Inventorizing and Managing Resources

In a multimedia centre, multimedia tools for the management of resources seem both appropriate and useful. The program tool illustrated here (image omitted from Internet version) was developed using Hypercard, to inventorise and manage equipment resources around the work place. A version produced for another multimedia preview centre was especially successful in the production of up-to-date catalogues for visitors. The lesson should prove attractive in other work centres, especially since the tools are fun and easy to use: resource management need not be dull! And when those involved are more interested in what they are doing, routines are more easily adhered to and tasks are accomplished more effectively.

Basically, the tool allows the user (the network and overall process manager) to get an immediate picture of where things are (or should be!) within the centre. Each item of equipment is represented by an icon, which can be dragged around the map. As the item is clicked or dragged, a label appears which details the item down to its serial number. When released that item becomes attached to a room and a person or place within that room, allowing fresh inventory and allocation lists to be compiled within seconds.

Click on a cupboard and the contents are then listed in a scrolling textbox. The contents may refer to the research library of books and journals, or to the CD-ROM, laserdisc, and CD-i collections and back-up archives.

A separate index card exists for each hardware, software and publication item which are accessed via the inventory buttons at the bottom of the screen. New items can be entered within these sections and updates effected at the press of a button to related areas within the database.

The preview-centre version of the software used synthetic voice for an intelligent room-booking and equipment-ordering facility, although not everyone enjoyed the synthetic computer tones and the conflicts with further inits (initialisation devices) and cdevs (control devices) on their computers. The synthetic voice feature was soon dropped.