Library Suggestion Box

The library welcomes all suggestions and encourages everyone to let us know how to improve your experience in the library or in using library resources. (For comments not specific to the library or its resources, there is also a Law School-wide Feedback/Suggestion Box.)

If you would like a personal response from the library, please include your email address. Melanie Dunshee, the Assistant Dean for Library Services, will respond within 2 business days. (View recent responses or Suggestion Box Classics.)

Note: Library Suggestion Box comments must be submitted while on the Duke campus or while connected to the Duke VPN.

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Image from video responseSuggestion: Can we get a fish tank with scuba diving koala bears armed with spears? Can we have strobe lights and techno music at night please?
» View the Video Response

More Classic Suggestions


Recent Responses

Topic: Wish Lists

Suggestion: HDMI cables for the study rooms.  I believe you guys have converters for people who have mac computers, but newer windows based laptops don't have VGA outputs and only have HDMI... we can't plug our computers into the study rooms.

Response: Thank you for your suggestion. Our Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies, Wayne Miller, tells us that changes are coming soon to the library study rooms' technology, which will include a cross-platform wireless connection to the screen – no cables required! Plans call for the work to be completed this summer. In the meantime, Academic Technologies plans to make additional adapters available through the help desk. Bring your computer to the Academic Technologies help desk and staff will be happy to advise. 02/28/2017

Topic: Noise/Behavior

Suggestion: Can you PLEASE move the training sessions in the Fite Room to a different room not on the second (supposedly silent) floor of the library? I don't know what it is about those sessions that makes people so loud, but people are practically yelling as they go in and out of the room and having long drawn out conversations. The instructor voices also clearly emit from the Fite Room to the rest of the second floor. I think the best solution would be to have these sessions in a different room (maybe one of the small 4000 level rooms).

Response: Thank you for writing to the Suggestion Box with your concern. As a working classroom, the Fite Room is also used for class breakouts, seminar classes, meetings, and other training and practice sessions, all of which makes classroom noise an issue beyond the current research database training sessions (Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law). Unfortunately, moving the training sessions to other classrooms is not an option, and indeed there is a shortage of classroom space in the Law School overall.

We describe Level 2 as "quiet," rather than "silent," but even that is not always the case. The several competing uses of Level 2, including classes and meetings in Fite, are not always compatible with silent study. To add to the mix, there are offices on the floor for Law School staff members, and group study rooms that are not soundproof. The printers can also create noise.

We will speak to the trainers and other instructors who use Fite about closing the door and being aware of their volume during sessions, and remind students about noise levels both in the room and when entering and leaving class sessions. We are also working on new library signage to better designate quiet, collaboration and mixed-use zones. In the meantime, Level 1 and Level 4 are good options for quieter work spaces, and headphones are available at the Circulation/Reserve Desk for 4-hour loans. Foam earplugs are also available from the service desk by request. 09/14/2016

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Suggestion Box Classics

Topic: Wish Lists

Suggestion: Can we get a fish tank with scuba diving koala bears armed with spears? Can we have strobe lights and techno music at night please?

Image from video response

Response: View the video response for answers to these burning questions.

Suggestion: We (students) need paper clips and scotch tape available for use 24 hours.
Response: What's a 24 hour library without 24 hour paper clips? Your suggestion is interesting. None of the suggestions regarding our staplers hit upon this non-tech solution. Why not some alternative ways besides staples to hold things together? Paper clips and a giant tape dispenser are now available by the printers at the back of the reading room. We are happy to give you 24 hour access to these small amenities and hope it makes law school life even better.
Suggestion: Increase the temperature in the library, currently it's too cold.

