'Friendly' CyberMARS Comes to Library

CyberMARS, a new software program for accessing the Metropolitan Library System's computerized catalog of materials, is now available at all library system locations.

Those with Internet capabilities can also access the program remotely by logging on to this Web page.

"We're very excited about this new, slick version of the older MARS program. CyberMARS offers MARS features in a user friendly environment plus access to more than a dozen databases," said Jim Welch, Information Technology director.

The program is colorful and filled with interesting icons. Welch attributed its user friendliness to a menu structure and operating style common to all Windows and Internet applications, and to an intuitive interface for performing searches.

He added that its frames format allows users to navigate among the various CyberMARS features without having to back up several screens each time a different feature is needed. The slender frame appearing on the left side of the computer screen provides a menu of features, while a larger frame displays each CyberMARS feature as it is selected from the menu.

To access all CyberMARS features you need a Metropolitan Library System library card. If you don't have a card, you can still log on to the program "anonymously" and view the library system's catalog of materials.

CyberMARS features and what they offer:

If you would like an overview of the new software, consider checking out CyberMARS Project 2000. This 35-minute video, produced by library staff and Cox Cable Productions, uses short skits to fully explain CyberMARS and wraps up with a short tutorial on handling a computer mouse.

"This how-to film is scripted to ease the transition from the old MARS program to the new one," said Jane Carvajal, who develops training materials for the library system. "It stars our own staff as librarians and customers. Our goal was to make it upbeat and informative. Hopefully, our customers will reach a comfort level with CyberMARS by watching it.

123 copies of CyberMARS Project 2000 are available for check out. Like other videos, it may be kept seven days and renewed twice, provided there are no pending reserves.

The library staff also provides assistance. Please feel free to ask for help during your initial attempts with CyberMARS.