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pacing the void

By Jennifer Sterba
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 25, 1997

IIF's future previewed at Main Library


Charles C. Labenz
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Six Information Commons prototype computers were installed in the Main Library in August 1996. They are part of new learning project which will be part of the proposed Integrated Instructional Facility. The new computers offer multimedia publishing capabilities.

UA Students can warp photos and job search with the aid of the new Information Commons prototypes in the Main Library.

"It's the first step towards the information commons that will be part of the IIF (Integrated Instructional Facility)," said Micaela Morales, assistant librarian for the Main Library. The IIF, still in the proposal stage, will house the Freshman First-Year Center in the future.

The six prototypes in the reference section of the library, part of the New Learning Technologies Project, are equipped with several multimedia software packages:

  • Netscape Gold 3.0: a browser including editing and World Wide Web publishing capabilities

  • HotDog Web Editor: an application for creating HTML documents for publishing on the Web

  • Adobe Photoshop 3.0: a graphics program to create original artwork and edit digital photographs

  • MapEdit: a graphical editor for Web image maps

  • HP scanner and scanning software: for converting photographs into digital images

  • One zip drive for saving large multimedia files.

The project is a joint effort between the University of Arizona Library and the Faculty Development Partnership.

Initial funding came from $940,000 awarded by the Arizona Legislature to be divided mostly between the five members of the faculty partnership, said Karen Williams, social sciences team leader at the library.

The partnership includes the Center for Computing and Information Technology, the Teaching Center, the Triestman Center, Video Services and the library.

"The goal is to help faculty incorporate new technology into their curriculum and instruction," Morales said.

Faculty and librarians are assigning students projects that require multimedia software, said Erika Williams, assistant librarian at the Main Library.

The prototypes were installed in the library in August 1996 to see how students would use the software and collaborate on class assignments, Morales added.

"Anybody can use it," Erika Williams said. "We're trying to get people to work on group projects."

"I've been using the Internet to look up different topics for my classes," said Krista Sparks, an undeclared freshman.

Sparks started using the information commons last week for her Spanish homework and said it is easy and self-explanatory. Sparks said she learned how to use the computers by trial and error.

"I just saw it here, and I thought I'd play with it," said Jason Raster, a management information systems junior. Raster was using Adobe Photoshop.

Thierno Sow, an alumnus who graduated in 1996 with a degree in mineral economics, was using the prototypes to search for a job. Sow said he has browsed newspapers on the Internet for job advertisements.

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