Response: We couldn't agree more! The renovation included a complete replacement of the HVAC system with new temperature and humidity controls. Although you will see many thermostats throughout the space, the temperature is actually controlled by a computer program that adjusts based on several factors, including the temperature of the outgoing air. We have been working with Duke Facilities Management since we moved in to work on better balancing the temperature, and especially in warming up the Reading Room. Hopefully things will get better soon and we continue to monitor this problem. 8/28/2008

Suggestions:
  1. Permanent nap area with bean bag chairs, probably on the first floor so that people aren't tempted to just sit there to talk. I understand that the school might be concerned that this would encourage napping during the day, but people nap all over the place and in much less comfortable positions. This would encourage overall health and stress reduction.
  2. Padded cushions on the chairs in the Christie Jurisprudence Collection room. I love the desk and chairs but feel that people are turned off from the room because the chairs can hurt your butt when sitting there for a while.
Response:
  1. A designated napping area sounds tempting – but we think we might have a hard time turning this dream into reality. Open floor space on Levels 1 and 2 is all close to areas that people walk through regularly and/or must be kept open for access, safety, and maintenance. In addition, given our experience with other moveable library furniture, it would be difficult to police the bean bags’ use exclusively for napping, and also to keep them in the designated area. Finally, we fear that such an area might attract non-law community folks to "camp out" in such a space; as you know, the Law Library is open to the general public and University community during certain hours.
    If you need a quick catnap, we would recommend a comfy chair on Level 2 by the windows. Even better: we encourage our students to head home for their much-needed rest, instead of "living" in the library. As Student Affairs would advise: "Eat, Sleep, Exercise!"
  2. Padded cushions in the Christie Alcove: These chairs and the table are from the original 1930s law library, when students did not have it so "soft." There are many different kinds of "places" in the library so each person can choose what suits them best for their style, or particular mood, or project. Perhaps this room does not accommodate long term study, but it does seem to get used regularly. And from my own experience trying to tie/attach cushions to slippery wooden chairs I know that it does not work well. Fold up a sweatshirt? 10/30/2015
Suggestion: Hello! Can you have some blankets or jackets at the circulation desk that we can check out for a period of time? It is very cold here.

We agree that the temperature in the library (and some of the classrooms, as well) is generally what most people consider too cold. This is a long-standing problem. The Law School renovation in 2007-2008 included a complete replacement of the HVAC system with new temperature and humidity controls. Although you will see many thermostats throughout the space, the temperature is actually controlled by a computer program that adjusts based on several factors, including the temperature of the outgoing air. We have been working with Duke Facilities Management since we moved in to work on better balancing the temperature, and especially in warming up the Reading Room. We're happy to report that recent efforts were successful in getting the temperature increased slightly! We hope you feel the difference.

As to the circulation of blankets and jackets -- do you really want to "share" those with everyone? It seems that this would not be a very healthy solution, since we have no laundry facilities at hand. We hope our new warmer temperature will be enough. 09/10/2015

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Topic: Noise/Behavior

Suggestion: I think it needs to be reinforced that the third floor is for quiet talking. Many of the students and especially the librarians can be quite loud, laughing and speaking at full volume. While I understand [Level 3] is designed not to be a silent floor, it is very distracting and I don't think I should have to choose between complete silence on one of the lower floors or full-volume talking and laughing on the third floor. This is, after all, a library, not a gathering space. Those who want to speak at full volume and laugh and tell stories should go to the Star Commons, not the library.
Response: We appreciate your frustration about inconsistent noise levels on our "talking" floors (Levels 3 and 4). The Law Library has always hoped to provide a variety of study space, where the conversation of study groups can co-exist peacefully among those seeking more traditional library solitude (on the quiet study floors, Level 1 and 2). As you have observed, people in the library can sometimes be louder than one might expect, even on a "talking" floor (where we generally consider "conversation-level" to be the appropriate maximum volume). This is an area in which we have traditionally looked to our collegial community to help self-regulate; if you are ever uncomfortable approaching another library user about a noise issue, please speak with a staff member for help.

