PEW GIFT FUNDS NETWORKING AT HOMEWOOD Work will begin this summer to complete a high-speed data transmission network on the Homewood campus and link it to a significantly upgraded information system at Eisenhower Library. The project, supported by a $1.9 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, will make the library's resources-- increasingly available in electronic form--more widely accessible to faculty and students, said Theodore O. Poehler, vice provost for research. It will also make possible any number of other research and teaching applications, such as interactive databases, multimedia instruction and other uses not yet anticipated, Dr. Poehler said. "It will give us a fairly high capacity network all over this campus, more or less going to every desktop or lab bench and putting fiber optic lines to every building," Dr. Poehler said. Library director Scott Bennett said the project also will remake Eisenhower Library's information system. Within the library building, a changeover from terminals to PCs will allow readers to find and use information in ways that are just not possible with existing equipment, Dr. Bennett said. The library also will switch to software that will provide a new, more easily used graphical interface and support more robust network connections with readers everywhere. "Our first objective is to increase utility for readers," Dr. Bennett said. "Our second is to improve our own productivity [in areas such as cataloging, and the third is to reduce costs." The campus networking portion of the project is expected to be substantially finished in about a year, Dr. Poehler said. Eisenhower Library staff are now studying alternatives for new software and hardware, and it is not yet clear when they will be selected and installed, Dr. Bennett said. But, he said, users will begin to see significant improvements in access to an array of information resources as personal computers replace terminals on A- through D-levels this fall. About half of major Homewood campus buildings currently have no connections to the fiber optic network; most buildings that are hooked up have insufficient connections within the building to accommodate all the needs of faculty, staff and students. Under a plan drafted by Homewood Academic Computing, Dr. Poehler said, new wiring will be provided for an estimated 3,600 of the 5,600 labs, offices or student stations on the campus. Interbuilding connections to 12 buildings will be upgraded from the current maximum capacity of 10 megabits per second to 100 or more megabits per second. The plan will be reviewed soon by the interdivisional Information Systems Coordinating Council, Dr. Poehler said.
Go to Gazette Homepage