MLA Post III — Everything You Wanted to Know about IT

The session is Everything you wanted to know about IT. It was an open session for all manner of question for library IT staff. Something we could do at HCPL.

Participants: Lisa McKenney, Allegany Co Public, Karl McFarland, Prince Georges County Library, Michelle Robertson, Anne Arundel Community College, Eli Fulkerson, Eastern Shore Regional Library and moderated by Scott Reinhart of Carroll County Public Library.

First up: What is the toughest thing about managing hundreds of pc’s?

“flip answer” the hundreds who work on them. Real answer: Balancing what they want to do with what we (IT) want them to do on them. Public side: PC’s are kept locked down but staff PC’s are more open and they are able to administer their personal computer. That way they can take some responsibility for their computers so they can learn some things about them. Virus issues are usually captured before they get to the computer. One system reimages their public pc’s twice a year. That process if facilitated by PC being replaced at about the same time.

Next question: Is there something that you deployed that did not work?

First, there was bit of talk about Windows Vista. Some systems deployed it early and found their equipment wanting. They then ramped back to XP and use converters to open Vista documents for clients in some cases.
Allegany IT’s Lisa talked about Face to Face meeting. That was one piece of software that they did not like the way it choked their system when using for more than six users. I really slowed down so they could not use it. They have scrapped using face to face but are trying to use Skype’s services for additional phone connections and are exploring using video conferencing software. They think it is an alternative to Face to Face.

Question: Resolving printer issues.
One way is the old fashioned Ping of the machine, once you know the printer’s IP address. If your basic troubleshooting fails, just inform your IT staff so they can help you further.

Question: How can I get my system to Install Firefox on our machines?
Get support of Admin staff, Come up with things that are better in Firefox than IE. Also, if you don’t have your IT folks on board, work with and possibly around them with vaild reasons for public deployment.

Question: What about staff wanting to use 2.0 tools while IT staff want to be more cautious about use.

One way is to get them on board is to talk about how these tools will help productivity. Talk to them about the benefit of using what the internet has to offer. You can also do this: Tell them “here is this thing we want to do.” Here is a free service that does it. Do you want to do this and can it be done by this date we want to roll it out?”

Question: What is the aversion to macs in the library?

Some systems have a handful of macs dedicated to design work seamlessy working with Win based networks. Also, to date, ILS’s were/are geared to PC based machines. That is changing with the advent of Mac’s and Open Source.

Question: What about an Open source ILS in your library.

Two systems talked about their experience. One reason they switched was the ability to tailor user experience with Open Source. Kent and Howard are going live in two weeks and by Christmas respectivley.
Kent and Howard had the rug pulled out from under them by SirsiDynix and went to move to another service.
Howard is doing some development with an acquisitons system and wants to let customer seek no differfence between book and website.
There are acq. issues, staffing issues, etc with Open ILS’s. Koha needs to work with a multiple branch system. When that happens, that will help acceptance.

Question: Why don’t more systems use IM system wide?

Allegany has used IM for over 6 years. Big system users have accounts. The system director, materials manager, finance, etc. had accounts. They have used IM for material holds (that was the method at that time)
Also great for small systems as an alternative means of communication between branches and through hierarchy. The ability to quickly ask “can you take a call?” via IM to director or finance department saves time and easily increases availability.
Most staff just launch IM when starting their computers and they use AIM. There will be side chatter going on by they have not had many issues with the IM Service.  If you have staff using phones for chatter, they will use IM’s for chatter.  SLRC’s Sights and Sounds at SLRC uses IM for requsting items.

Question:  What are things on the horizon for IT.

Many devices becoming one device, Information directly to the patron in the branch via text. Most Important:  No one knows what is coming down the pike. You have to prepare for it with IT.

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A trainer in Maryland
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