Online directory replaces printed campus phonebook

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The Centrex has been recycled.

After decades of dog-eared service, the print edition of the UNL phone directory is now on the Web as the UNL Directory. Incorporating the Centrex's white and yellow page listings, the UNL Directory is an upgrade from PeopleFinder, the university's old online directory, which only listed faculty and staff phone numbers. The new directory is available at

"This change is part of a budget reduction by Information Service," said Neil Wineman, telecommunications manager. "We save roughly $50,000 annually in printing costs by putting the directory completely online."

The Internet and Interactive Media team in University Communications developed the new UNL Directory. Enhancements from PeopleFinder include expanded search options and an easier editing process, said Brett Bieber, web programmer/analyst for University Communications.

"The editing process, which previously used cards sent annually through the mail, is now all done electronically," said Bieber. "Personnel job listings are updated daily. And, yellow page listings are updated immediately after edits are entered."

SAP coordinators in campus departments control edits to the UNL Directory.

"We suspect folks will look at the listings and want to make changes," said Bieber. "If there is an issue, employees should contact their SAP coordinator or Linda Geisler, who is the editor of the directory."

Filters added to the online directory make it easier to search through individual campus departments. The searches also work if only a portion of a name or department is entered.

While space issues limited Centrex listings, the UNL Directory allows for the use of employee nicknames, and can list multiple job appointments and named professorships.

Each employee listing includes a link to a campus map, identifying building locations. And, employee icons/photos used in Planet Red accounts ( can be pulled into the UNL Directory listings.

The individual employee listings also include a QR Code that can be used by smart phone owners.

"The new UNL Directory is more robust than the old Centrex," said Wineman. "It's a nice upgrade."

The switch to an online directory mirrors a national trend among universities and some business sectors, said Wineman.

"We did some informal polling of peers and other organizations, and the trend is moving away from a printed phone directory," said Wineman.

In Nebraska alone, the University of Nebraska Medical Center no longer prints a phone directory; the University of Nebraska at Kearney also opted not to print this year; and the State of Nebraska is only printing yellow pages this year, then going paperless in 2011.

The new UNL Directory has been online since mid-November. Bieber, who crafted the original PeopleFinder program, said the new system has been integrated with minimal problems.

- Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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