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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Library remodeled, IPTV upgraded

Published: September 1, 2006
Section: News

The beginning of the semester marked the completion of a series of policy changes, technology enhancements, and refurbishments in the Goldfarb Library and across campus, planned by Library and Technology Services (LTS).
Weve been calling it design on a dime, said Chief Librarian Susan Wawrszazek of the librarys physical alterations. She said the library design modifications included a new color scheme of the librarys interior and rearranging the librarys furniture to help welcome incoming and returning students.
One of the main changes, Wawrszazek added, was the integration of the UNet Help Desk to a position within the Library building. When you walk in the door, the first thing youre going to see is the info point, to go ask any question whatsoever, she said. We wanted to make it really convenient to get to all the services you might need at any one time.
Wawrszazek also mentioned the addition of a self-check out system, which she believes will be delivered Wednesday and operational within a week. Further changes in Goldfarb include the addition of a quiet study area on Farbers third floor, which will supplement study areas on Farbers second floor.
The Library has also given students open access to its movie selection, which holds over 3,000 VHS tapes and DVDs. Students can now rent five movies at a time and can keep them for a period of one week.
It is now a browsing collection, open to the public, so long as it isnt reserved, Wawrszazek explained. They were always there, but they were always behind the desk I feel that these resources should be available to the community.
[The changes] certainly give it a more contemporary, modern feel, said Bernard Herman 08. It doesnt make the library seem like such a dry, dusty place.
Herman added that because a place like Brandeis cant have the environment of Old Ivy. It would be best going for a feel of modernity and newness, such as the Village or the Shapiro Campus Center. These renovations run along with just what Brandeis should be doing.
Leor Galil 08, a Goldfarb Library student employee, said he approved of the cosmetic changes. It's different, it's bright, and it's certainly friendlier than whatever color was there before.
Galil also praised LTS for adjusting the movie rental policies. The new checkout system for movies is much more convenient for students and really allows them to go through the titles and get their hands on the movies rather than having no ability to really search it out themselves.
Its a beautiful workspace, said Anne Livermore, the Student Services Manager for LTS. Weve got reference help, loans and returns, the video collection, computer help, scanning, iMovies, Photoshop. It was always available to students but it just seems much more open when its out.
LTS has finished adjustments for students outside of the library, as well, including an upgrade of
WebCT Vista. Essentially what we did was to upgrade the version of Vista that we were running and give it a completely new infrastructure [to] create a much more stable environment, said Wawrszazek.
In addition to the WebCT upgrade, LTS announced the development of a new downloadable web browser toolbar for Firefox, which connects directly to the Librarys LOUIS catalogs and e-journal list. The plug-in, according to LTSs web site, is not available for Internet Explorer or Apple Safari.
Furthermore, LTS has announced the continuation of its IPTV services as an alternative to the standard cable system, according to Chief Technical Officer Anna Tomecka. The service, which allows students to watch basic channels on their computers via a Java applet, will double from four channels to eight, Tomecka added.
Some people really love IPTV, and some really dont, said Tomecka. Everybody, however, decided the big detractor was the lack of channels, so we doubled it.
The channel selection has varied in the past from Comedy Central to ESPN to Cartoon Network, Tomecka says, but has failed to maintain a fixed lineup due to a lack of communication with the student body.
Reaching out to students has been a problem, Tomecka said. We dont get a lot of success through surveys, she remarked, adding that less than 100 students responded to the IPTV survey posted online last semester. Tomecka explained that IPTVs channel selection will remain at four channels until October at least, when meetings with the Student Union and University-wide votes could be held.
We could have a voting system online, [or] we could even consider changing the lineup before any major sporting event, said Tomecka. But we need rules, and we need to partner with the students to come up with the rules.
Students responses about IPTV have varied. Id watch it every once in awhile, said Michael Werner, 08.
Max Cooper 08, on the other hand, was enthusiastic: I love IPTV, he said. I watch Cartoon Network every night. He suggested that LTS get the YES NetworkI want to watch the Yankees.
These developments, Wawrszazek explained, are to be configured in a way thats really welcoming to students and faculty and give access to a variety of resources and services.
Livermore is satisfied with the Librarys innovations. Were catching a lot of foot traffic as well as phone traffic, she said. I think its good for our customers as well as for us.