Monday, September 20, 2010

Clayton State to Celebrate GALILEO’s 15th Birthday Tomorrow

There’s a party going on at Clayton State University on Tuesday, Sept. 21. It’s a birthday party for GALILEO, the core on-line resource for the libraries and media centers of Georgia. And, there’s no more appropriate place to celebrate this anniversary than beside the Clayton State Library.

Georgia's electronic library that links the University System of Georgia (USG), the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE), K-12 schools, private institutions, and public libraries, has been a national model program from its inception. And, although GALILEO (which stands for GeorgiA Library LEarning Online) serves the entire state of Georgia, the project has especially strong ties to Clayton State. The chair of the original USG committee than got GALILEO up and running in less than 150 days was former Clayton State President Dr. Richard A. Skinner. In addition, the USG’s main partner in GALILEO, the Georgia DTAE, was once headed up by another former Clayton State administrator, former Interim President Michael F. Vollmer. Furthermore, Clayton State Dean of Libraries, Dr. Gordon Baker, is the immediate past chair of the GALILEO Steering Committee.

The University System launched GALILEO using special initiative funding from then-Governor Zell Miller and General Assembly of Georgia in 1995. Within 150 days of funding, thanks to Skinner’s committee, GALILEO was available at the University System¹s 34 colleges and universities. Shortly thereafter, access was broadened to include private academic libraries, technical colleges, public libraries and public schools. GALILEO is currently available through 2500 institutions.

“Way back in 1995, long before Google, GALILEO helped bring the University System of Georgia libraries, students, faculty, and staff the ability to search indexes and retrieve full-text materials on this new thing called the `World Wide Web,’ using something called `ASCII text,’” recalls Baker. “For many of these users, GALILEO was their first introduction to the Internet, much less graphical interfaces, as well as the benefits this technology had for learning and research. In fact, GALILEO helped put public computers into the University System libraries and provided fax machines for interlibrary loan articles, at time when some campuses had a single fax machine in the President’s office. Institutions that had only a few journals suddenly had access to hundreds of journals.”

The Clayton State University Library will celebrate GALILEO’s 15th birthday on Tuesday, Sept. 21, on Main Street of the James M. Baker University Center (right in front of the Library entrance) with birthday cake to be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or until the cake runs out.)

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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