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College wants Web system campuswide

Published By: The Wheaton Sun
Viewed: 6497

January 16, 2009 - The Wheaton Sun
By Ron Pazola

Four years ago, the Wheaton College Library converted to a new computer system that allowed users to access information more quickly, efficiently and extensively.

The system, known as WebGUI, changed how the Internet was used and provided almost everything the library staff needed to make their library state-of-the-art with a practically virtual library online, college officials said. With the system, people can create calendars, forums, lists of frequently asked questions, and request trackers that coordinate tasks and manage requests.

Now officials want to use a similar system that would extend to the entire college.

"We're trying to decide what product we want to use for that," said Les Barker, senior Web designer for the college's marketing communications department. "We still don't know if we will use WebGUI or some other product."

Barker hopes the college will make a decision by the end of 2009. Once a decision is made, it will take two years to implement the system, Barker said.

"The benefits of a new content management system would be tremendous, far reaching and transformational," he said. "The system would allow people to access multiple data banks simultaneously. It would be dynamic, not static."

For example, administrators could tap into a list of professors, alumni could update pertinent information and employees could access their accounts in ways they couldn't before.

If officials should decide to use WebGUI campuswide, they can look to their library -- one of the largest liberal arts libraries in Illinois -- for its application.

"The Wheaton College Library was able to build its Web site with WebGUI," said Kristi McCombs, director of training for Plain Black, the Wisconsin-based company that provides WebGUI. "Through our one-stop shop system, users can perform specific functions on the Web that allow them to explore multiple sites. Staff can create a library of videos or customize their data."

Plain Black supplies WebGUI for its clients at no charge, but makes its money through training, support, development and design.

"Library users can use a customized search application on the library's home page to search for books and articles, as well as access frequently used databases that can be searched simultaneously," said Terry Huttenlock, head of library systems.

Head reference librarian Gregory Morrison agreed. "The system allows for more flexibility," he said.

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