Freedom to Install

Kyle, a TTW contributor, blogs at The Corkboard:

As I gear up to do the annual fall round of computer imaging/updates to all the public terminals it gives me time to reflect on MPOW’s approach to academic computing: if they need it, get it for ‘em.

Our library has full control over our default setup for our machines, including:

  • Operating system choices (XP, Vista, or, heck, why not both?)
  • Browsers, we’ve got three! (FF, IE7, Safari, and we’d add more if requested)
  • Open-source goodness (7Zip, Nvu, Open-Office, etc.)
  • Office suite, we run ‘03 and ‘07 (and we’re the only place on campus that supports ‘03 now)
  • + oh so much more
Basically, what I am saying is that we provide options – lots of ‘em.  And if we don’t have what our students need for academic purposes, we add it – because, really, why wouldn’t we?
In many ways I fear leaving MPOW when I graduate from Dominican U. and move onto my next glorious library position.  The fear of unnecessary computer restrictions and technological bureaucracy is at the top of that list.  That’s not to say that I don’t deal with some of that at now, but it’s in small batches and small batches can easily be tossed to the side or bypassed in some way.  But to meet a big nasty roadblock that says “NO” just won’t cut it in my mind.
I hope Kyle has loads of cool opportunities and finds many libraries that embrace the freedom to install.
Shameless disclaimer: On a personal note, Kyle is also my graduate assistant and it will be bittersweet to see him graduate. His work setting up course sites, etc is excellent. The future library that gets him will be lucky indeed.