Library Technical Requirements
Following is a set of questions concering *existing* deployment information for libraries that are interested in installing the Library GPII System. Currently we are assuming they are largely Windows based, but if other platforms are being used they can be swapped in to the answers.
If you are answering these questions, please add any additional information you think may be useful. Not all these questions may apply to your setup. If there are details of your setup which aren't covered below, but you think may be useful for this project, please include them.
- What versions of Windows and other operating systems are you using for your workstations and library servers? Note: We learned at ALA Midwinter 2014 that public libraries are moving to tablets, and at least some are moving rapidly in that direction. How will this affect our development plan? Steve noticed that the librarians themselves all seemed to be using iPads (whether this reflects in-library tech choices is not clear), and so far little has been done to build GPII on iOS.
- Are your workstations deployed homogeneously, or is there a heterogeneous mixture? (ie. Does every workstation that patrons use run the exact same image). Note: similarly here -- would a move to tablets break the link to the library network? In one scenario, a public access tablet would be used with the library's open wifi to access the Internet or the library catalogue (although users might not be able to load apps); only e-readers and tablets used for e-reading would have any library-specific technical constraints and connectivity.
- How often do you refresh, or reset the images on your workstations?
- How often do you install patches and upgrades to your workstations?
- What software do you use to flash workstation images and deploy patches/upgrades?
User Auth & Accounts
- Does your library currently allow patrons to log in with an account, or do all users operate anonymously as guests? ( or do you support both? ) Note: this may be different for different library functions. For example, using a computer for public Internet access may not require logging in (although reserving a machine may!); reserving or checking out library materials probably does. Do we want to delve deeper here? That is, do we want to create a list of relevant library functions and find out the distribution of requirements and methods?
- When a user is done with a workstation, how is the users session ended? (ie. User logs out, machine image is refreshed, nothing is done, etc) Note: in either case, GPII should respond appropriately, right? We should support whatever they already do.
- If you support user logins, what method is used for logging in? (ie. username/password prompt, barcode reader, nfc tag, retina scan, etc)
- If you support user logins, what back end method do you use for provisioning users, and how do users initially obtain an account? (ie. University CAS, local LDAP, etc).
TechSoup 2010 article on security software for public computers; points to former dominance of SteadyState, a free MS utility, which may not have been updated for Windows 7 and beyond. The article also goes into technical details about system resets, etc. and has a long list of products. Techsoups's main page on public computing also has good details, including the technologies that Techsoup has available (they get stuff from companies and give or sell at low price to non-profits like libraries).
Envisionware seems to be the market leader in managing public computers in libraries. It lets you reserve a machine, times the length of your session, etc. Possible accessibility problems; I am trying to get answers (2/27/14 lm for several, including Laura Weaver, AA to Mike monk, CEO). They do RFID.
- Which accessible technology software packages do you currently make available to users? Please list all types, screen readers, magnifiers, etc.
- Are these packages available on only a subset of workstations, or on all workstations?
- How do you current license these packages? Per-seat? Annual pricing? Note: NY Public Library and Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh have site-wide licenses for JAWS and Magic; any workstation. Other libraries probably have this too.
- Do you currently have any hardware-based ATs available to patrons?
- Do you permit patrons with disabilities to use their own AT (e.g., portable AT software, typically on USB)?
The Dashboard has some pointers to AT lists at some of the libraries we're in touch with. There is no agreed-upon list of what a library should have, although all would agree that a screen reader is #1. The problem most libraries encounter is that they usually buy via special grant funding. When that's spent there is no $$ for updates or new products. Screen readers in particular get old quickly, as updates are always straining to stay compatible with the latest web technologies.
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