Lab Workstations and Data Storage
Our lab workstations 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. We maintain a uniform suite of software across all of our workstations. Installation of additional software is not permitted.
All Brandeis community members can log into our workstations using their Brandeis ID. This will create a temporary workspace but you should not expect any files you save to remain there after you log out. These workspaces are not backed up and should not be used for critical data. Moreover, they are regularly purged of files to keep the computers running at peak capacity.
By logging into EditShare Connect from any of our workstations, all community members may access the Media Sandbox space on our media server and securely save files there. This server allows you to move freely among our workstations, as the files are accessible from all of them. Patrons may also request their own private or collaborative space on the EditShare server by filling out this form.
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.
Equipment Levels and Training Requirements
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 1: 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 2: Limited access: Since our stock of this equipment is more limited, we recommend you reserve it at least a day in advance. It also requires certification at the intermediate level, which may be arranged by appointment.
Level 3: 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. Items must be reserved at least a day in advance.
Please see Help and Training for more information.
Loans and Returns
All Level 1 equipment can be either be booked in advance or or borrowed on a walk-in basis SIMS is open. Level 2 & 3 equipment must always be booked at least 2 hours ahead of time. 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.
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 may result in fines for neglect of equipment, in addition to any fines that may have accrued if items are late.
Loaned equipment cannot be taken out-of-state without prior authorization from the Director of SIMS, 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. Limited access to equipment may be provided to alumni by special arrangement with the Director of SIMS, depending on supply and demand and user proficiency.
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.
Overdue equipment will accrue late fees of $5 per day for each kit.
"Kits" are defined as sets of equipment items that are loaned out together. These items may be returned independently of one another, but late fees will accrue on any items that have not been returned when the due date passes.
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. 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 Director of SIMS, who may at his discretion waive the processing fee and allow you to purchase a replacement item.
You will be blocked from borrowing equipment from SIMS when charges on your account exceed $50.
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 or inquire with our staff at the desk. Until a renewal request is approved, the original due date remains in effect and overdue fines will accrue. Renewal requests will not be approved if the equipment is already overdue; you must submit your request before the equipment is due for return.
Ordinarily, we will only extend equipment loans for another three or four days. 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).
New reservations for equipment that has been on loan for a full week generally will not be approved until after a three-day period has elapsed. In other words, you cannot return equipment and then immediately check it back out. This policy helps ensure that equipment remains circulating, as our inventory is limited and in demand by numerous patrons.