Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Card Catalogs, what fun! ;-)

Remember the old card catalog? You'd have to have been here in the late 1980s, or earlier, because we switched over to an online catalog at that time. The old card catalog may seem quaint now, but just like today's online catalog it was your access to our books and other holdings.

If you knew the title or author the card catalog was easy to use, it just got a little tricky when searching by subject, because you needed to know the formal subject heading terms. With online catalogs, like the "Dynix" system we started with (and we were the first SUNY four year school to take our catalog online,) it's easier in many ways, you can do a more free form search, and pick up things more easily.

The old card catalogs represented many many hours of work to build and maintain, it was a little hard for library staff to see them go, but progress will out and we saw that the new online catalogs would serve much better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Internet?!

Nope, no Internet at all for the first 140 or so years of the college's history. No PCs either, and for that matter, no typewriters until late in the 1800s. (In the college archives we have many large leather bound volumes of handwritten student registers etc. from that pre-typewritten era.)

But back to the Internet. The Internet came into being in the late 196os and became accessible to colleges as time went on, via teletypes and mainframe computers. This Internet was a "net" of computers that presented information in text form, on printouts or later on monitors. The library acquired it's first "dumb" terminals connected to the Internet around 1990, but they weren't all that useful really.

There were no pictures, no web sites like we know them, certainly no Google or Wikipedia! There were search engines, "Archie" was one, but it wasn't anything like as convenient as today's Internet. The "Web," or World Wide Web, came along in the mid-90s and changed everything. This was a computing innovation that basically allowed for pictures, web pages as we know them, to run on the Internet and led to the tremendous and ongoing changes to information and it's delivery we see even today, as we experiment with Kindles and ebooks in the library.

What we did have for PCs in the early stages is shown here, ca1993. The view is on the main floor by the center staircase, looking south towards the back of the floor. (We still have a large PC cluster in this area.)  None of these PCs were connected to the Internet, and as mentioned above the Web had not yet come into being. These PC's ran a variety of CDs that held some indexes to articles (some of you will remember "ERIC",) some actual full text of articles, some government documents and so forth. One wonders what the folks 175 years from now will think of our technologies, will they seem as quaint to them as the old leather bound, handwritten volumes in the archives seem to us?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Campus School

Students and many staff of today don't know what the campus school was, but for anyone who came to Brockport in the '70s or before it is a familiar concept. Basically the idea was to have an actual school running within the context of the college, where people planning to become teachers could do their practice teaching, new education methods tested etc.

The campus school was part of Brockport from the late 1860s to the 1970s, a little over one hundred years. Malcolm MacVicar, an early leader of the school, was a big proponent of learning by doing, and vigorously supported campus schools as a concept.

The composition of the school varied over the years. In earlier years it actually ran Grades 1-12! After the village of Brockport established its own high school post WWI, the campus school became Grades 1-8. It was housed on campus along with all other campus programs. Today's Cooper Hall was originally established specifically to house  the campus school.

Student teachers would teach under the watchful eye of full time "Teacher-Critics," who both supervised and taught the class itself, as well as the student teachers. Spots for school children in the campus school were long sought after, as it was considered something of  a cutting edge educational opportunity. Most of our SUNY peers ran similar campus schools. As teacher training methods changed, and SUNY cutbacks were needed, the campus schools were eliminated and today are a fond and important memory of the school.

Next summer, 2011, there will be a reunion of the campus school. Watch this space and the college news for more information this spring! (Pictured here are campus school students and student teacher holding a parade ca1955. The archives has quite a bit of material related to the campus school.)