February 04, 2013

‘SalukiTech’ offers enhanced information services

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Numerous technology changes and improvements at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will enhance service to students and the University community.

Among the changes is a relocation of the Information Technology help desk previously in the Northwest Annex to join Morris Library’s Information Desk.  The “SalukiTech” collaboration will make the library a one-stop hub for the University community to address technology needs as well as information and research resource questions.  In addition to this joint venture, extensive upgrades to campus wireless coverage are also under way.

SalukiTech is at the library’s information desk on the first floor at Morris Library.   The north side of the desk offers technology/computer support, while the south side assists people in locating other types of information and scholarly resources for their coursework and research, according to Anne Cooper Moore, dean of Library Affairs.  Moore emphasizes support staff, reference librarians and technology experts will be available to help with all inquiries.

SalukiTech service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m.   

The IT help desk opened about two years ago at the Northwest Annex, providing services for all SIU students, faculty, staff, retirees and alumni.  But, the hours were typically shorter and on weekdays only.  The library also offered some technology assistance, but some issues needing IT attention meant people had to make two stops to get help.

“The entire point of this is convenience for the University community.  People no longer have to go to two places for help.  This is a highly collaborative venture and it’s wonderful to see the two groups on campus work so closely together to blend services and do something that benefits so many people.  With the expansion of walk-up technology help in the Morris Library building, students now find there convenient access to a variety of support services to help them achieve their academic goals,” Moore said.

SalukiTech offers a variety of IT services including general troubleshooting, software installation, virus removal, operating system reinstallations and upgrades, hardware upgrades, RezNet configuration and troubleshooting.  The service can also assist with wireless set-up for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and also handle sales of flash drives, hard drives, routers, cables and office software.

A detailed description of IT services is available at helpdesk.siu.edu/salukitech under the SalukiTech tab.  Changes are also in the works to improve convenience, including installing a “drop window” within the library for some devices.

“By consolidating, we are offering improved services, longer hours and a better location,” said Kelly Cummins, director of Technology Services, said.

David Crain, assistant provost and chief information officer, and Cummins also said the upgrade of wireless coverage across campus continues and the goal is for full wireless access campus-wide by sometime in 2014.  The goal is to eliminate server overloads and crashes caused by too much usage at a given time.  There has been a six-fold increase in connectivity in less than a year, Crain said.

“We have already actively increased the bandwidth and connectivity for campus as a whole and to our residence halls and improvements continue,” Crain said. 

The priority is improving both the bandwidth and connectivity for all buildings utilized by students, including classrooms and residence halls.  The number of servers has doubled as speed has increased.  Crain said that as students do more activities online, from taking classes to gaming and watching movies, connectivity needs to increase and that work is ongoing to make sure those needs are met.  He anticipates that all classroom buildings and residence halls will have the IT upgrades in place by the end of 2013.

“All of these improvements will greatly benefit current students and the University community and can also prove valuable in recruiting new students,” Cummins said.