The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has added several new features to its website, Harvard Gateways ("www.haa.harvard.edu"). Among the additions is the Alumni Conference Center, which consists of both bulletin boards and "conference rooms" (a Harvard euphemism for the more popular "chat room"). Readers unfamiliar with Internet lingo need have no fear: these on-line elements are aptly named. Bulletin boards are much like those you remember around campus: someone posts a message, and others then visit and post responses, creating a "virtual" discussion. Users may also create their own bulletin boards on topics of their choice. Conference rooms function as an on-line event, requiring your presence in "real time." Access to these new venues requires registration with Post.Harvard, the HAA's e-mail aliasing service (see "Forward Through Harvard," January-February 1998, page 87), in order to keep the community strictly Harvardian.
For sports fans, HAA Gateways now offers, in collaboration with WHRB, live feeds of Harvard-Radcliffe sports broadcasts via the Web. (The broadcasts will be saved and archived for a week--convenient for post-game downloading by surfers residing in incompatible time zones.) Eventually the HAA hopes to use the same technology to offer everything from Commencement day proceedings to select lectures and talks delivered throughout the year around the University.
Video (with accompanying audio) is also available through Harvard Gateways. The first video offering is in the form of three-minute clips from A College in a Yard, itself an adaptation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences's CD-ROM, Access to Harvard. Video, however, can be unwieldy for users who have differing web-browsing software and helper applications. For the moment, the HAA is making every effort to deliver video in the most universally amenable formats, and looking ahead to new and more user-friendly technologies.