A long awaited Penn State Book Exchange is now up and running.
The book exchange, now live at bookexchange.psu.edu, is the result of an initiative started last year by current University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) Chairman of the Assembly Ralph Crivello. At the time, Crivello was UPUA's academic affairs committee chairman.
"The idea's been tossed around ever since I've been in student government -- really since my freshman year," Crivello said, adding the process was triggered in 2007 when UPUA heard about the University of Michigan starting a similar online book exchange.
While the Web site itself does not provide a mechanism for the exchange of either books or money, it exists to pair buyers and sellers at prices that are negotiable and more agreeable than those of the bookstores on and off campus, Crivello said.
The new site allows students to post books for sale by each book's ISBN, the 10- or 13-digit code generally found above the barcode of a book on its back cover.
Books can be searched by any combination of ISBN, title, author, condition, asking price and the campus where the seller is located.
UPUA will launch a marketing campaign after Thanksgiving break to generate interest in the book exchange, Crivello added.
Access to the book exchange is controlled by WebAccess, the same gateway that controls access to Penn State's Webmail and ANGEL services.
After Penn State's Information Technology Services (ITS) agreed to host and support the Web site, Ian Kellogg (sophomore-electrical engineering) was hired as a student programmer to create the site.
Kellogg produced the first version of the book exchange, which is currently online.
Crivello also credited Kellogg's father, Steven Kellogg, for pushing the project forward.
Steven Kellogg is the director for applied information technologies within ITS.
"He really pushed this from the inside," Crivello said. "He saw the potential for this and saw the student leaders of UPUA could overcome a lot of things that would prevent it from going through."
UPUA Academic Affairs Committee Chairman Matt Smith will oversee the Web site for the remainder of the year.
Smith said that he was pleased with the debut version of the book exchange.
"It's a really robust first version," he said. "It's basically exactly what was asked for by last year's Academic Affairs Committee."
Smith will be responsible for monitoring feedback and implementing changes to the book exchange as it garners more users.
An important part of feedback will be the data from ITS, but it could be some time before there is enough traffic on the site to make changes, he said.