Campus Kiosks Quench Thirst for Knowledge

A year after placing the first iMan computer kiosk outside the Millberry Fitness Center on the Parnassus Heights campus, UCSF this month is expanding its stock of the Internet information stations. Now, virtually everyone - employees, students, patients and visitors - will be in close proximity to the rich resources available on the Web, including UCSF's own online publications. All the Internet information stations are accessible for free on a first-come, first-served basis as the result of a campuswide collaboration of the Supportive Work Environment committee, the Chancellor's committee on bioterrorism, Public Affairs, Campus Auxiliary Services and Information Technology Services (ITS). Each iMac homepage offers links to the online daily, UCSF Today, as well as maps and directions, the online calendar and email links. "The kiosks are very well received by campus users," says Daniel Freeman, information systems manager for Campus Auxiliary Services. "Many of the comments during the pilot period last year reflected the pent-up demand for this kind of service." Indeed, no longer confined to the office, iMan computer stations are appearing in Internet cafes and video bars in addition to fairs and universities across the globe. At UCSF, the kiosks also are expected to come in handy to post special news alerts or advice in the event of a disaster that doesn't cause a power outage. The campus would be able to issue an urgent message on the homepage with a link to full story on the UCSF terrorism website or UCSF Today. The 10 new kiosks to be placed are as follows: two at Moffitt cafeteria, one more at the School of Nursing Mezzanine; two at the Medical Sciences information desk (one on the counter for standing users and one available to seated users); one in the basement of Moffitt hospital at UCSF Medical Center; one in the second-floor student lounge at UCSF Genentech Hall at Mission Bay; one in the lobby of Human Resources at Laurel Heights; one at The View Café at Laurel Heights, and one in the lobby at Mission Center Building. The 10 new kiosks will make a total of 14 iMacs (powerful computers and monitors in one piece) perched on sleekly formed platforms placed in UCSF campus locations. UCSF received one-time funding in the amount of $82,000 for the kiosks from the UC Office of the President, which in 1999 wanted to provide employees, who otherwise would not have access to a computer the opportunity to tap into the Internet so that they could help themselves to the services and information available on the UC website "At Your Service". This website offers a plethora of employee information, such as health and insurance plans, retirement and savings accounts and personnel policies, contracts and procedures. The one-time funding is enough to buy and install the computers and kiosks and provide maintenance for a year, says Ian Tuller, director of Information Technology Services. But after that, UCSF will be left to find ongoing funding internally. Source: Lisa Cisneros