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  August 28, 2000

Web-based E-Mail, Phone Book, Easier to Use

Your UConn email is now accessible anytime, from anywhere, and sending attachments is easy.

With the launch this summer of a web-based interface, students, faculty and staff can now read their mainframe account e-mail through any web browser on any PC connected to the Internet. Uconn WebMail also allows users to open attachments with appropriate software, such as Word and WordPerfect.

And the web-based system has added security to the UConn e-mail infrastructure.

"When people go to the URL of the web-interfac e," says Robert Miller, the University Computer Center's manager for support services, "they are prompted for their account ID and their password. The e-mail that comes to their browser is encrypted and secure.

"This is the first time we have been able to provide that kind of security for our e-mail users," he says.

Sometime in the spring semester another feature will be added. "The next iteration will use IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)," Miller says, "a method of accessing electronic mail kept on a mail server. Users will be able to have individual mailboxes for their accounts, and to create directories within an account," he says.

UConn WebMail is the solution that comes in response to difficulties experienced by faculty, students and staff at various UConn campuses in communicating with one another electronically. Opening e-mail attachments, differences in various e-mail systems, such as Eudora, Pegasus and others, and other communications issues were at the core of the problem, according to Nick Lovelace, manager of the Help Desk at the computer center.

"We met with many people at the main campus and the regional campuses to hear about the problems and to hear what people could recommend as solutions," said Lovelace.

Initially, staff of the computer center looked at using the e-mail client within the Netscape Communicator as a standard e-mail system for the University. But while looking at that option, they found an even better solution in a web-based interface.

Training sessions for using UConn WebMail have been held for nearly 1,000 new students through the First Year Experience program, and additional sessions are scheduled for students, faculty and staff from September into next spring.

Sessions on using the Netscape e-mail client also are being held, to teach users how to configure it for POP (Post Office Protocol) mail.

A drawback to this method is that users can only access their mail from one PC.

Also new over the summer is a revised on-line e-mail and telephone directory, found at the URL

In addition to a more attractive presentation of search information, the new version offers more information. If a search resulted in more than 25 matches for a particular name, for example, the old directory would display what was essentially an error message, with no names or addresses at all. The new directory offers up to 250 matches, which - even for the most common names - means a search will present most if not all of the entries for that name.

Mark J. Roy