A recently-unearthed educational filmstrip from our archive touches upon the noise policy and other common concerns about use of the library. View The Law Library... and You here. 05/04/2010
Suggestion: Would it be possible to please remind students of noise level policies during the exam period? While "conversation level" may be appropriate for levels 3 and 4, it is frequently the case that students are socializing loudly on these floors, distracting those of us who are trying to study. After all, the library does not serve quite the same purpose as Star Commons, or other more social spaces. I think people tend to forget this, and it may be useful to post a sign on the library doors reminding students of the noise policy during this particularly stressful time.
Response: Thank you for raising this issue. Here is the polite reminder (now posted throughout the library): During finals, quiet space is especially prized. The Reading Room is appropriate for low level conversation. All other areas of the library, including alcoves and book stacks, and stairwells are quiet zones. Sound travels far in the library, so protect your privacy and be considerate of others. 12/2011
Suggestion: Are undergrads allowed to use the library outside of the Duke University Community hours? What can I do if I'm studying and there are a bunch of obnoxious freshmen doing biology 101 homework on the 2nd floor while eating Jimmy Johns sandwiches at 8pm on a weekend night? Can we make a rule that bans all textbooks with glossy pictures from the law library?
Response: Thank you for raising this issue. You should report any concerns you have about appropriate conduct or use of the library to the Service Desk so that they can be addressed. Whatever the status of these students, disturbing others and eating in the library is obviously not appropriate.
Duke University Community hours during the semester are the same hours that the service desk is staffed. If staff are not here, you can always talk to those you think are acting inappropriately yourself, being mindful of practicing civility.

Banning glossy picture books? Hmmm, there's an idea. We always thought chemistry textbooks were the key to non-Law School identity... 02/15/2011
Suggestion: I know all too well the dangers of food and drinks in the library, but with proper supervision, it would be neat to do a "coffee hour" program once and a while. It could be as simple as putting some coffee out at the front of the library once a month, or more involved by linking it to an informal conversation with a librarian. Mini-lectures on neat or weird things the librarians or others have come across during research, for example.

Response: The library staff is very flattered that you want to spend more time with us over coffee. Coffee may be just the simple hook that lets everyone know we welcome informal conversation and inquiries even outside the library. As soon as we can come up with weird things and an alliterative name, your suggestion will indeed be implemented. Watch for announcements soon.

If anyone has an alliterative name (but please not weird things) please send it to the Library Suggestion Box.

Suggestion: It would be great if more signs could be put up indicating the quiet floors. I've had to ask people to stop talking a couple of times and it's not fun. It would be great to have them over the tables on the first floor since people tend to study as groups there. Maybe they could be placed in the elevator and doors to those floors. I think the library provides enough space for people who want to have group meetings or like to talk while studying. If you're one of those people who needs quiet, it can be really distracting. Besides... it's still a library. :)
Response: We think that one of the best things about the Goodson Law Library is the mix of spaces for individual and collaborative study, including alcoves, study rooms, tables and carrels of varying sizes. Respecting the different levels of "noise" is important in maintaining this diversity of choices. Permanently posted signs about the quiet areas seem to go unnoticed, and so we generally re-post them right before exams when quiet study space is particularly prized. Because new students are still getting used to the space, your suggestion to post more signs now is a great idea. You will see new signs posted in the areas you describe. 2013
Suggestion: I would greatly appreciate if the library could send out a PSA telling students in the silent area to remove their phones from the desks in the study cubicles. Even though they are on silent, the vibrations are loud and actually rattle all of the connected cubicles. It's incredibly distracting when multiple people have their phones constantly vibrating. It pretty much defeats the purpose of a "quiet study area" because the physical vibration is alarming and also because the cubicles act as a megaphone to the sound associated with the vibration. Thanks in advance!

Response: We appreciate the problem with phones left on unattended work spaces in quiet study areas as we hear them at the service desk often as well (even in the noisy room). I'm perplexed by what to do that will get students' attention about this in an effective way since we know from experience that signs and announcements do not work well. Generally with conduct issues in the library our first suggestion is to encourage students to talk to the person directly and let them know that the noise is louder than they might realize and disturbing your use of the quiet space. Since you don't mention that they are talking on their phones in the quiet areas, is it usually the case that they are not in the cubicle? In that case I think it would be appropriate to move the phone to the seat (although leaving phones unattended is another problematic behavior for the owner!). If there are particular areas of the library that this is happening in, we can try having staff monitor the area and talk to the people as well. 01/23/2014

Suggestion: I would like to inquire whether Goodson library allows food on the second floor. It is getting more common, and it smells a lot during lunch time.

