STORY BY BERTHA BUSH
Drake University has gone through a lot of changes since Francis Marion Drake founded it in 1881. Students and faculty have come and gone away with memories of their time at Drake. Some past students have returned to become current faculty members.
Cindy Seley, adjunct instructor of Spanish, has noticed a lot of changes from the time she was here as a student to when she returned to join the faculty.
“I was an undergrad here (at Drake University). I was here from fall of ’89 to spring of ’93,” Seley said. “There was “city street” (28th street) between the law school and FAC. (The library) café wasn’t here. This room had bookshelves full of books. The library closed at 1 a.m., and that was it. You had to leave. You couldn’t come in the back door, and there was no food allowed. This is much nicer. We would’ve loved this.”
Drake art alumna and current university archives associate Kathy Lincoln remembered how it was almost impossible to access information around the world.
“You figure how small our world was back then, and how technology just opened that up for everyone,” Lincoln said. “It’s just been amazing to watch, and kind of scary though, too. … I think students now expect information instantaneously because that is how you get it. Back then you’d go in and ask a question, and they’d say, ‘Well, let me do some research for you, and I’ll call you by telephone…’ (And) that was attached to a cord! And you’d have to wait a few days for your answer.”
Some of us in our mid-20s can vaguely remember using card catalogs during our elementary school years. Professor Seley recalled a time when the information of the world was only an encyclopedia away.
“People actually owned sets of encyclopedia, the whole 26 letters (of the alphabet),” Seley said. “That’s what you did, you went to the library and go through the encyclopedia just as a starting point, like Wikipedia now.”
The act of physically searching through paper cards to find a book at the library has been replaced by typing in a keyword or title on the search bar of an online access catalog on a computer. Perhaps you’re more familiar with the laptop.
“My roommate had a (desktop computer), but not everybody had one,” Seley said. “Upstairs in the second floor of the library… there was a big room, and it was the computer lab. You had to go and give your ID. Then they gave you a disk with the operating system. You had to put the operating system into the computer every time and then you could save your stuff on the floppy disk.”
Technology has not only expanded the ability to learn about things around the world, but to also connect with everyone around the world. Liga Briedis, associate professor of librarianship and coordinator of reference services for Cowles Library, has been a member of the Drake faculty for 45 years and noted another benefit of this expansion.
“We now have the Pharmaceutical Internship Database which our pharmacy alumni can access from all of the world,” said Briedis. It’s designed to benefit pharmacy students currently in their early professional years seeking experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
With LinkedIn, email and Facebook, it’s difficult to imagine how different it was to search for a job 20 years ago. Where would you begin? What would you find?