I arrived at W&L with a good general background in DOS and Macintosh applications and a year of experience (at Simmons) with lab-based teaching of computer skills. In the first year I began to work with UNIX (essential in Gopher and WWW worlds) and in the second with HTML (the sine qua non of the WWW). I have taught the essentials of both to a number of colleagues individually and in workshop settings, and I am the person to whom the curious are directed by University Computing. It is clearly necessary to use several platforms (DOS, Windows, Macintosh, X-Windows, Liberty), and to incorporate the teaching of the skills required to move between platforms.
Especially during the last year I have explored the practicalities of graphics and multimedia using the full spectrum of hardware available at W&L (and, incidentally, providing much of the impetus for upgrading of library computer capability) and developed classroom applications of several emerging technologies. This exploration has generally taken the form of locating, retrieving and experimenting with public domain and shareware software, though I have also done some testing of licensed and for-evaluation software with Tom Ahnemann.
In the Spring of 1994 I worked with .gif and .jpg images, with the practical result that I was able to digitize and mount images of Generals Washington and Lee and Traveller on the W&L home page, but more generally to develop the skills and knowledge to help faculty wishing to make use of Internet resources in these areas (workshops in Spring and Summer 1994 in imagery and hypertext introduced these subjects to about a dozen faculty members), and I have subsequently consulted with several others and worked on images for the electronic version of the Special Collections Guide to Manuscript Collections.
I have worked extensively with helper applications for the WWW graphic browsers (particularly Netscape), locating and experimenting with a wide variety of display and visualization tools which make it possible to access and make use of Internet resources. Among these: RASMOL, MAGE and WINCHEM for chemical MIME types, Adobe Acrobat and Ghostscript for formatted text, MPEGPLAY and SPARKLE for video, and a variety of Macintosh utilities as well.
Personal learning outside the computer realm has centered in the sciences, primarily to support teaching in specific Biology and Psychology courses, but also to provide better collection development and liaison services to the science departments for which I am responsible. A lifelong interest in general science and in the history of technology got a substantial boost from a Simmons course in Science Librarianship, and I have read widely in science since then, particularly in molecular biology and the cross-disciplinary area of chaos and dynamical systems. In the last few months I have started to work with Mathematica and Maple, basic tools for computer-based math instruction at W&L and elsewhere, and am successfully repairing my mathematical deficiencies.