Coleman tries new system

Coleman Library is attempting to implement a new system that would allow current students and faculty remote access to the library’s databases.

Easy Proxy was purchased by the library system last spring, and when complemented, will only require that students enter a number listed on their school identification card to perform searches.

“All it would involve is clicking on the link to the database. And it will automatically bring up a window that asks for your user name or library number,” said Brenda Wright, associate university librarian for reference and distance learning.

Students and faculty members are currently able to search the library’s collection via remote, but it requires the outside computer to be reconfigured.

Easy Proxy’s debut has been delayed several times, mostly for technical reasons. Initially, Easy Proxy was to run on FAMU’s server, but kept “crashing” for unknown reasons. The library then tried to have Easy Proxy run on the Florida Center for Library Automation’s server, but then ran into problems with licensing. Wright said the problems of hosting Easy Proxy and licensing have been taken care of and tests are scheduled for this summer. The system should be operational by Fall 2004.

According to Jean Adams, systems librarian, FAMU’s databases should be on FCLA’s server by the end of the month. Since FCLA is hosting Easy Proxy, Adams is not sure what problems FCLA will have with the system or how those problems will be resolved.

“As soon as they gets all the software installed…[FCLA] is going to contact me and let me know what he needs for me to do from my end,” Adams said.

So far, no problems have been reported regarding Easy Proxy, but Wright said due to other projects, Fall 2004 is realistic.

Wright was unable to say how many students and faculty members use the remote access now, but she counsels at least one person a week on how to configure their computer, solve complications with certain versions of Internet Explorer, AOL or other technical aspects on how to access the databases remotely.

“Easy Proxy will cut out all of this; you won’t have to worry about what version of the Internet you have, what browser you have, who your Internet Service Provider is. FCLA will do all the setting up and all the trouble shooting and all the off-campus users will be responsible for is making sure their card is activated,” Wright said.

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