Guest author: Ann Marie Clark, Director, Arnold Library, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This post describes the outcomes of a Technology Improvement Award from NN/LM PNR.
The Arnold Library, a member of the Shared Resources group at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), provides a home for the Scholarly Communications/Shared Resources Computer Lab. In the lab, FHCRC researchers and students analyze and visualize data, draft journal articles and books, and prepare presentations and posters for professional conferences. In 2012, prior to our NNLM/PNR award, the computer lab was cramped and awkward, reducing our researchers’ efficiency, ability to collaborate, and limiting the software programs available to them. There was demand for more computers, but we could not expand due to the constraints of the existing workstations and room design. Researchers frequently had to wait for computers to become available, or be turned away. Additionally, we were unable to adequately support the burgeoning need for video production and editing.
The Technology Improvement Award that we received allowed us to revise our use of the space and expand our offerings. Redesigning the room to maximize the potential for computing was our first goal. We also planned to install a dedicated video editing workstation that would allow graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to create and share multimedia presentations of their research and scholarship. Lastly we wanted a low-cost and simple space to host video shoots for scientific teaching and communications purposes.
Between November 2012 and January 2013, I worked with FHCRC facilities and IT staff to redesign, source, and remodel the lab space. Older wooden carrels were moved out and purpose-built computer workstations were installed. We expanded the number of Macs we offered, including a new Mac, purchased on the award, which is optimized for and loaded with video editing software. We also turned a useless, pass-through room into a small and informal ‘studio’ dedicated to video production.
Thanks to the NNLM award and support from FHCRC, the library is able to offer our researchers and students greater access to more powerful computers, installed with specialized, cost-prohibitive, and hard-to-find analytical, visualization, or media production software. Finally, our patrons now have access to self-serve video production and editing facilities and equipment.