Beginning of the End

We are still frustrated in our efforts to get our new website up and running, so here’s something dated to contemplate. Going through the old articles that are in the process of being transferred over, here’s one that popped up from the second issue of Interface magazine (1992): Library without Walls. The article extols the new intranet services available to Weizmann Institute users:

Over the past year, notes Chief Librarian Ms. Ilana Pollack, several databases acquired by the Institute Library System have been hooked via optical readers and computer servers into the Institute’s communications networks, enabling a wealth of library-catalogue, bibliographical, scientific and general information to be accessed by PC and Macintosh computers throughout the campus. While using or borrowing books, as well as consulting journals, will still require library visits, much preparatory and bibliographic work can now be done from a researcher’s own laboratory or office.

Along with the new service, the upbeat article reported plans to expand the main library and complete the building of smaller libraries for each faculty.

Today, the Wix Library, the Institute’s main library since it was built in 1958, is being renovated and refitted as a conference center. Some of the books were sold off, others packed off to the faculty libraries or into storage. A few conservationists bemoaned the change: the Wix library is an iconic building that was even featured, along with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, on the 5 shekel bill. (Five shekel bills, by the way, are no longer in circulation.) Others see the renovation as a way to preserve a building that has outlived its original function.

A final quote from the article:

What’s the best way to synthesize nitrobenzene? Which American companies produce gold-plated wave guides for a new device that involves microwaves? ….Researchers and staff of the Weizmann Institute can now conveniently find answers to these questions and many others without leaving their offices. (The exclamation point is implied.)