Managing Internet OPAC Stations

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This chapter contains some suggestions on how to manage public access to your Internet enabled online catalogue search stations in your library. They are meant as guidelines only, and their efficacy in your library will depend on many factors. Some possible factors that will affect how you manage your search stations are: do you want only Internet browser access to your catalogue, or do you want Internet access limited to a few sites, or do you want access to other applications such as printing, and so on. How you interpret and use these guidelines will be specific to your library’s needs. Finally, depending on how your library network is configured you may need assistance from a system technician or administrator.

Firefox Plugins

There are numerous plugins for Firefox, which could be combined to create a kiosk-like effect.  Clever patrons can still use CTRL-ALT-DEL to cancel the program.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1659

If you need to restrict the workstation to specific websites, we recommend looking into plugins that advertise "parental controls"

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4351

Internet Explorer

Internet Explore is very prone to security problems, however there are various ways to get a kiosk in IE:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154780

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/bb219517.aspx

Locking down Windows

This is possible, but it requires extensive editing of the registry. If you want to lock something specific, and you do not have a system technician available, it's possible to search the Internet for advice and follow the instructions you find, i.e.: "disable control panel".   There are also numerous commercial software packages that do this.

Linux

Implementing Linux on your search stations is also an option. There are various ways that you could do this.  If you use a LiveCD, it still could be possible for the patron to eject the CD and reboot the computer.  A better solution is to install Linux to the hard drive.  This solution provides the maximum lock-down, but is the most difficult to implement.  Here are some of the easier ways to get at this solution:

http://webconverger.org/

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