Posted tagged ‘IT’

Computer Lock Down

September 16, 2008

On the e-mail list for the consortia there’s been quite a few people recently asking about whether libraries should allow patrons Flash drives/portable hard drives/floppies/cd-roms on public workstations.  Yes there’s a security consideration to be had, yes you could be opening up your computers to viruses.  But if you’re online you’re already at risk.  

Locking down the machines to such an extent is just crippling the computer to prevent the computers from getting crippled.  Besides we’re supposed to be providing the best service possible to our patrons.  Preventing them from being able to work with our equipment is not that.

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Two Days of Angst

September 12, 2008

This week had a really rough ending for me.  On Thursday we were without internet for about 4 or 5 hours consortia wide.  Then today 4 of our computers that are configured slightly differently than the rest only had intermitant access, with no discernable explaination.  So I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two days talking to tech support people and network administrators (who still seem to feel that our problems today were due to 4 simultaneous network card failures).

Frustration abounded.  The network people had no idea why things weren’t working, I couldn’t find anything wrong on my end, and everyone else in the building, both staff and patrons, were annoyed that there were no explainations to be had from any of us (and no idea when things would get fixed).

And then I saw this great little article on how to talk to your IT person, and it just sumed up an awful lot of the last two days for me.

T.G.I.F.

What is Technical Services?

August 20, 2008

I just got back from the most well attended tech services meeting I’ve ever been to, and it was a really good one.  But I think what I found most fascinating this time around was discovering the huge variety in job descriptions that the various attendees had (a few of us are planning to swap them over e-mail now actually).  At the meeting were librarians responsible for:

cataloging

mending

collection development

acquistions

administration

IT

serials

archiving

and actually two library directors, who also dabble in tech services work.

Granted I do or have done nearly everything on that list at some point, but it’s really amazing to me when you hear that the work done by your entire department (and a few people elsewhere in the library) is done by a single person at another library (who has my sympathy).  I don’t think I’m going to complain about being overworked ever again.

What’s In a Name

May 24, 2008

I don’t think I’m complaining about anything new, but I am a little tired of my job being called technical services.  I think more in a profession wide sense than withing my own library as I actually do most of the computer work in the building.  However, those responsibilities sort of grew organically when people came to realize my own capabilities.  My day to day job is as a cataloger, and I find it really annoying whenever I receive a tech support call from a patron, and it’s not like I can blame them since withing any other context I would certainly ask someone with the word “technical” in their job title for website help (incidentally, one of the techie functions I’m not actively involved with).

I know I’m not alone with these pet peeves.  The MLA’s technical services section has been dealing with the issue for years, in regards to being stuck as the group responsible for true techie matters at each year’s conference.  The problem there being augmented by the fact that most of the players involved do take an interest in the subject matter.  Maybe catalogers do have a bit of the IT/engineering mindsets, I certainly do (and have been asked on a few occasions to translate things from IT speak), but I’m almost inclined to say that what’s occurred is that we have changed in order to match the title.

But then again, I haven’t seen that sort of behavioral shift regarding the library SCIENCE name.  Maybe we should all start wearing lab coats?