This January, students will no longer have to resort to Gmail to send each other the party pictures they don't want to post on Facebook.

Under Bowdoin's new Web-based Microsoft Outlook e-mail system, students will have two gigabytes of storage space, an amount greater than or comparable to many Web-based providers like Google or Yahoo Mail. The new e-mail system also has many other new features, such as a pre-loaded college directory, a personal calendar and scheduling system, and a campus calendar of events.

Chief Information Officer (CIO) Mitch Davis said many features of the new system were a result of the input of students on the CIO Advisory council, which meets weekly with Davis to discuss technological issues pertinent to the student body.

"Innovation doesn't come out of IT," said Davis, explaining the need for a student council. "It comes from the people using the technologies."

Davis said that the students specifically requested an increase in storage space. The current Web mail system provides only 30 megabytes, and students often complained of being unable to send large files over e-mail.

"I think it's way too small," said Justin Strasburger '07. "Unless you're really good about constantly deleting messages it's not enough space."

Another student request was to extend their Bowdoin e-mail accounts further beyond graduation. Currently, graduates' email accounts are deleted six months after graduation.

Under the new system, all students will have their accounts for a year after graduation; after that they will be asked every three months if they would like to continue or cancel their accounts. After two years, all graduates' accounts will become inactive.

Other benefits of the new e-mail service include disaster recovery and redundancy. When the current e-mail system crashes, it is inaccessible until the problem is repaired. The new system has two servers.

"If one dies, the other takes over," Manager of Data Systems Bill Kunitz said. During this time, students and faculty would still be able to access their email accounts.

John Hall '08, who helped test the system, said that while the new system functioned better than the old one on a PC, it was not as much of an improvement when used with a Macintosh. This was due to the fact that messages could not be "previewed" on the same window as the inbox.

Juli Haugen, help desk manager, said that IT is anticipating a smooth transition to the new system, but just in case, IT is making Outlook specialists available on January 17, the day of the transition, to answer any questions.

Davis added that IT will be offering classes next semester that explain the many features of Outlook. IT employees have been testing the new system since mid-summer, and student testing began three weeks ago.

Will Donahoe '08, another of the student-testers and a member of the CIO Advisory council, said that the conversion from Web mail to Outlook went smoothly, and none of his files were lost. He was most excited about the increase in storage space.

"There is finally enough space to store everything," he said.