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Many Graphic Arts Services Cut; Quick Copy Centers Continue

By Jean K. Lee
Staff Reporter

As a result of re-engineering, various functions have been cut from Graphic Arts Service, which in a new form will continue to provide limited copy and media services at MIT.

The main Graphic Arts Center, located in Building N42, closed down Sept. 1, leaving the other two smaller branches in room 11-004 and E52-045 to take over its services.

The closing of Graphic Arts - which is now called the Copy Technology Center - has been under discussion for four or five years, said Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman.

The issue "migrated into re-engineering," Immerman said. The publications services re-engineering team looked into changing publication services in the same manner that re-engineering teams examined the Office of Laboratory Supplies and decided to outsource its functions to independent several suppliers last year.

The Quick Copy Centers, like the one located in the basement of Building 11, will not be closed. "They were originally going to close us down," said Quick Copy Center Supervisor Steven M. Dimond. "We had to process a proposal and give reasons why we should exist."

The publications services group decided to outsource graphic arts services to several suppliers. "Millions of dollars in volume were being outsourced anyway," Immerman said.

About 20 people have been laid off because of these changes, Immerman said. "Some of those folks would likely apply for those positions" with Copy Technology, he said.

Graphic Arts unprofitable

Previously, Graphic Arts was losing money while the Copy Technology vendors at MIT were pretty popular, Immerman said. "It probably didn't make sense to continue to have our own in-house center" for the more serious printing jobs, he said.

The new Copy Technology Center has undergone many physical changes and extended its functions to provide additional services that the main center provided in the past.

It is now an independent department rather than part of the main Graphic Arts Center. "It's definitely more hectic now that we're getting work that was done in the main center with the limits of what we can do here," Dimond said.

"It's a difficult transition for us - even with the additional people working here - getting used to the new services, especially with renovation taking place in the middle of a busy time of the year," Dimond said.

As for the services that the Copy Technology is providing, there is a plan to organize a publications bureau within the Institute. Members of the MITcommunity could go to this bureau for all their publishing needs, Immerman said.

The bureau would then outsource the service to a number of specific outside vendors. Because MIT will have an arrangement with these dozen or so vendors, people will be able to "get a much better price," he said.

However, there would be no obligation for people to use the publishing bureau, and people could still look to other outside groups to handle their publishing needs.

The idea is still in discussion and no definite plans have been made, Dimond said.

Copy services ready for students

Among the many services Copy Technology provides include class course packets distribution, color printing, bindery operations, resume reproduction, lamination, computer-to-35mm slide services, self-service copy production, and other media services.

One of the new facilities is the Xerox Docutech production publishing system, a copy system used to copy, store, and edit documents and other materials. Students can also rent Macintosh and IBM workstations for $10 per hour. The center has extended its offices and put out a wide range of software, copy, and scanning machines as well. The service hours have extended to Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Despite the many changes, some students report that they have not been affected by the renovations. "It hasn't really made a difference for me," said John C. Powers G "It's the same busy copy center, just with a different name."

Even with the hectic transition, Dimond is optimistic. "We're confident that the Copy Technology Center will not only be a better-organized service, but also an efficient and inexpensive service as well," he said. "I'm excited and thrilled that we've won the opportunity to stay and look forward to the new developments."

Stacey E. Blau contributed to the reporting in this story.