STF99: Providing Student Access to Advanced Integrated Arts Technology

Richard Karpen, Professor and Director


Student access to state-of-the-art technologies with professional quality equipment not found at home is a major part of CARTAH's mission. These kinds of technologies are often available only to graduate students and faculty in the sciences and engineering. Or they are available commercially. The growing technological sophistication of students in all areas of the UW has meant that demand for access to this kind of equipment has increased dramatically.

Significance to Students

During 1998, CARTAH has welcomed over twenty undergraduate, high-end technology research projects in the Arts and Humanities. These undergraduate projects represent a wide range of disciplines: art, drama, technical communication, graphic design, comparative literature, and English. Fully half of these projects are video production, while the rest involve animation, multi-media, and graphics. In fact, nearly all of the video projects undertaken at CARTAH are proposed and completed by students. These are projects which here-to-fore could not have been undertaken except with the support of the Student Technology Fee.

Nevertheless, neither technology nor the growing sophistication of entering undergraduate students stand still. If CARTAH is to be able to continue offering students a welcoming, supportive, technological research environment with professional level equipment that they cannot afford to purchase for themselves, then CARTAH is required to obtain the best equipment available. Our goal is to provide up-to-date technology in a diverse and intellectually stimulating environment.

Among specific benefits to our students are:

Access to CARTAH is available to all students who submit a structured research proposal. This can be done simply from CARTAH's WEB site. Students are also offered help in constructing cogent research proposals.1

CARTAH provides a congenial, structured research setting, and we contribute ongoing networking and hardware/software support, as well as individual project consultants for every student project, drawn from our full-time staff of 2.4, three graduate assistants, and four work-study lab assistants. In addition, CARTAH provides for printing, scanning, insurance and maintenance for all equipment, as well as equipment loan, and other incidental support from our on-going operations budget. These functions are performed in our basement facility in Thomson Hall.

If funded, CARTAH proposes to acquire the items listed during Spring and Summer 1999 and to bring the equipment on-line and make the new resources available to users as it arrives. We envisage that all equipment will be in place by the beginning of Fall Term.

Proposal and Procedure

CARTAH's proposal consists of two major elements:

Cutting edge CPU's

CARTAH proposes purchasing two, new high-end Macintosh G3/400 computers and two new high-end Intel PII/450 computers to replace the no-longer cutting edge machines provided through an STF grant in 1997. These will allow CARTAH to provide UW undergraduates and graduates with the newest technology. We have arranged with the Music Library and the Department of Romance Languages to provide open access to students for the four older STF machines, in keeping with the intent of the STF program. We have attached letters from these departments for the committee's inspection.

Digital Video

CARTAH means to expand our highly popular and over-subscribed digital video production system. To do this, we require the addition of a digital video recorder and an SVHS recorder. These two pieces of equipment will supplement existing video production facilities purchased with STF funds and eliminate the bottle necks referred to in student comments.

Digital Audio and Computer Music Composition

The missing link in CARTAH's offering to students, and one which is frequently requested, is digital signal processing for high-quality sound on an 8-channel, A-DAT connection board. It is highly desireable to have an integrated system that can provide professional quality image and video processing, along with professional studio quality audio effects. The SGI Octane is a serious piece of hardware that can perform this function, unlike current Macintoshes and Intel-based systems which cannot provide this quality of combined audio-video processing. Access to such a system currently runs about $100 per hour in a commercial studio.

Professional Quality, Multi-format Scanning

CARTAH is currently unable to provide support for the highest quality graphic arts work required by digital artists. The Polaroid SprintScan will allow us to round out our offerings by providing this capability to UW students and artists.

Color Printing

CARTAH currently has a tabloid size color flatbed scanner and a high-speed color document scanner available for student project use. What is missing is a high-end, tabloid size color output device such as the Tektronix Phaser 780 printer. Currently, research clients requiring high-quality color output must take their electronic files to a commerical service bureau for printing.

Student Endorsements


All figures include tax and shipping.

06 - Equipment
Dell Dimension XPS R PII 450Mhz/256, 8G w/19'' monitor 25,750.00
Macintosh G3/400Mhz/128, 9G w/19'' monitor 2 6,700.00
Tektronix Phaser tabloid 1200dpi color printer 1 6,020.00
Polaroid SprintScan 45PRO Multi-format transparency scanner111,000.00
SGI Octane 250Mhz/256, 9G w/19'' monitor 1 17,000.00
Sony DSR-20 Digital Video Recorder 13,490.00
Panasonic 1980 SVHS Video Recorder 1 2,150.00
TOTAL $52,110.00

stf99.tex (Mar 2, 1999 )



2 (See attached letter.)

3 (Full comments available upon request.)

4 (Full comments available upon request.)

5 (Full comments available upon request.)