Response: Our food & drink policy is posted on the library website: The Goodson Law Library is designed to provide a comfortable and attractive environment for research and learning. We request your help in maintaining your space. Please keep the library clean and pest-free by properly disposing of trash and recyclables, and by using spill-proof containers for beverages. Food or drink that is stored in the library will be removed. Food attracts insects and pests, which can damage the library’s collection, furniture, and equipment. Spills from uncovered beverages can also create health hazards such as mildew and mold.

As you can see, we do not ban food -- and find it is impossible to police, especially with 24 hour a day use. The Library & Technology Committee will be meeting in March and plan to discuss food and housekeeping in the library. I encourage you to contact one of the student representatives to this committee (3L Ryan Weiss, 2L David Britton, 1L Madelyn Tarr) to let them know about your concerns, and if you have suggestions for addressing it. 02/17/2016

Suggestions: I am writing to request that you enforce the food and drink policy more strictly at the library and/or make cleaning wipes readily available to students. Frequently, I have noticed that the facilities (especially desk surfaces in the 2nd floor cubicles) are filthy. This can be solved in one of two ways. First, you can request more frequent and more thorough cleaning of these facilities. This is probably not the most cost effective and it also coddles the students who are not living up to our community standards. Second, you can more vigilantly enforce our policy, which is quite reasonable to begin with. This is more cost effective and it would also provide an opportunity for students (who are actual adults) to take responsibility for their own messes. If it is not solved, it can at least be mitigated by easy access to antibacterial wipes. First, this would hopefully encourage these perpetrators (who probably do not mean to harm the community) to take cleanliness into their own hand. Second, it would at least provide offended students such as myself with a way to swiftly resolve the problem. Thank you.

Response: We appreciate your concern for the problem with cleanliness and trash in the library, a concern that we share and have found a complicated dilemma to solve over the years. We face the reality that the constant use of the library, including times when staff are not here, inevitably means food will be ever-present. The library necessarily relies on cooperation by users of our space to clean up after themselves and take care of the space for everyone's enjoyment. Housekeeping staff are instructed not to move items in the carrels (so as not to be accused or liable should anything go missing or be damaged) and so the carrels won't be cleaned if students do not put things on the top shelf or throw away their trash.

Responding to your suggestion, we will:

  • Provide antibacterial wipes at the recycling/trash areas throughout the library (these should be in place at the end of the week) [UPDATE 02/22/2016: the wipe containers have been regularly removed from the library by unknown persons; the library is currently investigating options for a more secure dispenser.]
  • Continue to work with housekeeping staff to ensure cleaning standards are met
  • Post reminders in the carrels about our policy (below) emphasizing cleaning up after yourself, and the location of the antibacterial wipes.

Below is our policy, as posted on our website: "The Goodson Law Library is designed to provide a comfortable and attractive environment for research and learning. We request your help in maintaining your space. Please keep the library clean and pest-free by properly disposing of trash and recyclables, and by using spill-proof containers for beverages. Food or drink that is stored in the library will be removed." 11/17/2015

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Topic: Building Access

Suggestion: l would feel safer with more security as non-students often frequent the library after hours in the late evening.

Response: Security is an important issue to the Goodson Law Library and Duke Law School. In response to your suggestion, we have had several meetings with law school administrators and our campus police contact to determine how we can improve security and safety in the building. Look for more information about these efforts soon in the Duke Law Daily and Goodson Blogson. Most importantly, if you feel unsafe, please report your concerns to the Service Desk in the library; after staff hours, call campus police. More information (including campus police phone numbers) and a Safety Tips card are available at the Service Desk. You may be interested to know a few things that are in current practice:

  • Campus police regularly walk through the building and library. In order to make these scans less predictable, there is not a set schedule.
  • Law School staff do daily walk-throughs of the building at the end of the workday to check for facility and safety issues.
  • The Library access and hours policy will be more prominently posted at various places giving public patrons better notice of these rules: The Goodson Law Library welcomes visitors to use our library during general public hours from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. At all other times, only current Duke Law or University students, faculty, and staff are authorized to be in the Law School building. You may be asked to show identification or to leave the building. 10/2012
Suggestion: The exit-only doors on the second floor should allow you to enter the library too. Currently, if I am on the second floor outside the library and want to study on the second floor inside the library, I have to go upstairs and back downstairs.

