Services & Policies - Spring 1995

CD-ROM Lab Expanded And Improved

The CD-ROM lab in the Weinberg Memorial Library has undergone dramatic improvements within the last month. Not only has the physical location of the lab changed, but the appearance of the menu library patrons first see has been updated. All of these changes merely reflect the most important difference in the CD-ROM network; the software and hardware that run the CD-ROM network have been upgraded to newer, faster products.
As of January, the heart of the CD-ROM network is Logicraft's LS4500 CD server. The new server has a 486 processor with 32 megabytes of RANI. Hanging off this server are 14 double-spin CD-ROM drives that hold the various CD titles users are familiar with from the old system. Supplementing these optical drives is a tower of seven SCSI hard disks, each with a capacity of 1.6 gigabytes.
What does this mean? The response time on the CD products is vastly improved. The most popular indexes have been transferred to the faster, roomier hard drives. There is now room for new titles to be added to the network. Typically, these are products that were accessed only on stand-alone CD-ROM workstations, limited to one user at a time.
With all this added horsepower, more workstations have been added to the network. To make room for these added machines, the CD-ROM lab itself has been moved to the formerCD-Rom StationIndex/Abstracts area.Work for this move began in December. The indexes and abstracts have been moved to the end of the Reference Stacks with some science and medical indexes moved to the third floor Science Reference Shelves.
In this new area, counters line the walls. Work stations are spaced so there is ample work area in between for study materials or for added workstations in the future. A printer is centrally located, with easy access for removing printed searches. CD-ROM searches arc now faster and more convenient than ever for library users. But the final phase of the upgrade will make using the library easier stilt. The new software and hardware allows for users to connect to the CD-ROM network from outside the Library's walls. Over the next few months, access will be phased in, so that faculty members will be able to connect from their offices, PC labs will have workstations that can connect to the Library, and campus VAX users will be able to connect from a dial-up or terminal session on the VAX.
With all these changes, the Library has taken a step forward in the challenging job of providing information to students, faculty and staff. This doesn't mean there is less studying and research to do; what it does mean is that the new tools available will help us get this work done far more efficiently.
Eric Snyder
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition