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LEO:  Looking Back
by
Reba Leiding

Librarians by nature find it hard to throw things away.  When I saw this user manual for the earliest version of the library's online catalog (pictured below) heading for the trash, I felt the compulsion to save it for posterity, or at least for the readers of this issue of the newsletter.  This manual dates from around 1985, when the Library implemented its online catalog on the Virginia Tech Library System, or VTLS.  The entries listed on the manual are actually tabs that can be lifted to reveal detailed instructions.  Set in the days before graphical user interfaces, or GUI, the manual tells users which keys on the keyboard perform special functions:

1.    RETURN KEY.  THIS KEY MUST BE PRESSED AFTER EACH COMMAND IN ORDER TO SEND THE MESSAGE TO THE COMPUTER.

2.    BACKSPACE KEY.  PRESS THIS KEY TO CORRECT A TYPING ERROR.

3.    SLASH (/) KEY.  THIS IS THE SLASH USED IN SEARCH COMMANDS.

and so on.

Commands include:

A/    AUTHOR SEARCH
B/    BOOLEAN KEYWORD SEARCH
W/   KEYWORD SEARCH (single word only)
T/    TITLE SEARCH
S/    SUBJECT SEARCH
P/    SEARCH FOR RESERVES BY PROFESSOR'S LAST NAME
Q/    SEARCH FOR RESERVES BY COURSE #


The logo for LEO, portrayed as a happy lion, sends a message about the new electronic catalog:  it's powerful but not the least bit intimidating. 

Where did the name LEONARDO come from?  Long-time library staffers remember that the name was the result of a contest, with the winning name submitted by Anna Ruth Perry, who was then head of Cataloging.  The name was an allusion to Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance man who possessed knowledge in many areas.  The name was shortened to LEO when the logo was developed, and the connection to da Vinci receded over time.

Looking forward:  LEO continues to evolve as online technologies change, with an upgrade in appearance and functionality planned for next spring 2005. 

 

E-mail comments and questions to:
leidinrm@jmu.edu

Copyright 2002. JMU Libraries.
All rights reserved.