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Perennial Difficulties Delay Directories

By Nomi Giszpenc

The Institute phone directories will be arriving on their usual date of Oct. 25 - more than halfway through the first term.

Even though the process of putting together directories starts early, the perennial problem of getting the directories out in a timely fashion is the fact that the Communications Office has "two and a half" people working on them, said Communications Manager Barrie B. Gleason. The office could clearly use more people, she said.

This year, the directories are facing the additional problem of altering the staff listings to reflect the more than 600 early retirements this fall. Some departments have also requested changes in their listings to reflect organizational structure changes. For example, Information Systems has restructured its listing for the coming year to better reflect its organization and be clearer for directory users.

Putting together the Student Directory starts on Registration Day when registration cards - from which most of the information is obtained - are collected, said Assistant to the Registrar Iria J. Romano.

The Department of Housing and Food Services provides information on dormitories directly, while three full-time and one or two temporary workers from the Registrar's Office work to enter the rest of the term addresses and phone numbers, Romano said.

All of this work has to be done by Sept. 16, when the Bursar's Office sends out the first bill of the term to students. Then missing or incorrect information for about 200 students - most of them graduate students - is completed and corrected, Romano said.

By Sept. 23, the information is ready to be sent to the Communications Office, which is responsible for putting out the directories, Gleason said.

The office then sends the information to University Directories, the publisher. The directories are printed and sent to dormitories, the Office of Residence and Campus Activities, and the Information Center.

Offices need more people

The Registrar's Office "could always use more people," but the directories actually would not come out any earlier even if there were more people, Romano said. The time the directories get distributed is controlled by the Communications Office, which sets the deadlines.

Gleason was surprised to hear that the Registrar's Office would be able to get the information to the Communications Office sooner. Earlier availability of information for the Registrar's Office may allow an earlier deadline to be set in the future, she said.

Another possible option would be temporary directories that would contain incomplete information but would be distributed immediately.

But given the situation of current staffing, the temporary directory would be impossible, Gleason said. However, if there are enough resources, both she and Romano would support the idea.

A more realistic prospect is the faster placement of an updated listing of departments and offices online. Online information is usually in place a few weeks into the term.