Response: The Library Suggestion Box appreciates your inconvenience and perhaps frustration, and so hopes to persuade you that the inconvenience is outweighed by other concerns. There are two exit doors coming out of the library into the area by the cafe on Level 2 and not being sure which one you are thinking about, let me clarify. The one on the right is a typical emergency exit out, with no handle for going in from the outside. The one on the left is the entrance to the Library Technical Services staff work area and offices. Since having folks walk by your desk or have access to your work area 24 hours a day is easy to understand as a justification for limiting egress, I assume you must mean the other door. (As the work on finishing the renovation continues, you will see some construction contractors using this entrance.)

You likely have experienced the "one entrance" structure in almost all libraries. It is standard practice among research libraries to use a single entrance in order to increase the safety of people in the building and ensure the security of the valuable collections. This is particularly important with a 24 hour operation. There are at least two emergency exit doors on each floor of the library and I am sure that several of them would be convenient for some part of our community to enter the library and so begins the slippery slope. If level 2, why not level 4? In this particular Level 2 location, the temptation to buy lunch and bring it immediately into the library would be hard to resist as well. It seems to me it would be a shame to risk the safety of our community, or put our spectacular new library space at risk for food hungry rodents and bugs and damage to the furnishings, for the convenience of multiple entries.

We sincerely appreciate your cooperation and hope that somehow the additional exercise can be viewed as an added benefit instead of inconvenience. 9/18/08

Suggestion: You may have realized that the main doors to the new library make a lot of noise when opened. I found the noise highly distracting. It would be a pity to let such a beautiful and otherwise tranquil space be ruined by this sound.
Response: Several others have echoed your plea, but your last sentence is especially eloquent. We do understand the problem and the architects will be reviewing the installation with us when they visit during the next week. In the meantime, if the noise is distracting I hope you can find a quieter spot, perhaps in the new carrels on level 2 just down the stairs, where there are now big windows and much more light. 8/29/08

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Topic: Uninvited Guests

Suggestion: Hi, there are a lot of ants crawling on the study carrels on the lowest floor of the library, making them impossible to study in. Please hire an exterminator or have them sprayed soon. Thank you!

Suggestion: There are ants crawling all over most of the study carrels on the bottom (silent) floor of the library near the journal offices. They are absolutely infested, and there isn't even food being stored there. Please get an exterminator to come in or something to get rid of the ants because it's impossible to work there. Many desks are littered with dead ants, and others are crawling with them. After the library construction that got rid of the quiet study carrels on the 2nd floor and moved them near the library staff offices (where it is loud because employees are talking) there is nowhere silent to read in the library anymore, with the bottom floor unusable due to an infestation. Thank you.

Suggestion: I would like to report that the area around my carrel has often had an ant problem. I never eat any food in the library but I realized that they are attracted by water (a fresh paper cup with distilled water would attract them). I had since then kept all my waters sealed, but I think they are settled around here now. I think the ants crawl inside via the window closest to my carrel - you can still see about a dozen dead ants on that window sill. I reported this ant problem to a cleaner I saw here on Dec 22nd (the fact that I was here on Dec 22nd shows how much I love spending time here!), but I don't know if she told you about it or if you plan to deal with the ant problem. I still got a few ants crawling over my arm as I was at my carrel yesterday.

Response: Thank you for reporting this. The Law School has been experiencing an ant infestation in many locations for the past few months, primarily inside the library, and it does not seem to be related directly to food. (Reportedly, it is also happening in other places on Duke's campus.) The exterminator has been here on many occasions, and our Building Manager continues to submit requests for exterminator services when new ant activity is reported. The exterminator tells us that it will take some time to clear them all out. We are also working with the our Building Manager and housekeeping staff to clean up the dead ants. Please continue to report ant problems (including specific locations) to the Library Suggestion Box, the library service desk, or to our Building Manager, Catherine Hall. We appreciate getting information so we can continue to keep up as much as possible with outbreaks. 02/17/2016

Topic: Technology

Suggestion: Move the power outlets in the first floor carrels to a more convenient spot in the carrels. As they are now, you have to crawl under the desk to plug in a power cord.

