CSU library gains state of the art technology

While libraries have traditionally been thought of as a place to find and store books, according to the Morgan Library Director of Donor Relations, David Ramsay, CSU’s library is becoming a hub for state-of-the-art technology.

Google Liquid Galaxy, a digital geospatial map compiled of 10 monitors sits nears the back of the 1st floor computer lab in the Morgan Library. This Liquid Galaxy is similar to the larger scale projector based system also stationed in the library.
Google Liquid Galaxy, a digital geospatial map compiled of 10 monitors sits nears the back of the 1st floor computer lab in the Morgan Library. This Liquid Galaxy is similar to the larger scale projector based system also stationed in the library.

“We want this place to be an information and technology hub for the region,” he said. “We want the coolest tech available that relates to our students and the community.”

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An integral part of the Morgan Library’s efforts to become that information and technology hub is the library’s large-scale Google Liquid Galaxy projector system that operates in the library’s first-floor event hall. The library has a smaller Liquid Galaxy program situated near the back of the first floor computer lab in the library, but this one is unique in that it is displayed on a wall using three different projectors.

“It’s the only one of its kind in the entire world,” Ramsay said.

The Liquid Galaxy displays a geospatial map of the world that students can explore in depth. Students and professors can use the software to track fires, discover geo-fracking sites, compare country’s oil consumption and more. Ramsay believes this system will help display information to students in a way that makes sense.

“I can show you bar charts and numbers on a graph, but this way you can actually see the data and get it,” he said.

The smaller Liquid Galaxy station has been in the Morgan Library for two years, but the larger system was developed eight months ago, said Ramsay. The decision to create and house the technology was a decision made by the library’s dean, Dr. Patrick Burns, to specifically pump technology into the library.

“It’s such a natural fit to have to have it here,” Ramsay said. “It’s appropriate for a library.”

Youssef Benchouaf, a junior computer science major and IT technician for the Morgan Library, helped design and create the unique projection system and also helps guide the “tours” that he demos to audiences.

“It’s really gratifying to have made this and it makes me proud of my job,” he said. “CIS can be such an ephemeral thing, but this is something I made and can show to people. We actually demoed it to the guys down at Google and they were blown away!”

Benchouaf mentioned that some professors and students have taken advantage of the room and its capabilities.

“I remember there was an English class that was reading ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and they came in here and looked at all the different spots they went to in the novel,” he said.

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Ramsay is confident that both students and faculty will utilize the system more as new possibilities are discovered.

“Professors are coming in and seeing it and saying ‘this is what students want!'”

Benchouaf said that there is an online reservation system that students and professors can use to reserve the room and use the three-screen Liquid Galaxy.

Stephanie Mulowayi, a sophomore interior design major, has used the smaller display in the library and thinks that it could be very useful to students in their research and also their recreation.

“I could see majors like anthropology using it for school,” she said. “I think it would also be neat to use it zoom in on places you want to travel and print out a screen shot of it to keep for yourself.”

Senior reporter Sean Meeds can be reached at news@collegian.com.