Media Labs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the Media Labs?

    The Perry-Castañeda Library and Fine Arts Library Media Labs provide hardware and software for students, faculty and staff to create audio, video, still and 3D animation projects. Located on the entry levels of PCL and FAL, the labs are open the same hours as the libraries. The equipment is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Staff help is also available during specified hours.

    Library Hours

  2. What if I’m not a current student, faculty or staff member? Can I still use the Media Lab computers?

    Library users who are not current University of Texas at Austin students, faculty and staff will not be able to log on to the Media Lab computers.

  3. Are there times when the Media Labs are not accessible?

    Instructional use of the Media Labs has first priority. Library-sponsored classes are taught in the Media Labs.  During these times users not associated with the class will be asked to leave the lab. 

  4. I just need to check my email and browse the web, can I use a Media Lab computer?

    The Media Lab computers are not intended for general computing activities such as word processing, web browsing or email. The computers in the lobby and main computer labs are available for general purpose computing, and also include specialized applications such as Adobe CS6, Matlab and ArcGis. Those who need to use the software and hardware found only on the Media Lab computers have priority use status. When all of the Media Lab computers are in use and a wait for access exists, those not utilizing the specialized applications will be asked to leave. 

  5. What if I forget to take my files with me?

    Files saved to the Media Lab computers will be deleted periodically. There is no guarantee your files will be recovered if you forget to save them to an external location prior to leaving the lab. Please save your work regularly to an external drive or cloud account. The University of Texas Libraries is not responsible for lost or damaged files. It is recommended that work is saved early and often.

  6. I need to use a DVD drive. How do I get one? Do you have other peripherals?

    External USB Apple SuperDrives (which can read and write both DVDs and CDS) are available for checkout from the library’s Check Out Desk during the hours the library is staffed. You can also check out headphone splitters if you are working on a group project.

  7. How long can I use a computer in the Media Lab?

    Computers in the Media Labs may be used by an individual or group for segments of time up to 4 hours in duration.  At the end of 4 hours of continuous use the user will automatically be logged off of the Media Lab computer.  Users are not allowed to use more than one Media Lab computer at a time.  During busy times, users will need to sign in to the waitlist adjacent to the lab and will be notified when a computer becomes available. 

  8. I'm having a problem with a piece of software in the Media Lab. How can I get help?

    A Lab Assistant will gladly help with any software issues you are having. If an assistant is unavailable or you are working in the lab after normal work hours you can consult our Tutorials page or visit the Computer Help Desk in PCL 2.200 for login / performance issues.

  9. I’m not sure where to start. Can you help me decide what software I should use for my project?

    The Media Lab software page will help you get started. If you are still undecided after looking at the software page, please consult with a Media Lab Assistant.

  10. Are there any software restrictions in the Media Labs?

    All software installed on the Media Lab computers is licensed for use on the Media Lab computers only. Software may not be copied or otherwise transferred to personal computers. Software may not be installed by users either by downloading or from external media.

  11. I have a plugin I need to install and the Media Lab computer won’t let me install it. Is there anything I can do?

    If you think a change should be made to the Media Lab computers, please let a Lab Assistant know. You can also speak with a staff member at the library’s Research Help & Check Out Desk. Once we have your recommendation we’ll see what we can do.


  • Copyright and Fair Use: Use of copyrighted materials in the Media Labs is subject to all applicable laws including provisions for Fair Use. Use of the Media Labs to make full-length copies of copyrighted materials is prohibited.  
  • Commercial Use: The Media Labs are for instructional use only.  Commercial use of the hardware and software is prohibited. 
  • Faculty/Instructor Lab Use: To accommodate all of our users, faculty and instructors using the Media Lab for course related instruction will be limited to 3 reservations per semester. Faculty and instructors should feel free to use the lab facilities at other times, but should note that the space will be open and accessible to other patrons during that time.

UT Libraries Computer and Network User Policy

The University of Texas Acceptable Use Policy