Use of microcomputer workstations to enhance access to library collections

William H. Mischo, David Stern, Timothy W. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of microcomputers in public service areas of libraries is allowing the distribution of applications previoiusly available only on mainframe computers. Advances in microcomputer hardware capabilities (faster, more powerful microprocessors and faster, larger capacity data storage) provide the flexibility and distributed computing power necessary for sophisticated telecommunications and database searching applications. The capabilities inherent in local microcopmuter workstations allow libraries to provide users enhanced access to library resources and new and innovative services. Today, in addition to their role as online terminals for searching external databases and library catalogs, microcomputers are also supporting the implementation of intelligent user interfaces and customized local databases. Developing local area network (LAN) technologies promise to further extend the capability and importance of library microcomputer workstations. This article describes microcomputer applications involving both staff and public workstations that have been implemented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Library. Several of these applications are built around a locally designed and developed information retrieval and communications software package called ILLINOIS SEARCH AID. This software features gateway functions to other remote databases, uploading/downloading of information, a local database management system, and graphical interface functions. The UIUC Engineering Library's initial experience with a test version of UMI's IEEE/IEE OnDisc CD-ROM microcomputer workstation is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalScience and Technology Libraries
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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