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Printed UA Directory Soon to be Thing of the Past
Arizona Student Media will no longer print the directory after a survey showed most people rely on the online UA phonebook.
Whether you've relied on it for years to look up that department phone number you keep forgetting or to balance that wobbly table in your office, the printed version of the Student/Faculty/Staff Directory will soon be no more.
Arizona Student Media has decided to stop printing the directory after conducting a survey in which more than half of respondents said they never or rarely use it.
Demand for a printed directory has dropped from 22,000 copies a year in the 1980s, when Arizona Student Media took it over, to about 7,000 this year, said Faith Edman, assistant director of Arizona Student Media. She said the guide was once distributed to departments and throughout residence halls, but it stopped going to residence halls about a decade ago as students shifted more from land line to cell phone use.
"The directory at one time was an extremely valuable tool," Edman said. However, the UA's online phonebook has now essentially taken its place, she said.
Of the 902 students and employees who responded to the online survey conducted in January, 56 percent said they "never" or "rarely" use the directory, while only 27 percent said they used the directory a "great deal" or "moderate amount" and 17 percent said they used it "occasionally."
The most popular section of the guide, according to the survey, is the departmental listing, which Arizona Student Media will begin posting online later this semester, Edman said.
Arizona Student Media had been producing the guide free of charge, working with a printing company that sold the book's Yellow Pages and shared the revenue with the University, Edman said. When that company said they could no longer afford the partnership, Arizona Student Media put out a new request for proposals for the directory printing and received only one response, which would have offered much less revenue share than in years past, she said.
It was then that a survey was developed to determine whether or not the directory, distributed annually in the fall, was still a useful tool on campus.
Many survey respondents, in an open comments section of the survey, said they rely solely on the online UA phonebook. Several others also said printing of the directory should stop in order to save paper as the University works toward becoming "greener."
"The environmental side has been a regular concern over the past few years," Edman said.
Ryan Windows, UA facilitator in the Dean of Students Office, said he, like many people on campus, uses the online phonebook for his daily communication needs, but he laments the loss of the printed directory as a historical record for the UA.
Windows is responsible for responding to inquiries from members of the UA community and general public on a variety of University topics and said he often turns to printed resources like the directory, the yearbook or the Arizona Daily Wildcat for historical background.
"The thing the paper records were good for was to give you kind of a snapshot of the U of A at that time," he said. "It's going to be a bad thing for trying to preserve the institutional history from this time period."
Those who would still like copies of the current edition of the printed directory, which was distributed in October, can get them by going to the Arizona Student Media offices in the Park Student Union or by calling 621-8659.