In a world where consumers can get next week's groceries, this season's fashions and last summer's photos all at the same location, it should come as no surprise that the Utah State Historical Society is moving to a one-stop-shopping method of collecting and dispersing research information.
Max J. Evans, director of the Utah State Historical Society, is the brainchild behind the Research Libraries Information Network. The network is a data base that allows researchers to locate information from several sources at the same time using the same computer terminal.In the past, research material had to be collected by visiting or contacting each individual library or archive that held the desired information. With the network's help, researchers can now simply switch on the computer terminal and tap information from anywhere in the United States on a particular topic.
Two years ago, Evans began putting together plans to implement the network in order to ease the burden of collecting and cataloging research information. Evans applied for and received a $116,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in March, which will help to place a network terminal with the historical society. Once the terminal arrives, however, that's when the real work begins.
Evans said it should take about 18 months to load the network with the necessary data. The project is expected to begin Aug. 1.
"This important project has implications both for historical research and for the management of our documentary resources," Evans said. "When it is completed, researchers will be able to search a single data base to find bibliographic entries for historical material located in most of the major repositories in the state."
The system will also hold references to more than 15 million books, motion pictures, television programs and other media that could prove useful to researchers.
"This system is one of our more innovative projects," Evans said. "It will take the place of several individual catalogs and bring together, in one place, several subjects."