In the virtual home university

How should you study in times of shutdown? It is self-explanatory that the corona crisis presents researchers and students with special challenges. In the summer semester 2020 the universities are inevitably transformed into laboratories of alternative forms of teaching, learning and research.

And even those who are self-educated must do so go other ways. Because the gates to the analogue holdings of both universities and public libraries are largely closed worldwide.

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

What libraries now offer

Many universities, publishers and libraries are digitally providing their literature, music and film offerings in the course of the corona crisis free disposal. Citizens in the respective federal states have unlimited access to the offers of some city and state libraries for a while.

For example, e-books, film and music streaming, databases and e-learning Offers from Berlin's public libraries can be used free of charge for three months. This was announced recently by the Association of Berlin Public Libraries (VÖBB).

How Berlin's Public Libraries are Accessible

“Right now people need in Berlin to support their libraries, whether for education or for entertainment, “said cultural senator Klaus Lederer (Die Linke).

The ID cards for the association of public libraries can be booked online for free. The libraries are still in analog form until at least 19. April 2020 closed.

Our reports on the corona situation at the universities

  • A look into the digital workshops of the Berlin universities: Expeditions into uncharted territory
  • Interview with the State Secretary of Science: ” We do not want to speak of the semester being canceled “
  • Berlin universities in emergency mode: How the Senate supports digitization and what universities are doing
  • Worries of the free lecturers: Uncertain times for lecturers
  • Students in financial need: An aid fund if jobs are lost and the student aid scheme is no longer sufficient
  • Corona slows astronomy and space travel: missions stopped, operation of the ISS continues
  • Consequences of the pandemic for conferences: Home office instead of congress hall

Similar it looks 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 opportunity to purchase electronic media directly.

This is what science publishers do

Even large journals, databases and scientific publishers such as Nomos, Cambridge University Press and The Scientific World Journal are increasingly dropping their payment barriers or making their range of knowledge available at low prices.

State and university libraries – and thus students – should temporarily have unlimited access to the digital content of various publishers. Because of the current situation, Cambridge University Press has initiated a “Corona Virus free access collection”.

And the Nomos publishing house reports that all libraries are unbureaucratic and short-term with a two-week activation of all scientific content of the Nomos- and Tectum eLibraries are to be supported free of charge. The activation will take place immediately and can be requested via email.

One billion data records

The Free University of Berlin meanwhile makes it clear on its website that Regardless of the current restrictions on use by the corona pandemic, about a billion data records – books, journal articles, and newspaper articles – would be regularly available to its members via the Primo library portal.

The offer of licensed E -Resources are not only aimed at university members, but also partly 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 currently participate, also offers a constantly updated overview of databases activated by Corona. And the professional association for information libraries has meanwhile also created an overview page with offers from publishers and libraries.

While analogue studies are currently paused – and probably until well into the summer semester – digital research has hardly any limits set. Christoph David Piorkowski