Network to Connect Students

News, E-Mail Accounts to Be Accessible Through Computers

A computer network could connect the Yard dorms and houses to each other and with a number of services by next September, a University official said yesterday.

Geoffrey M. Peters, director of telecommunications in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said Harvard has about half the funding to construct the new network, thanks to a $500,000 gift from the Microsoft corporation last summer.

The University is hoping to raise another $500,000, he said.

Under the new system, undergraduates could connect their personal computers to Internet, a national computer network, and use its services from their rooms, said Gary R. Holmes, network manager at the Office for Information Technology.

Through Internet, students will be able to access a variety of services, including news and weather reports. They will also be connected with Hollis, e-mail accounts and library catalogs in other universities, he said.


"Most of the preliminary design was completed a while ago...We've been in the planning stage for about two years," Holmes said. "We're now in the process of obtaining bids for fiber optic facilities."

Last year, Currier, Leverett, Lowell and North houses participated in a trial run of the network, Peters said. The goal of the next phase is to extend the network to other students.

The installation of a computer network would affect many aspects of the College, including teaching, studying and administrative procedures, he said.

Georgene B. Herschbach, registrar for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said she is "excited [about the network] for personal and professional reasons."

"We can serve the community--the students, faculty and other administrators--better," she said.

Herschbach said it may be possible for students to access their personal files and public information, such as courses offerings and exam schedules.

But she added that she does not foresee registration and course enrollment via computer in the near future, partially because of security problems.

"Registration is a very important event," she said. "It would be very hard to duplicate that through an online network...Besides, it's a great social event for students."

Peters, who said access to the new system is nearly set up for the entire College, said he is optimistic that the computer network would be in place by next September.

"If work proceeds and is not interrupted by funding problems, all the student residences will be connected by the fall," he said.

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