Campus Wi-Fi and database updates to improve student life

Campus+Wi-Fi+and+database+updates+to+improve+student+life

The Beacon/Gabby Glinski

Alyssa Mursch, News Editor

A greater number of databases that have been made more easily accessible paired with faster Wi-Fi and other student-friendly updates are up and running after a productive summer from the IT Department and Farley Library staff.

What’s New

Electronic Resources Librarian Heather Bowman explained the benefits of updating the campus databases by comparing what it replaced. Prior to this year, Wilkes had a resource collection from EBSCOhost, which had about 15 databases, Bowman explained. She added that one of the biggest drawbacks of EBCSCOhost was the complicated search nature. As many students have experienced during their research using EBSCOhost, there are multiple different boxes to utilize, and a certain way to use them in order to get the best results.

The new system, ProQuest, will be much easier and quicker to use, Bowman said. “It streamlines the research process.”

ProQuest includes 40 databases, giving students access to about 5,000 more titles than before. Moreover, it is more accessible as it has “discovery search,” a tool that allows you to search from one search box, rather than multiple. It will search the entire library and rank the results based on the relevance to your search, Bowman explained.

“It greatly expanded databases, especially for nursing, health sciences, pharmacy and a great deal of social sciences,” Bowman said.

The project, which started at the end of June, also added two newspaper databases, which are U.S. News Stream and International News Stream. These include about 2,000 newspapers, whereas before students only had access to local newspapers in print.

Dean for Library Information and Technology John Stachacz described the new database as “one of the best” in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The campus Wi-Fi has also improved over the past few months. Stachacz explained how Wilkes changed its internet provider and tripled the bandwidth within the past year, resulting in faster Wi-Fi and a decrease in technological difficulties.

There have also been six Wi-Fi access points added to areas on campus that were lacking them, such as Breiseth Hall and the nursing simulation lab, Stachacz said, adding that one access point can provide Wi-Fi to about 75 people.

In addition, Stachacz said a second backup data center was created and phone systems were updated.

The great strides taken were recognized by President Patrick Leahy when he granted network director John Carlin, who is responsible for the majority of the IT updates, the Presidential Award for Innovation.

What’s Next

Stachacz provided a sneak preview as to what to expect in upcoming months and years. The most immediate update will be a new portal, which students can preview and offer feedback on by visiting portal.wilkes.edu.

The new portal will not have links on the front page. It will also be single sign-on, meaning that only one sign in is necessary, rather than having to sign in to the portal and email separately. It will be much more visually appealing, and much simpler, Stachacz said. It’s very “intuitively obvious” to use, he added.

“Student can easily modify what they want to see. Everyone can custom tailor what they want on their portal,” Stachacz explained.

When the new portal is ready, it will run simultaneously with the old one for a short time in order to give students adequate time to adjust.

Also upcoming will be upgraded software and a firewall update to provide protection and further bandwidth expansion.

This is all part of a three year strategic plan, Stachacz said, for which the university is in its second year.