Nyselius Library opens computer laboratory


An old storage room on the bottom floor of Nyselius Library has been converted into a student computer laboratory, equipped with 25 state-of-the-art computers that have the latest software, access to the Internet through the University's fiber optic network and e-mail.

"We're really excited about this," said James Estrada, University librarian. "The primary feature of the lab is access. By bringing computers to the library, we can support all students in their scholarly pursuits and, especially, the students who live nearby in the Kostka and Claver residence halls. Another exciting aspect of this is that we're setting the stage now to provide 24-hour access at a later date."

The 1,000 square foot lab, which opened Feb. 5 and is located downstairs at the opposite end of the library from the Media Dept., has 16 Intel-based personal computers and eight MacOS personal computers that have 32 megabytes of random access memory, and two Hewlett Packard Laserjet printers that print 24 pages per minute. An additional Intel-based computer and projection equipment are utilized by librarians for the library instruction program.

The computers are loaded with Microsoft Office 97, which includes software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, and 15-inch color monitors rest on spacious desk tops located in custom-designed work stations. A specially made work station for the physically disabled is located nearest to the lab's entrance. To maximize the amount of space on the 44-inch by 36-inch desktops, the computers' processors - the guts of the computers - are located under the desktops and several inches off the floor, and the serpentine wiring is arranged out of sight of the computer user.

The lab is open 104 hours a week and closes a half hour prior to the closing of the library. It is staffed by members of Academic Computing.

The computer lab will complement a wide range of technology and electronic resources already in the library. The library provides online access to the full text of many journals as well as to resources on the Internet and the World Wide Web. The library also has a CD-ROM local area network that provides access for several simultaneous users to over 17 major databases. In addition, the library has an automated inventory system and online catalog which provides the author, title, subject and keyword access to all its books, journals and audio-visual materials.

Other electronic resources include computer terminals on the upper and lower levels of the library to access services connected to the University's mainframe computer. Students with computer accounts may also access e-mail, vaxnotes and the Internet.

The planning team which collaborated to create the computer lab included Michael Cusato, design architect; James Estrada, University librarian and executive director of academic computing; Joan Overfield, associate University librarian; Nicholas Papillo, director of purchasing; MaryJac Reed, director of academic computing; Richard Taylor, assistant vice president for administration; and Dr. Robert Wall, academic vice president.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 1, 1998