A semantic change is in order for Indiana State University and its ID numbering scheme. Following changes in the university’s “991” numbering system, Indiana State will now use the terms “university ID number” and “university username,” instead of the previously used “student identification number” to clarify its communications across campus.
The change was announced in an email to the campus community this week and will take effect immediately. According to a report from the Indiana Statesman, the email explained that the formerly used “Sycamore ID Number,” or “991,” is now the University ID Number, while the Sycamore Username, Sycamore Login, Portal Login or Sycamore ID will now be known as the University Username.
The semantic changes boil down to the fact that Indiana State is coming to the end of available “991” numbers, with future university ID numbers set to begin with a “992” prefix. However, because students, faculty and staff have grown to colloquially refer to the ID numbers as their “991” numbers, the university is moving now to alleviate possible confusion down the line.
“There is a numbering algorithm in our systems that applies the University ID Number to each student as the student is admitted. Once we are out of’ 991 numbers, the system will just begin to use 992 as the initial three characters of the University ID Number,” said Dr. Lisa Spence, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Information Officer at Indiana State, in an interview with the Statesman.
University officials are using the changeover as an opportunity to agree on consistent terms for the numbering system, and then launch an informative campaign to help the campus community grow accustomed to using the new terms. The change will hopefully alleviate potential confusion about which number is being referenced when students visit a university office, speak with university personnel over the phone, or when staff and faculty are working together.
The habit of using the “991” moniker on Indiana State’s campus is understandable having been in use for some 16 years. According to Spence, the numbering scheme was initially developed to end the use of Social Security Numbers as the identifier for most departments on campus, and alleviate security and identity theft concerns related to openly using a Social Security Number.