University of Iowa tosses out physical phone books

It is a stack of paper that we are all familiar with and has been delivered to our doorsteps for some time. However, it would seem that the age of the phone book has come and gone as the ability to look up phone numbers and company information can now be handled easily thanks to smartphones and wireless internet.

This is what is happening at the University of Iowa as school officials announced this week they are eliminating the physical phone directory, according to the campus newspaper The Daily Iowan. In preparation for the decision, the Office of Student Life is surveying deans and directors, asking if they use the physical directory. While responses are still being gathered, early indication is that usages is way down, with some saying they haven't used it in years.

This is all part of a larger plan to increase the recycling proficiency of the university, Liz Christiansen, the director of UI Office Sustainability told the news source. Currently, the college recycling efficiency rate is at 30 percent and by 2020, the school has a goal of 60 percent.

"We really need everybody to contribute to reducing our waste," Christiansen said. "[Going completely online with the UI directory] is a great step toward that. Students are getting comfortable online, and this is a great step."

Many professors have also gotten on board to help with this goal by providing readings, homework and other paperwork online.

While these are solid step into the digital realm, to go truly wireless, the school will need to add a document scanning and management system to ensure all paperwork that is currently in physical form is included in the transition.


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