Our First Networking Attempt
Part three of a series of posts chronicling our Library’s progress in technology over the past 25 years of my employment…..
Many of today’s librarians have never experienced the joys of finding magazine articles using paper copies of Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. I, for one, do not miss these indexes that came out monthly and were then bound into annual volumes. When InfoTrac Indexing came out on CD-ROMs, I think our staff thought it was the most high-tech tool they had ever seen! In order to access the information, we needed our first computer network and I wrote a grant to fund it. It ran on a basic Novell system and we had three CD-ROM towers with six CD drives in each tower. Gale (InfoTrac’s publisher) sent out new CDs each month to update the information. Each new set of discs had to be loaded in a particular order and then given the command to run. It was always a time consuming process to update Business, Health, and Infotrac Gold at the same time. Once they were up and running, patrons could view the citations or abstracts on the public computers (all three of them) and then, using a code printed at the end of each citation, go over to the microfilm storage and pull the reel of film that contained the images of the original article. We had a microfilm reader/printer which was used to view and print the final product.
Our librarians and patrons used this process for almost a decade. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that finding magazine and journal articles went totally online with the majority of articles in full-text format. Today, when I tell our patrons about the Access My Library app for the iPhone, I marvel at how far we’ve come and wonder what we ever did with those darn CD-ROM towers.