Image from video response

Response: Providing convenient access to power in a building designed long before the era of laptop computers is challenging. Several years ago, the Library was rewired to bring power to the table tops in the reading room and at the Level 1 carrels in response to this need. As you might surmise, the Level 1 carrels were originally designed in 1994 for desk top computers. We agree that refitting them for power at the desk top for laptops was long overdue. View the video response to witness the development of this project.

Suggestion: The computers in the 3rd floor loggia (near room 3043) do not print to the law school printers.
Response: Your wish is our command! All law school public computers, including the 3rd floor loggia and lookup stations in the library, should be able to print to the law school printers using ePrint. Thank you for pointing out this odd situation. Actually, it seems quite strange to the Suggestion Box that no one has pointed this out before in the past year.
Suggestion: Why are there now fewer computers in the carrels on the second floor? Why do the new computers take SO LONG to long in (sometimes up to 10 minutes--I've timed it), or often have errors like "Network Accounts are Unavailable." With fewer computers, long log in periods, and more errors, there are not many places to go for computer access without schlepping your personal laptop back and forth to the law school every day. At least let us know if more computers are on the way, and if you will be fixing some of the delays soon (or how we can troubleshoot problems).
Response: Academic Technologies has fixed extremely long login times on some of the Windows computers. Thank you to the students who alerted us!
We have been asked a number of questions about these computers. This fall, we reduced the number from 32 to 14 because they were not being heavily used. Even with 14, we are seeing just 4 to 6 logins per computer per day, and less than an hour of use per login on average. We also used this opportunity to bring in Apple iMacs. Half are Mac OS computers and the other half are running Windows. Look at the keyboard to see which operating system is running – the Windows iMacs have Dell keyboards. 10/2012
Suggestion: I appreciate your sign in the 2nd floor carrels asking students to comply with staff requests if they are not actively using the computers. Maybe more students would actively use the computers if it didn't take NINE minutes for it to login. By that point I have usually given up and started reading my text book (after a bathroom trip and sometimes even walking all the way to my locker and coming back). For the last three days the computers were logging in in less than 60 seconds. And then today--bam!--back to 9 minutes. WHYYYYYYYYYY
Response: Thank you for reporting the unpredictable login times on our Level 2 library carrel computers. Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies Wayne Miller told us, "We are investigating this report. We do see some slow boot times in our tests, and are trying to determine the circumstances under which they occur. Usually restarting the computer (using the start button behind the left-hand side of the screen unit; hold it in for 5 seconds) will take care of the slow boot time."

While Academic Technologies investigates the problem, please continue to report any issues with the carrel computers. We are sorry for your inconvenience and appreciate your bringing the problem to our attention. 02/12/2013
Suggestion: Library printer 2B is ALWAYS jamming lately. Please fix it. As we get closer to finals, it seems like all of the printers start to die... just adding to everyone's stress even more.

Response: We understand that stress levels are high toward the end of the semester, and certainly do not want to compound them with technology concerns. Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies Wayne Miller assures the Library Suggestion Box, "We are addressing our maintenance practices to be sure as exams approach that any maintenance problems are addressed quickly. Printer logs do not indicate that printer 2B is jamming more frequently than other printers, but we will watch closely."

Please report printer problems to the Academic Technologies Help Desk as soon as possible. Best of luck on your finals! 11/16/2012

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Topic: Library Borrowing

Suggestion: The idea of anonymous recalls strikes me as a little unfair...apparently books can be recalled for a date earlier than they are normally supposed to be due?

Response: Circulation policies can be confusing and do vary among the Duke libraries as well. For law books, our policy on loans is posted for your reference:

In sum, this is how it works:

  • You are always guaranteed to have a book for two weeks.
  • The loan period is generally 4 weeks for law books that circulate, and you can renew books if no one else has requested it.
  • Recalling a book that is checked out is open to everyone, not any special class of patron. It is a way to share limited items among many who all want the same thing without making value judgments. This benefits you in the long run as well, since if someone has checked out a book you want, you can recall it too.
  • We protect our patrons privacy and thus do not reveal to others what items you check out. (Incidentally this is required by North Carolina law too)

I hope this helps you better understand our circulation policies and if you have any further questions please ask the circulation staff at the help desk. 9/3/08

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