Medical library initiates on-line catalog

By John McMahon

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A new computer system that combines library cataloging with the ability to access the World Wide Web officially came on-line yesterday at the Arizona Health Sciences Library in the UA University Medical Center.

The system, known as ALOE (Arizona Health Sciences Library OnlinE), was demonstrated yesterday after a dedication ceremony at UMC. ALOE, whose name was chosen through a contest the library held in the spring, was established through funds specifically set aside for the project by the state Legislature.

"This library is the only academic health sciences library in the state," said library director Rachael K. Anderson. "That means we have a big responsibility to health providers."

Since 1993, Anderson and her staff have been researching prospective software packages and inviting firms from around the country to bid on the new system. According to Anderson, the "costs were originally estimated at about $400,000, but the library('s new system) came in somewhat below that amount."

Early in the spring of 1995, the library's steering committee decided to purchase the new system from Sirsi Co., and began putting up posters to announce the contest to name the system.

The library received over 200 entries, Anderson said, ranging from the bizarre and humorous to acronyms and words in Native American and Spanish languages. The entry for ALOE was received anonymously, reference librarian Hope Balcerzak explained, and all efforts by the library to discover its creator were unsuccessful.

Along with the yesterday's dedication, prizes were given to the top contenders in the contest, and the system was demonstrated to the public.

According to Balcerzak, the main users of this system will be students in the medical school, nursing school, the College of Pharmacy and other health-related programs.

The system also will be integrated with the circulation functions of the front desk, and will offer students the ability to see what is checked out currently under their names, as the main library's SABIO system does. Students can also leave reference questions on the system, and a reference librarian will answer them through e-mail.

"Just like when people say SABIO on campus and everyone understands what is being referred to, we want ALOE to be the same," Anderson said.

The system is now available for use 24 hours a day at the Arizona Health Sciences Library.

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