Technology Event Showcases Library System

Technology Event Showcases Library System

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A preview of the new World Wide Web-based Boston College Libraries catalogue system and a law professor's demonstration of multimedia technology were among the highlights of Faculty Technology Day held May 17.

Sponsored by the Office of the Academic Vice President, the event offers faculty an opportunity to see how colleagues use technology in the classroom and learn about software packages, protocols, online resources and other innovations.

After a welcoming session in Gasson 100, which included remarks by University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky and presentations by two faculty members and a librarian, classes and demonstrations were held in O'Neill Library and other locations on Middle Campus.

One workshop offered an early peek at the new Web-based system Boston College Libraries plan to roll out in early June to replace Quest, which has been in use since 1989. Tentatively named "Quest2," its features include the ability to simultaneously search multiple databases and integration with BC's Agora system, allowing unhindered access to numerous online resources.

Through Quest2, users also will be able to create their own profiles with customized search preferences and search commands.

"It brings a whole new level of information-seeking power to students, faculty and others doing research," said Yavarkovsky.

Library representatives said that once the new system is fully tested, users will be invited to try it out and offer their appraisal.
Educational Technology Specialist/Legal Reference Librarian John Nann leads a workshop in Gasson Hall during the May 17 Faculty Technology Day.

"It's a work in progress," said Head Librarian for Reference and Instructional Services Edward Tallent. "We have lots of ideas of how things should be arranged, but that might not be accurate. We want to put as much capability as possible in the users' hands."

BC Libraries is also offering a new initiative to faculty known as the "Electronic Athenaeum," which will provide services and assistance in developing electronic journals and reference collections, electronic publishing, a virtual data center, scholarly computing and instructional media.

At the concluding luncheon, keynote speaker Prof. Alfred C. Yen (Law) described how he uses technology in his course on copyright law to augment traditional teaching techniques and enhance students' understanding of legal issues.

Using a laptop computer, a projector and a movie screen, he discussed the case of a popular rap group, 2 Live Crew, who were sued over their use of lyrics and a melody written by the late Roy Orbison in a recording of their own. The case, which eventually reached the Supreme Court and ended in a victory for 2 Live Crew, centered on the question of "fair use" of copyrighted material, Yen said.

The "old-fashioned way" of teaching the case, he said, would have been to assign students to read the facts, understand the various arguments and be prepared to discuss them in class. Those tasks are still required, Yen said, but the technology allows him to display his lecture notes while integrating the music.

Yen was also able to display several other audio and video samples simply by opening the files and letting them run, without ever having to set up a VCR or tape recorder.

Interviewed later, Yen noted that he can make the lecture available to his students through the BC Law network, which they can access from their own computers at home. "I think it's more fun for the students this way," said Yen. "They become more interested when the subject matter is something they can relate to."

Other presenters showed how they utilize technological resources for teaching or research. Assoc. Prof. Alec Peck (LSOE) explained voice recognition software, Assoc. Prof. Clare O'Connor (Biology) demonstrated PowerPoint, and Educational Technology Specialist/Legal Reference Librarian John Nann discussed File Transfer Protocol.


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