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   from the issue of March 31, 2005

IRIS running strong after 15 years

The UNL Libraries' Innovative Research Information System is quietly rolling into its 15th year as of April 1.

Often taken for granted today, IRIS' online catalog to the Library's catalog, databases and other resources, was an innovation when it toddled onto the scene in 1990. The transformation from a traditional card catalog to an online resource was a major undertaking for UNL and was made possible by funding from the Nebraska Legislature and the University of Nebraska Foundation.

IRIS started as a character-based telnet system on the campuswide network known as HuskerNet and included library materials cataloged between 1976 and 1990.

In its first year, 2 million searches were done on IRIS. Today, more than a million searches are done each month on the IRIS system.

IRIS grew to include 10 electronic indexes that students and faculty could access from within the Libraries in 1992, and remote access was limited to the catalog. Remote access to databases would come later.

By 1994 the beginnings of the graphical interface we now know as the World Wide Web transformed IRIS yet again. Patrons using the IRIS system simultaneously in 1994 were limited to 155 people.

IRIS has grown over the years into a more valuable research tool for faculty and students. Now holding over 3 million records for both print materials and electronic resources, IRIS includes links to more than 200 databases, many of which contain full-text articles and other information.

Students and faculty can check on their own library accounts, renew books online, and request interlibrary loan materials, all possible through a visit to



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