The State of West Virginia and VTLS Inc. are pleased to announce that 150 of the 175 InfoMine workstations have been installed by VTLS Inc. in public and school libraries throughout the state. The workstations are installed in at least one high school in each county and in selected rural public libraries. The InfoMine workstations provide West Virginia residents access to the Internet, their email and numerous library catalogs across the state. "The most important and obvious benefit of these workstations is that very few residents in these areas had access to the Internet and now they do," says Dave Childers, acting director of the West Virginia Library Commission.
Software available on the workstations includes the VTLS EasyPAC, VTLS Z39.50 Client, a terminal emulator, and Netscape. Patrons at each library use the software to browse the Internet, access library catalogs across West Virginia or access their email. Library staff also have access to the VTLS EasyCAT. The EasyCAT allows the staff to download and edit bibliographic records from West Virginia's union catalog. All workstations include a laser printer and are protected by a security software package which secures the integrity of the workstations' configuration.
The InfoMine project was funded through three grants. A U.S. Department of Education grant of $2.5 million was awarded for the purchase of the Internet workstations, software, installation and training. Two other grants received from the U.S. Department of Commerce ($225,000) and the Appalachian Regional Commission ($55,000) were used for salaries and to purchase additional workstations, network equipment, and telecommunication software and services.
Internet traffic for the libraries installed runs through subhubs using T-1 lines. This traffic is monitored to ensure that lines do not become busy and to collect statistical information for future upgrades to these lines. "Thus far we have received no complaints about traffic problems on these lines, stated Childers. "The system is being used extensively and we have had very few problems."
Childers also stated that the project is a statewide initiative with The West Virginia Network for Educational Telecomputing, the State Department of Education and the West Virginia University helping to ensure that the project is completed successfully. The InfoMine project was initiated by Fred Glazer, past director of the West Virginia Library Commission.
VTLS began to install the workstations and to train staff and library patrons Oct. 1, 1996. In addition to the on-site training, VTLS developed a 45-minute training video to be used by the libraries to train future users.
For more information regarding the project, contact Judith Prosser at the West Virginia Library Commission, 304-558-3978 or Barbara Scheid at 540-557-1200.