Library computers shut down

By Jami Peterson

A surprising problem has struck the library’s brand new computers, causing the temporary shutdown of all on-line systems.

Around 6 p.m. Tuesday, several Carl Uncover on-line computers in the Founder’s Memorial Library went haywire because of trouble with the mainframe computer system, located at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said Byron Anderson, Computer Reference Services coordinator.

The rest of the computers, installed this year, went under Wednesday and will remain that way for an unknown length of time. “We’re sort of at the mercy of the computer programmers at U of I,” Anderson said.

Because the computer system is sent to NIU over telephone lines from the mainframe system, it is up to U of I officials to fix the problem, he said.

But, U of I computer programmers are informed and are hammering out the kinks.

Although parts of the computers still run, most of the programs seem to have a mind of their own, Anderson said.

“We’re having a lot of trouble with the programming of it (the computers),” he said.

When a student uses the subject search command, the book titles listed have nothing to do with the subject. This is a “relatively new” problem which was not anticipated. But when a wide system is used, problems do come about, he said.

“I really feel for the people who come in to use the computers (and can’t),” Anderson said.

Systems Librarian Wallace Grant said the system is sent here through telephone lines, and the problems originate in Champaign. But, he added, “we still have the old card catalogs.”