Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Libraries of the Future ... Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Expands On-Ramps to Its Information Highway

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Libraries of the Future ... Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Expands On-Ramps to Its Information Highway

Article excerpt

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is engaged in four new projects to expand public access to its materials and resources and those of the Carnegie Museums as well as the resources of other institutions in the Pittsburgh area and around the world.

The Three Rivers Free-Net, when it goes online this year, will provide access to a wide array of information pertinent to Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. It will contain locally generated databases with connections to local state, and federal information; community agencies and referral sources; medical and health care information; local bus and train schedules; entertainment; and links to schools and educational resources. The databases will be maintained by the CLP, local governments, community organizations, and volunteers.

Three Rivers Free-Net

The Free-Net will be available through the Internet via dial-up from homes, schools, and offices throughout the Pittsburgh area, at online public access workstations located in each of CLP's nineteen branches, and at other public libraries throughout Allegheny County.

It will provide selected access to Internet resources and functionality including e-mail, file transfer protocol, World-Wide Web, and telnet capability. The Free-Net expects to initially support fifty dial-in users and fifty network users simultaneously, and CLP expects to issue about 20,000 e-mail accounts.

The Three Rivers Free-Net is a joint project of the CLP and the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. The project was funded by a LSCA grant for the Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania.

Allegany County Librarians

Electronic Information Network As a replacement to its current automated system, CLP is working with forty other public libraries in Allegheny County to implement an electronic information network that will integrate all of the libraries in one large system and union catalog.

The Allegheny County Libraries Electronic Information Network will consist of approximately 1.5 million bibliographic records and 3 million items. High-speed lines will connect personal computer workstations in each library to the network hub.

Project participants are planning for deployment of 1,100 486-PCs throughout the county for public and staff access, completely replacing the VT-100 dumb terminals currently in use.

The network will deliver information from the union catalog and locally mounted databases as well as full-color images, maps, graphs, and charts. A graphical user interface (GUI) client on each PC will enable patrons to search and display, print, download to a floppy, or e-mail the information.

As part of a National Telecommunications and Information Administration grant totalling $551,000, Carnegie Library will participate in another joint project with CommonKnowledge: Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, to create a database of photographic images from CLP's Pennsylvania Department that, in turn, will become available via the WWW on the Internet. The Pennsylvania Department houses an extensive Pennsylvania history collection and a photographic library of over 57,000 negatives and prints. The library's connection to the Internet will ultimately be available via cable connection running Ethernet at a line speed of ten times the current speed.

NTIA for Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History also received a NTIA grant to establish connections to the Internet for eight natural history museums across the country. Carnegie Museum of Natural History and CLP are working closely to increase the capacity and line speed to the Internet that the library currently maintains to provide better access without duplicating services.

"The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is pleased to be a part of this consortium. These electronic bridges among organizations continue to strengthen our community by making more information accessible to more people," said Robert B. …

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