have to fill in both login options, but they can choose the one that is most convenient for them.

In the past, faculty did not automatically receive their LAN and had to request them. This new option gives faculty a way to login without knowing their LAN.  OCLS will be happy to provide the LAN upon request just as we have always done.  To contact an OCLS librarian, please email [email protected].

Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages your students share with you about using subscription-based databases available through OCLS?  Please leave a comment below.

Jule Kind / Director, Off Campus Library Services

OCLS Series Posts

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