Our computers are intended for multimedia projects and not general computing or productivity. You must have a media project to use our workstations. Computers for general computing and productivity are located elsewhere in the library.
All Brandeis community members can log into our iMacs using their Brandeis ID. This will create a temporary workspace for media files, etc. In order to keep our computers running at peak performance levels, we delete these workspaces at midnight every Sunday. You must move any important files to a secure location before then.
If you will be working on a long-term multimedia project, we can provide you with networked storage through our high-bandwidth EditShare server. You can access this storage from any computer within the lab.
Before returning equipment, be sure to offload the contents of any memory cards we have provided, as we wipe all data from these memory cards upon return.
We do have some external hard drives and flash drives available for borrowing. These are primarily available to help you transfer files from our computers; they circulate within the lab only and are not available for long-term loan. For long-term storage, we recommend that you request space on our EditShare server or purchase your own storage device.
We offer a wide range of audio and video equipment for patrons at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, as well as a training program that allows all community members to develop to the next skill level:
Level I: General access: Our standard equipment comprises audio recorders, video camcorders, tripods, and microphones. This equipment does not require any reservation or certification to use; just swing by SIMS during our regular hours and ask what we have available. You can use our standard equipment for just about everything: video projects for language classes, interviews, and music recording, for example.
Level II: Limited access: Since our stock of this equipment is more limited, it must always be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. It also requires certification at the intermediate level, which may be arranged by appointment.
Level III: For special projects: Certification at this advanced level may generally be arranged only by patrons who have prior experience with our Level II equipment, or who have received equivalent instruction in a class. Requests must always be made 24 hours in advance. As our stock of this equipment is the most limited, we may occasionally need to substitute Level II or Level I equipment when fulfilling orders.
Please see Help and Training for more information.
All Level I equipment can be borrowed on a first-come, first-served basis whenever SIMS is open. For all levels, you must have your Brandeis ID to check out equipment. Unless otherwise specified by our staff, equipment circulates for a period of 3 days, after which it must be returned.
Loaned equipment cannot be taken out-of-state without prior authorization from the lab supervisor, who may advise you to purchase short-term insurance, especially if you plan to borrow Level II or Level III equipment. Just one of these cameras or lens packages might cost you up to $5,000 if it is lost or damaged. Production insurance, which covers you for up to $15,000, is typically a good deal, especially if you have been approved to use our equipment for an extended period of time. You can get insurance from College Student Insurance or National Student Services, Inc.
Current Brandeis students, faculty, and staff always receive priority in the use of our equipment. Supporting members of the Brandeis Alumni Association may also request equipment, once their card has been activated in the library circulation system. Access to equipment for alumni will normally be limited to Level I, with exceptions allowed for those alumni who went through our training program as Brandeis students.
Level I equipment can be picked up and returned at any time when the lab is open.
Level II and Level III equipment is generally more available for pickup on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pickups during evening and weekend hours are only possible if you have reserved the equipment in advance and received approval. Requests are reviewed and approvals are issued during the weekdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., so please plan ahead, especially for weekend shoots--equipment requested after 4 p.m. on Friday may not be ready for pickup before 4 p.m. on Monday.
Equipment must only be left with SIMS employees. If the lab is closed when you arrive, or no one is at the staff desk, please do not leave your items at our staff desk, or elsewhere with the library staff. Doing so will result in a strike for neglect of equipment, in addition to another strike if the item is late.
Though we endeavor to maintain all equipment in good working condition, it is the responsibility of the patron borrowing equipment to inspect and test items before taking them out into the field. We recommend that you leave time to inspect items when you arrive for pickup. Our staff will assist in any inspection upon request, and either make note of any defects or provide a substitute item. You may be held liable for any damage to equipment that is discovered after you return it.
Most of our items have a unique barcode and can be returned independently of other loaned items. However, any partial returns (e.g. a camera without a charger, a Zoom recorder without headphones) will not be accepted. In the case of a partial return, you can choose to leave the item(s) with us until the missing parts are found, but you will continue to accrue fines for that item until all parts are returned.
If an item is returned damaged, and the equipment inspection deems you liable, you are expected to either purchase a new item or pay for the repairs for that item. These fines are not charged through your library account; you are expected to pay them out-of-pocket. If you fail to pay for the damage, we may notify the Campus Police or the Dean of Students. We expect payment for repairs or replacements to be made with a reasonable timeframe.
If you fail to return an item for more than a week past its due date, it will be declared lost and you will be assessed a replacement fee and a lost item processing fee. In cases like this, you are encouraged to contact the Manager of SIMS, who may at his discretion waive the processing fee and allow you to purchase a replacement item.
Many of our items cost hundreds of dollars, and some of them cost thousands of dollars. We may contact the Campus Police and the Dean of Students in cases where items of this value have not been returned and we have not heard from you.
We expect all items to be returned in the same state as they were checked out; otherwise, you may be assessed a fine. Please coil all cables neatly and hand any barcoded batteries and memory cards back to our staff. All kits should be broken down, and organized the way the were when you received them; do not return equipment in a half-assembled state.
Equipment cannot be renewed the same way as books. All renewal requests must be reviewed and approved. You can submit a renewal request via our website. Until a renewal request is approved, the original due date remains in effect and overdue fines will accrue.
Ordinarily, equipment may be renewed for up to a week, depending on the current demand. If you need to use equipment continuously over a longer period, such as an entire semester, we recommend purchase your own (we typically order from B&H Photo/Video).